Close Encounter


#1

No this does not have anything to do with aliens…

Ok, last march I was flying from KDAY to KDFW on AA. En route, we almost became too acquainted with a Northwest aircraft. We must have been no farther than 100 feet below them when they flew over us. I could read the tail number. How far away are you supusta be from the nearest aircraft at cruising altitude? I thought it was 3 miles but not for sure. If you have any “Close Encounters” share them.

I think this is in the right topic.


#2

I was on a flight coming home from getting out of the Army (18 years ago). I think it was a flight from SEA to DFW; I had a window seat and was looking out and noticed what I could distinctly make out to be a DC-10 waaaaay out in the distance. It looked like we were at about the same altitude, but the traffic appeared to be just a weee bit higher and we appeared to be traveling at a 90-degree difference in headings. The traffic did NOT appear to move position in my view, and I knew from having taken flying lessons that that was a BAD thing! I don’t know whether I first spotted it 10 minutes ahead of time, or if it was three minutes… It seemed like a long time. I just remember the whole time, the thing never moved position in my window and I thought about writing a note for a flight attendant to take to the captain to alert him to the traffic - but Shirley Roger would roger Victor’s vector for us to move away from one another. I became more and more anxious as we continued to be on what appeared to be a crash-course, and as we moved ever closer, I continued wondering whether I should’ve written the note, or If I should try to alert someone now. I just sat there passively as I awaited my possible demise.

I do not remember what airline the traffic was. I just remember in the final moments, the only comfort that I had was that we were indeed a little bit lower than the other plane and that as I expected possible impact, we were only struck by its enormous shadow!

…and my thoughts at that moment were, “I’ll bet the pilots are thinking, ‘What the F…?’”

I vow that if I’m ever presented with a similar situation, I’m gonna DEFINITELY send a message to the captain because Roger and Victor may both be asleep in that critical moment, and we may not be so lucky the next time.


#3

With RVSM, you can be as close as 1,000 vertically while travelling in opposite directions, and 2,000 while travelling in the same direction.

If you had been close to a collision, you probably would have taken evasive action due to a TCAS warning. But I highly doubt it was anything close to that.


#4

In my case, I’m debating in my mind whether we had 100 foot vertical separation, or less! I dunno… could’ve been maybe 200 feet, but I doubt it. It certainly wasn’t any 1,000 feet! This was 18 years ago (1988) before the days of TCAS.


#5

Yeah, the plane in the distance then it just came closer and closer. I was pretty scared when we became very close.


#6

Just today, we were cruising at FL350, and out of no where a UA NC 744 appears under the plane, going the opposite direction. Pretty neat. :smiley: