Home World News avoid head-on crash with incoming plane JetBlue’s pilot took off quickly

avoid head-on crash with incoming plane JetBlue’s pilot took off quickly

A JetBlue Airways Airbus A320, in January 2022, suffered a tail strike during take-off after the pilots rotated too soon to avoid a head-on collision with incoming aircraft. The incident took place when the other plane was preparing to land on the same runway in Colorado.

According to a report by the US federal investigating agency, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the pilots experienced “expectation bias” and the JetBlue pilot pointed the nose of the plane up to get airborne and struck the runway during take-off. The NTSB report stated that the JetBlue captain pointed the nose of his jet up quickly than normal due to his “surprise about encountering head-on landing traffic”.

The crew of the incoming plane, a Beechcraft King Air 350, was startled when the JetBlue pilot announced on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) that they were leaving the ramp area to taxi on the same runway. According to the NTSB, the JetBlue captain took the step despite contradictory information that the small aircraft was approaching from a different direction.

Both aircraft landed safely, however, this marked one of the major near-collisions involving large commercial aircraft in the US.

Moments later, the King Air pilot reported on the local CTAF that it was “about 9 minutes out, for ten, coming in from the east, descending out of 17,000 ft,” the NTSB report said. As a result of the misconception, the JetBlue pilots assumed they should expedite their departure to keep ahead of the traffic, the NTSB concluded.

“The crew’s (of JetBlue) expectation that the King Air was arriving on runway 10 biased their perception of incoming information, such that contradictory evidence (radio calls indicating the King Air was landing on runway 28) was ignored or manipulated in the brain to be consistent with the person’s current expectation,” the NTSB stated.

“This bias occurs as part of basic information processing, and a person may not be actively aware of such biases at the perceptual level,” the report concluded.

A video of the incident showed surprised ground staff at Yampa Valley Airport in Hayden in Colorado while the JetBlue Airbus paved its way along the runway with its nose up and tail slamming into the runway. Because Yampa Valley airport has no control tower, pilots operating there received instructions from Denver-area controllers. They also communicated with each other using a common radio frequency.