FlightAware Discussions

incident - near colission

I was aboard AAL1054 > 02-Jan-2009 > KMIA-KDCA
was sitting on the left side facing west, and at 0945 eastern time according to my watch
I was looking out (west) and this other airliner passed us so close I have never seen anything like it, guess this was my 300+ commercial flight.
it was a little bit above us (looked like it could have been 150-300 ft maybe less) guessing the total distance to the other plane was nothing more than 1000-1500 ft.
everything went really fast(guess the total time i was able to see the other plane was 2-3 seconds), pretty much shocked me.
it also looked like we went thru the other planes thin contrail after just 10-15 seconds.

Now I wonder if anyone in this forum know if its possible to exactly get the info on how close this thing really was?

am also going to call faa and report this, but I guess they will never get back with any info.

Not to sound condescending but are you sure that he was that close, and it wasn’t just a situation of the reduced minima of RVSM? This has scared quite a few I have been told who aren’t pilots and even a few pilots who weren’t expecting it.

it was very close. wasnt at the same altitude, but not even close to 1000ft in vertical.
have done some searching and I think what came that close was probably
AAL2097 02-Jan-2009 > KDCA-KMIA
mine and that plane’s path seem to have crossed each other around that time.

You’d be amazed how close 1000ft looks when it’s an airliner passing over you. I’ve been flying for 20 years, and I still scoot down in my seat when someone goes overhead in RVSM airspace.


I’d be pretty certain that there was the required separation.

Check the flight logs, that will give the altitudes.

Agreed, 1000 ft. looks awfully close at altitude.

Thanks to RVSM we can now tell when other airplanes need to be washed and waxed.
That wasn’t a near miss


10-15 seconds later at 400 kts is about 1 to 1.5 miles separation (or ~6000). That assumes a perpendicular flight path.

Depending on Alt and routing. The route you named is busy airspace you may have been slowed also. So at 300 kts your a bit further than that. :open_mouth:

It really does look close though. 5 miles/minute (300kts) tends to make things look like they’re coming up fast; imagine traffic in the opposite direction. 600 kt closer means 5 miles out you have ~30 seconds till a collision.

To put your mind at ease commercial a/c are equipped with TCAS which, “warns pilots of the presence of other … aircraft which may present a threat of mid-air collision”

That’s not to say the system is perfect ATC that is. That’s what the TCAS does though, it supplements and can override ATC instructions and aid the crew in successfully avoiding conflict.

Last week I was flying from Sofia to London and this Ryanair B737 passed underneath us. Kool. Photo taken from LZ-FBC Bulgarian Airbus 320.

Ha! Great pic!

If it was really a ‘near miss’ don’t you think the commercial pilots would have reported it to the FAA? They probably would have changed their diapers first. As a passenger, I’d be more worried about the TSA looting my baggage (then again, I haven’t checked a bag in over a decade).

If it was 150-300 feet, your aircraft would have been in a dive, courtesy of TCAS. No dive, then 1000 feet or more.

am also going to call faa and report this,

If there was an actual loss of separation standards then the snitch program in ATC would have logged it and notified a supervisor. So the FAA would already would be aware of it.

As others have noted 1000’ vertical separation is now normal for aircraft up to 41,000’. And if another aircraft had truly gotten too close your aircraft’s traffic warning system would have had the pilots climb or descend to move away from the intruder.

Relax and enjoy the flight and let the pilots and ATC do their jobs.

Something is bothering me. Aren’t near misses actually crashes? If you don’t crash, then it was a near hit, not a near miss…

A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage - but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury, fatality or damage. Although human error is commonly an initiating event, a faulty process or system invariably permits or compounds the harm, and should be the focus of improvement.

Other familiar terms for these events is a “close call”, or in the case of moving objects, “near collision”. Indeed, the term “near collision” is less contradictory in nature than “near miss”, since a “near miss” would be a hit that almost missed (a glancing blow) versus a miss that almost hit.

Wikipedia - hmmm, after reading my own post!, I see your dilemma.

George? Is that you George???


Indeed, the term “near collision” is less contradictory in nature than “near miss”, …

Actually, “near miss” is not contradictory in nature, only when implemented as a reference to a non-crash, which is what bothers me so much. :smiley:

I do miss that man’s approach at life and humor!

Instead of semantics, though, you could just use the official FAA phrase…

A Near Midair Collision. Or, NMAC.