What Constitutes a 'Near Miss'


I was on a Delta flight yesterday (2/7/08) from IAD to ATL (DAL751). On final approach, within a 100 feet of the ground the plane went into a steep climb at full power. When we finally leveled off the pilot very calmly said that there was another plane on the runway and the tower asked him to go around. He made it sound like it was no big deal, but it certainly was to everyone on the plane. We circled around and did a normal landing about 5 minutes later. So my question is, what officially constitutes a ‘near miss’, and how common is an event like it. I have been flying weekly for years and never had it happen before.


Go around is a standard procedure and a “part of flying” and really a “non event” other then the unpleasant surprise to the passengers for a sudden surge forward from taking back off again and the potential for steeper turns. Regarding definition of a near miss, Google revealed.

Per abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3265925&page=1

Taken from the above article is below my name.


The definition of a near miss is two planes flying less than 500 feet apart. Under FAA guidelines, planes are required to remain three miles apart horizontally and 1,000 feet apart vertically. Near-miss reports are voluntarily made by pilots and are based on a pilot’s perception of how close planes get to each other. The FAA then investigates the accuracy of the reports using actual data.


It really is no big deal… and not uncommon. More than likely what happened is that the spacing between the aircraft you were on and the arriving, or departing, aircraft in front of you just became too tight. The aircraft ahead of you probably hadn’t exited or departed the runway as planned so the controller issued the instruction for your aircraft to “go around”. It’s a matter of the runway environment being clear for your arrival. In this event that you experienced, keep in mind that the aircraft on the runway was probably a mile to a mile and a half away at the time and posed no danger to your aircraft.


I’ve been a flight attendant for four years (five on June 24!) and I have experienced both - an aborted take-off and an aborted landing.

About three years ago, we were on final at SEA and as we desended to about 90 feet, the captain increased full thrust and we rocketed up into the air. Once when we reached about 2,000 feet, the captain made an announcement saying an aircraft was crossing the runway and that we were clear to attempt to land again. As expected, the passengers were a bit started but they clapped and we were all relieved once we turned off of the runway.

As a matter of fact, about two weeks ago I was working a late night flight from LAX-OAK. Flying conditions weren’t so good - visibilty about 80 feet, rain was coming down sideways, and the climb to about 5,000 feet was supposed to be quite an adventure with all the turbulence.

Well, we turn on to the runway, I do the usual “We’ve been cleared for take-off, enjoy the flight!” announcement. The captain increased throttle to full and about 10 seconds into the takeoff roll, me and the the flight attendant sitting next to me are jolted back, while the passengers are jolted foward. If your in the airline industry, you know that this is the time when flight attendants are ready to carry out an evacutaion. But thankfully, the captain came on the speaker and announced that there was a large piece of debris obstructing the runway and it would have caused damage to the aircraft. So we turn off the runway and taxi to another runway, with only 15 minute delay!


Its not common, but it happens. I recall several years ago we were on final to KPHX out of KSAN and at about 100 feet we did the full throttle rip back up. The plane went dead silent… well except for myself that is. I Let out a loud WHOOO sound with my arms in the air and got a lot of nasty looks but it broke the tension. My wife did not appreciate it, but several passengers thanked me for breaking the tension. One said when I did that he figured I must have known it was no big deal and then he felt much better. Consider yourself lucky that you got to experience some bonus endorphins. :laughing:


I think the term should be changed from “near miss” to “near collision.” Why? Because “near miss” means you almost missed but didn’t (in other words, you made a loud noise with another aircraft). “Near collision” indicates you almost hit another aircraft.

Just my 2 cents worth (adjust for inflation: $0.924).


This video shows an aborted take off, a couple go arounds, a Seneca trying to land with no gear and 777 s/n 00001 landing concluded by the Hawker getting it right. Sorry for the horrible quality video. This was not edited but I appear to have turned the camera off a couple times while taping.

The fun starts at about 1:25



…And what became of the original Boeing 777?

From The New York Times

Original 777 Is Sold
Published: December 5, 2000
Six and a half years after it was built, Boeing has finally sold the first 777 jetliner to roll off its assembly line. The plane, designated WA001, was used for flight tests from 1994, when it was completed, until 1997, logging 1,729 hours in the air, much less than it would have if it had been in regular service. It was available for sale for three years before Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong-based carrier, decided earlier this year to take WA001 rather than wait a year or more for a new plane fresh off the assembly line. Boeing crews have been refurbishing the plane since then, a project that required splitting the plane in half to install passenger-service amenities that are normally installed on the factory line. Boeing will deliver WA001 to Cathay on Wednesday.

Who knew?


The correct terminology for the “near miss” is a “Near Midair Collision”, in FAA speak.

And, it doesn’t have to be “less than 500 feet.” It can be anything the pilot
thinks existed as a “collision hazard”.

Busier airports have to send aircraft around pretty routinely. The controllers sure as hell don’t want to, but it is still bound to happen. If ATL only sends around 1 percent of their daily traffic around (and I’m pulling a number of 1000 arricals a day out of the air) they will send 10 aircraft a day around.




Chapter Content Finder











There are several types of incidents that adversely affect the capabilities of air traffic control (ATC) facilities to provide safe, orderly, and expeditious movement of air traffic:

a. The following incidents are defined and FAA Order 8020.11 provides for their reporting procedures:

(1) Aircraft Accident an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and until such time as all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.

(2) Near Midair Collision (NMAC) an incident associated with the operation of an aircraft in which the possibility of collision occurs as a result of proximity of less than 500 feet to another aircraft, or a report is received from a pilot or flight crewmember stating that a collision hazard existed between two or more aircraft.


Thank you pthomas…could you explain this to the media…“near miss”…how about near hit which would be correct english…but your explanation might help them understand the proper terminology…thank you!


Not this again.
Near miss is not incorrect. It is a miss, not a hit. It is a miss that happened to be very near. Far misses happen all the time. Near misses are close calls.

“near miss” is not the same as “nearly missed”


It brings a tear to my eye to know that English is not yet dead.


Oh… your no fun anymore.*

*Said while shuffling off with my rubber chicken.


The tower controller must instruct arriving aircraft to go around anytime they are alerted by their surface radar (ASDE), assuming the tower is such equipped. ASDE will alert the controller of any object entering the runway movement area including aircraft, other vehicles, animals, or even people :blush: . The controller might not know the exact cause of the alert, especially in low visibility, but will still inform the aircraft and the impending incursion.


On the Jepp airport diagram for San Diego, Brown Field (KSDM) there is a huge note in the middle of the chart.

NOTE: Use caution, airport is approximately 1nm north of the US/Mexico border.
NOTE: Use caution for unauthorized pedestrian traffic on all runways and taxiways.

Mexican illegal immigrants are now "unauthorized pedestrian traffic! :open_mouth: :laughing:


Unfortunately, when you hit one with your aircraft it does damage to the aircraft. If it didn’t do damage…

And, it’s not “illegal immigrants.” Rather, it’s “illegal aliens” or, to put it more bluntly, criminal trespassers to the United States.


Just think of the possibilities…

Here’s a video explaining ADSE Radar.


Who says they’re from Mexico? via Mexico maybe but not from there.


You think the government would reimburse you for the damage to your aircraft with all the money they’d save if you accidentally hit an unauthorized pedestrian?