Details of News Chopper-Airliner Near Miss Emerge
HOUSTON: The pilots of a TV news helicopter and a
Southwest Airlines jet that narrowly missed each other during take-off at
Houston Hobby Airport both took evasive action, the Houston
Chronicle reports. A news chopper
and a Southwest 737 bound for Baltimore came within around 100 feet of one
another at 12:25 p.m. April 28, according to the National Transportation and
Safety Board. The NTSB said it was investigating the incident. Both aircraft
had received clearance for take-off from different parts of the runway.
The NTSB said the helo flew into the flight path of the airliner. The pilot of
Southwest Flight 1322 delayed the jet’s ascent at about 100 feet when he
spotted the helo; the helicopter pilot also took a hard turn to avoid the
airliner. No injuries were reported.
The news reports indicate the helo was a 1996 Bell 407 owned by St. Louis-based
Helicopters, Inc., which operates a fleet of news choppers for TV stations
across the country. The helo involved in the incident was operating for
KPRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Houston.
The NTSB is investigating a similar incident involving a Southwest Airlines 737
and a small fixed-wing aircraft that narrowly avoided collision over the Bob
Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif.
The deadliest U.S. runway collision occurred in February 1991 when a USAir 737
hit a Skywest Metroliner commuter plane at Los Angeles International Airport,
killing 34 people, according to NTSB records.
-- Deborah D. McAdams