Air National Guard plane carrying first lady aborts landing


#1

An Air National Guard plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama aborted a landing Monday. The Boeing 737 came within three miles of a C-17 cargo jet as the two aircraft approached Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, and controllers instructed the Boeing to abort its landing. The Federal Aviation Administration requires a minimum separation of five miles between planes when one aircraft is as large as the 200-ton cargo jet.
The incident involving the first lady and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, occurred at about 5 p.m. on Monday when a Boeing 737 belonging to the Air National Guard, one of several guard planes used by the White House, came within about three miles of a massive C-17 cargo plane as the planes were approaching Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to land, according to the FAA and Maj. Michelle Lai, a spokeswoman for Andrews.
The FAA requires a minimum separation of five miles between two planes when the plane in the lead is as large as the 200-ton military cargo jet, in order to avoid dangerous wake turbulence that can severely affect the trailing aircraft.
Andrews’ civilian air traffic controllers initially ordered Mrs. Obama’s plane to conduct a series of turns to bring it farther from the military jet. When that didn’t provide enough distance, controllers realized that there might not be enough time for the cargo plane to clear the Andrews runway before Mrs. Obama’s plane landed.
From now on flights carrying Mrs. Obama or Vice President Joe Biden will be handled by an air traffic supervisor rather than a controller, the agency said in a statement. The new rules apply to approaches and departures handled by a regional air traffic facility in Warrenton, Va., and takeoffs and landings at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland where the presidential fleet is based.

Why wasn’t the Air National Guard Boeing 737 carrying Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden given priority clearance over other aircraft in the area?


#2

That would be a very poor decision if the C-17 were carrying wounded personnel from overseas bound for Walter Reed!

What would be the rationalization for treating spouses like a VIP? All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others? Did they have an important brunch with some girlfriends they didn’t want to be tardy for?

Jill Biden is one of the most unassuming, pleasant and laid-back individuals you’d ever wish to meet and would be appalled to learn she was afforded such unnecessary VIP treatment.


#3

How long has the Air National guard been operating the white top fleet? I assumed it was USAF.


#4

The 89th Airlift Wing operates the fleet, but individual aircraft can come from any military component, including ANG, Reserves, USAF, USN, USMC, etc., etc.


#5

The C-17 flying her vehicles, it was on the same route and flightpath. The separation issue was probably created by the C-17’s much slower approach speed compared to the 737 that the first lady was on. The TRACON controller may not have been aware of this and thats why he didn’t create enough separation between the slower leading C-17 and faster trailing 737.


#6

If the C-17 were carrying wounded personnel from overseas bound for Walter Reed, why wouldn’t it be given special handling and clearance such as Lifeguard?


#7

How do you know it wasn’t receiving “special handling”? (Although I don’t believe military aircraft declare themselves as Lifeguard flights nowadays.) Besides, it was the 737 that had to go around.


#8

The initial NTSB report shows the 737 did not have the required 5 miles in trail of a “heavy” during and immediately following the handoff to the tower, as well as losing the 3 miles in trail that would be required regardless of type.


#9

This operation required five miles all the way to the runway.


#10

5 miles is right. on topic but last year, we got rolled pretty good in the G2 after taking off 8 miles behind a 777. fortunately it was at about 1500 AGL. So, as Allen would say, y’all be careful out there.


#11

About 1min behind a Cloud Trolly (my new name for an airbus) going into KFLL last week at 50agl got all sideways (Not trying to one up you John :smiley: )


#12

cloud trolly :laughing: I love it.