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Last Friday, Feb. 4, US safety investigators said that an American Airlines airliner and two Air Force cargo jets flying together averted a possible collision last month over the Atlantic Ocean.
Flight AA951, a Boeing 777-200, heading southeast to Sao Paulo from New York’s John F Kennedy airport, was 80 miles into its January 20 flight when warning systems alerted air controllers that it was heading in the direction of the C-17s flying northwest bound for New Jersey, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement.
Controllers handling the military flights received the same alerts and the converging planes were ordered to change course, coming about a mile from each other. Safety investigators are reviewing controller handling of the flights.
The Federal Aviation Administration is also reviewing the matter and said controllers at its busy New York center are taking another look at procedures, including guidelines for handling military planes flying in formation.
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent U.S. government investigative agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigation. In this role, the NTSB investigates and reports on aviation accidents and incidents, certain types of highway crashes, ship and marine accidents, pipeline incidents and railroad accidents. When requested, the NTSB will assist the military with accident investigation.