MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C., March 27, 2006
aviation attorney and former Transportation Department Inspector General Mary
Schiavo, on The Early Show Monday (CBS/The Early Show)
"Sometimes the air
traffic controllers simply cannot see all the operations on the runway, and that's
why the new equipment would actually give the pilots a warning."
Plaintiffs' aviation attorney and former
Transportation Department Inspector General Mary Schiavo, on The Early Show
(CBS/AP) Two federal agencies
are investigating how commercial planes nearly collided twice in two days on runways
at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Pilots aborted takeoffs on
Tuesday and Thursday to avoid colliding with other aircraft, the Federal Aviation
Administration said. No one was injured.
"Both incidents look to
be air traffic controller errors," FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said Friday.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which typically responds only
to fatal accidents, also will investigate, because the incidents were "major"
enough, said spokeswoman Lauren Peduzzi.
On Tuesday, two planes were
mistakenly instructed to take off at the same time on crisscrossing runways and
came within 100 feet of each other before their takeoffs were aborted.
On Thursday, one plane was sent to taxi across a runway where another plane had
already started its take-off roll. Those planes came within 600 feet of each other.
So far this year, four so-called "runway incursions," not
counting last week's incidents, have occurred. All have been ruled controller
There were seven incursions last year out of 972,246 flights,
the FAA said. Five were caused by controller errors, one by pilot error and one
by an errant vehicle.
According to the Chicago Tribune, which cites
airport officials, the runway safety technology the FAA has deployed at O'Hare
has no capability to recognize traffic on intersecting runways. The equipment,
called the Airport Movement Area Safety System (A-MASS), alerts controllers to
a potential collision with as little as eight seconds of warning, leaving little
time for controllers to radio the warnings to pilots.
On The Early
Show Monday, plaintiffs' aviation attorney and former Transportation Department
Inspector General Mary Schiavo told co-anchor Rene Syler the bottom line
is there are too many planes in the sky — and not enough automated prevention
systems on the ground.