NTSB Investigating near midair collision in Chicago . . .

FlightAware Flight Tracker Learjet 60 of Electrolux based in Augusta Georgia.

FlightAware Flight Tracker American Eagle flight EGF298.

National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594

July 23, 2008

On July 21, 2008, at 12:47 Central Daylight Time, an Embraer ERJ-145, operating as American Eagle flight 298, and a Learjet LR60 (N252RP) were involved in a near midair collision at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (KORD), according to initial reports. The ERJ-145 was operating under 14 CFR Part 121 as a scheduled air carrier and the Learjet was operating under 14 CFR Part 91 as a corporate flight.

The ERJ-145 airplane was departing runway 32L and the Learjet was landing on runway 9R. The local assistant/monitor for the local air traffic controller observed the converging paths of the two airplanes and advised the local controller to instruct the Learjet to go around. The ERJ-145 airplane was instructed to stay low on departure.

Analysis of radar replays revealed that the Learjet passed 325 feet above and slightly behind the departing ERJ-145.

There were no reported injuries or damage to the aircraft.

As a result of this incident, new procedures have been implemented for arrivals to runway 9R requiring specific coordination between approach control and the tower regarding whether 9R is in use.

A preliminary report of the incident will be available on the Board’s website later this week.

Man, all these near collison’s are scaring me.

Between airlines hiring pilots with much less experience than they use to and the FAA hiring controllers right off the street to work in the busiest of airports, there is going to be an accident. It’s just a matter of time when and where the next accident will happen? Look for yourself:

I’m an ATC’er at a major facility. Four years ago we had 264 controllers, today I think we are at 150. We have controller trainees with NO experience, and a few with SOME military experience. There are 48 trainees at our facility right now.

Everyone has their own opinion as to why politically this has happened, but I can tell you a majority of my piers are getting out when they are eligible. There are some who will stay until their forced retirement age of 56. But “most” of those who keep working past their eligible date is because they have to. (ex-wife, financial decision, kids in college, etc.)

I am speaking from experience, everyone of my friends who have already retired did so because of the FAA. They didn’t retire because they didn’t like their job, in fact most of them loved it.

I am not eligible to retire until June 2012, in the mean time I have worked 18 weeks of six day weeks so far this year. We are covering the retirements with overtime. The controllers are tired, not working with someone sitting next to you in many cases and sitting on position with a trainee. In the cases when you are training, you not only have to be on top of what is going on, you also have to re adapt to the trainees actions and know the outs for them.

I love ATC, but what the administration is doing to it is shameful. Our facility spent 4 million dollars in overtime last year, because they weren’t willing to hire controllers 5 years ago. They figured that the controllers would stay because of our salary. Many times they would put new controllers in the smaller towers to gain experience, then progress to the busier facilities. Today your son or daughter could become a controller and go straight to Chicago Center, Atlanta Tower, or So Cal Approach not knowing the difference between wake turbulence, and baked beans. Let alone when traffic gets busy, weather diverts, minimum fuel, and then “a go-around”.

The FAA sees the writing on the wall, it’s too late to fill the gap between the retiring controllers and the trainee’s certification. The worst is yet to come in more ways than others.

On the pilot side of the equation, having 600 hours total time, 100 hours of multi-engine and no college degree requirement, makes for a good resume for a CFII, but not a FO for a 19 passenger commuter. (My opinion) The added responsibility for a PIC is huge. Spending time away double checking the FO’s inputs in the computer, checklists, fuel, read backs, etc. is another recipe for disaster.

Combining the two; inexperience in the cockpit, the towers and radar is what really scares me.


Let me first just say “Thank you” for the hard work you do sir. As someone who works in the industry, and travels with family it is good to know about people like yourself. I also heard about the faa and their recent campaign through some unuseual routes to woo potential controllers. I guess we can only hope things stay, at the very least “Status quo”.