NTSB investigating near mid-air United 889 out of SFO . . .

                   NTSB ADVISORY

National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

March 30, 2010



The NTSB has launched an investigation to determine why a

commercial jetliner and a small light airplane came within

an estimated 300 feet of colliding over San Francisco on


At about 11:15 a.m. PDT on March 27, the crew of United

Airlines Flight 889, a B777-222 (N216UA) destined for

Beijing, China, carrying 251 passengers and a crew of 17,

was cleared to takeoff from San Francisco International

Airport (SFO) on runway 28L and climb to an initial altitude

of 3,000 feet. The first officer, who was flying the

aircraft, reported that after the landing gear was retracted

and the jet was at an altitude of about 1,100 feet, the

tower controller reported traffic at his 1 o’clock position.

Immediately following the controller’s advisory, the

airplane’s traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) issued

an audible alert of “TRAFFIC TRAFFIC.”

The pilots saw a light high wing airplane, an Aeronca 11AC

(N9270E), in a hard left turn traveling from their 1 o’clock

to 3 o’clock position. The first officer pushed the control

column forward to level the airplane. Both crew members

reported seeing only the underside of the Aeronca as it

passed to within an estimated 200-300 feet of the 777.

TCAS then issued an “ADJUST VERTICAL SPEED” alert, followed

by a “DESCEND, DESCEND” alert. The first officer complied

and the flight continued to Beijing without further


NTSB investigator Scott Dunham is traveling to San Francisco

to begin the investigation.

For Sale:

One Aeronca Chief, cheap, needs seat covers.

John in Basle

John in Basle

Hmmm :astonished:


ABC News video with ATC tapes.
Reports say 300 feet vertical separation and 1,500 feet horizontally.

United’s takeoff clearance issued by a female controller and then traffic avoidance instructions given by a male one - I guess the jet had switched over to the departure frequency before the incident occurred.

The Aeronca pilot sounded calm when he received his instructions. One of the United pilots was obviously pissed afterward.

“Okay - that set off TCAS… We need to talk!”

Note: I only mention the fact that the clearance was given by a female controller to show the fact that there were two different controllers involved. I’m not trying to say anything bad about female controllers in general or place blame in any way.

Permalink to flight:
flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL8 … /KSFO/ZBAA

The single-engine aircraft involved in this incident must’ve been some sort of military stealth aircraft capable of changing form in-flight. The NTSB identifies it as an Aeronca, yet the above-linked ABC News video clearly identifies it as a Cessna. :laughing:

In the media’s eyes:
All airplanes with high wing configuration = Cessna
All airplanes with low wing configuration = Piper

Well, at least they got THAT much right! :unamused:

:confused: is that not right?!?!?!?!?! :unamused:

Sometimes it is :wink:

The tape we have here is a lot different than the one here:

avherald.com/files/ua889_near_co … 100327.mp3

The “female voice” is the pilot flying UA889.

There is only one controller involved, the male voice. The controller called traffic when 889 was out of 500 and the Cessna pilot reported it in sight.

Sounds a lot different when you hear the whole thing, doesn’t it?

Yeah, it does. The United pilot was so shaken/upset that she couldn’t talk.

And, she had every right to be…

(low wing, and I’m sure there’s many more)

De Havilland
(high wing)

Just to name a few…

yup, at work.

FAA registry:

Usually every single engine is a Cessna, and every turboprop is a King Air. If you listen to the media, there have only been two types of aircraft ever built.

Usually every single engine is a Cessna, and every turboprop is a King Air. If you listen to the media, there have only been two types of aircraft ever built.

A quick search shows the Aeronca to be Connecticut based and owned…

Pretty sure the VFR aircraft involved in this incident is N9870E a C-182 based at nearby Palo Alto Airport.

HMMMMMmmmmmmm… Maybe we don’t give the media the credit they’re due… :confused:

NAAAaaaaaahhhhhh! :stuck_out_tongue:
They got lucky on that one! :smiling_imp:

LMAO! I wonder why… :laughing:

I’m sure the pilots’ seats in the 777 are for sale too…

I know 300 ft is close, and I’m sorry I can’t identify what source it was, because my son showed me the animaition on the laptop and I didn’t pay that close attention, but …he showed me this animation of a , Cessna’s landing gear nearly touching the top of the fuselage. Even he at 9 laughed and said, that’s not 300 ft.
Again, sure it’s close but man the sensationalization!

On the low wing high wing, media calling it debate, you guys have given them more credit than I was willing, I’ve heard Cessna used to describe low wings. But I guess I gotta take into account those are the ones with out their own "aviation bereaus or aviation desks, so you gotta give em a break.

Ding Ding…we have a winner! Thanks, Westflight. The NTSB has clarified the matter here.