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NTSB cites air traffic control as probable cause of near midair collision

Posted on Jan 18, 2012

On Sunday, June 19, 2011, at 12:35 p.m. CDT at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, a Cessna 172 was cleared for takeoff on runway 18 by the tower air traffic controller. Sixteen seconds later, the same air traffic controller cleared an Embraer 145, a commercial passenger flight, for takeoff on runway 18, the flight path of which intersects the flight path of runway 14.

While both airplanes were about 300 feet above the airfield, the Embraer passed in front of the Cessna. The closest proximity between the two planes was estimated to be 0 feet vertically and 300 feet laterally. The Embraer 145, operated as ExpressJet flight 2555 (dba Continental/United Express) was carrying 50 passengers and 3 crewmembers, and was bound for Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) where it landed uneventfully.No one in either airplane was injured in the incident.

Few aviation law firms have actual air traffic control expereince. Curry, Pearson & Wooten, PLC does. We represent aviation accident clients worldwide.

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