This is quite unsettling for many of us fliers who live in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) region. What’s more alarming is this part of the article: “The number of errors by air traffic controllers has risen dramatically nationwide this year. FAA records are compiled on a fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The total by TRACONS during the last fiscal year was 754. With a month left in the current fiscal year, the error total has reached 1,257.”
On-board systems intended to keep airliners from colliding in midair have been triggered more than 45 times this year in the skies over the Washington as the air traffic controllers who guide planes to and from the region’s airports have made dangerous mistakes at a record-setting pace.
Two of the closest calls this month involved four airplanes carrying a total of 589 people, including one in which a Delta 737 was turned into the potentially deadly turbulent wake of a United 757 as the two planes flew along the Potomac on final approach to Reagan National Airport.
The team found that “more than 45 such events have been documented this calendar year” in which the avoidance systems have been triggered in Washington airspace, according to an internal FAA summary. The systems, required on all planes carrying 19 or more passengers, kick in and order pilots to take evasive action when their sensors indicate a potential midair collision.