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Another Landing Forced to Go-Around After Plane was Cleared to Take-Off

"A Mesa Airlines flight crew was forced to abruptly halt a landing at California's Hollywood Burbank Airport on Wednesday after an air traffic controller cleared a plane to depart ahead of them, according to preliminary information obtained by NBC News." ( More...

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terry kelsey 18
When I was still learning to fly, I was cleared for take-off, and had rolled the 172 slowly onto to 28R, when the controller rather casually said: "610 Alpha Mike please expedite your departure as we have a 727 on 3 mile final." What an adrenalin rush! All these years later I remember that as clearly as if it happened yesterday.
Feets don' fail me now! :-D))
Tom Bruce 1
we'd use "cleared for immediate takeoff or hold short of the runway"
Griff Griffin 36
I believe it is important to understand that controllers space airplanes for landing and takeoffs according to a rhythm/sight patterns. When flight crews/pilots don't react at the normal pace for takeoffs things can get close or someone has to go-around. It happens, just not a great deal. We are all humans and judgments in the aviation business may not always line up for smooth operations. Be kind. Be ready to go around. If you're worried about the expense of the go around find another hobby/occupation. Be flexible and just bare in mind, we all want to fly again/today/tomorrow or soon. We are human. Perfection does not exist. Capn Retired.
I completely agree with your conclusions. Capn Retired
Sidney Smith 4
I disagree with your conclusions. The controller should have paid attention to the situation of the two aircraft. Second putting the departing aircraft on a SID course when the go around was nearly on the same course was a mistake. If this occurred in any restricted visibility there are standards for spacing among IFR flights. I to have had bunches of go arounds, had airplanes fly over top of me while waiting for a take off clearance after being given position and hold or line up and wait. This isn't a couple of guys at the county strip on a Saturday afternoon. We are statistically overdue for a big mess.
Steven Dale 2
The terrain at this airport does not allow for anything else other than a SID heading. It is most appropriate to turn the arrival to a divergent heading as soon as possible. The controller can and does maintain visual separation between the aircraft until radar separation can be obtained. It is possible since the arrival was on a visual approach.
Don't know why the takeoff clearance was issued with the aircraft that close in unless the controller thought they could get the departure airborn and still have 6,000 feet between them, that is the minimum runway separation required.
martha tofferi 14
Is FAA experiencing an ATC shortfall like so many are post Covid?
srobak 3
They've had hiring spree on blast for the past year - so what do you think?
Stephen Martin 8
Hired a ton but can’t seem to get them trained or certified.
Valerie Giardini -7
Hiring based on DEI targets, not experience. Many pilots and controllers are white males and have a lot of experience but the focus now is gender and skin color, not public safety. I will be driving from now on. I know that's not necessarily safe either, but.....
Wayne Fox 7
My female cousin recently retired from an ATC career. She was hired long before any quota system and did a great job. Race and gender have no bearing on ability.
Karen Chaney 7
I was a female ATC for 27 years, and very good at my job, however, there were many people, not just females and minorities, who had no business being in that job. And yes, not only did the hiring practices change, to accept people who barely made the minimums , but to let these people go on and on, train to succeed, it was called. Given too many chances when they just did not have the ability. It takes a special kind of person to do the job, and most people who barely qualify, or get hired because of race or gender , makes it a disservice not only to the person being hired, but the whole system that wastes time on these people who still won’t be able to do the job. I have to agree with Valerie, that using quotas of gender or color, is not the way to go in this job. As you said Wayne, she got hired before the quotas. If being female has no bearing, then where there so few in the job when I was working, and why did I watch so many “ wash out”.
Michael Osmers 4
As a matter of fact my (Lilly white) son is just completing his 6 month ATC course in Oak City. I know for a fact your comment is completely off base and inappropriate. HE is 29, a graduate of UVa with a math degree, spent the last few years teaching high school math. Oh, and he’s a private pilot. His class of 20 BTW does not at all reflect what you say.
He is probably the smartest in the family and he says this training is by far the hardest thing he’s ever done. I attended the Air Force Academy and recently completed a 40 year flying career and am a Wright Brothers Master Pilot. His brothers graduated as engineers from Virginia Tech and James Madison University. His mother has degrees in art history and dietetics. So please don’t peddle your BS here, this is av aviation forum.
loubearr 3
He hasn't been in the tower on the frontline yet by himself. Time will tell if you are correct. No need to be nasty towards someone else's post who has been in the trenches for 27 years.
Gloria Johns 3
I'm lovin'you, Michael. What does DEI have to do with it when we're talking about white pilots and white ATC in these instances?
Gloria Johns 2
So, the pilots in all these incidences were Black?
Gloria Johns 5
So exactly what are you saying, Valerie? Gender and skin color equals a lack of safety?
bbabis 17
No, just a non-emphasis on safety. There is a huge difference. As in most other government departments, we are now seeing the result of actual qualifications not mattering.
Gloria Johns 3
These were Black guys in all these incidences?! What explains a white guy making a mistake, like in almost every instance we're talking about it?
Gloria Johns 2
Were these pilots and atc Black?! What are you talking about if this is a bunch of white guys making the errors?
Sad but very true. That’s the world we now exist in.
boughbw 5
I am not so sure you are wrong, but maybe for the wrong reason. It is the continual whipping boy of the right wing to blame diversity initiatives, but such initiatives only apply to candidates meeting the requirements of the position in federal service. That is, if all candidates meet the requirements, you hire the minority applicant.
More to my point, we have seen federal agencies degraded to satisfy political vendettas time and time again. Recall how Republicans neutered the IRS for investigating 501c3 abused by conservative causes funneling money to Republican politicians? Since Republican action, the IRS seems intent on going after "small beans" tax evaders rather than the big time cheats. As it turns out, this is the result of the "reforms" Congress placed on the IRS, not some calculation by the agency. See also the USPS, which Republicans required to forward-fund employee retirements to an absurd degree and make the agency appear to be insolvent. Likewise the FAA, which was grilled by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe after he was called-out by the FAA for attempting to land his plane on a closed runway.
Bureaucratic stupidity totally exists. But let us not underestimate the havoc political stupidity can play on bureaucratic performance.
Jon Schwartz 6
no meritocracy correlates with policy focuses everyone on what the politically motivated bureaucrats want you to focus , not what you need to focus on...I know. they are doing the same to medicine. You could be the best the doctor in the world but you still have to fill in the boxes for the bureaucrats which takes away from real pt care. We know from history the outcome of the policies of the Stalinists and the Maoists
Duane Mader 2
When I mentioned this situation in aviation, how a very qualified friend of mine couldn’t get into a United ab-initio program, to a doctor friend of mine, she related that the situation in medicine is the same DEI BS. One intern admitted after a couple drinks at a party that she had many red flags on her resume but was hired because she was a woman. Mind you, is coming from a woman’s perspective.
Gloria Johns 1
What does DEI have to do with this when the pilots and atc we're talking about are white?
Jon Schwartz 4
it is also well known that standards have to be lowered to fulfill the edicts of those who demand that race and gender be criteria for employment or schooling. Also, those who teach us will not risk losing their job by enforcing a real meritocracy this standards for everyone get lowered. Centralization of money and power demand that we fail because like old Tudor England, there is no meritocracy...
Carlos Colón -1
Racist much? And like Superman said "flying is still the safest way to travel".
Wayne Fox 1
Pat Barry 26
This was a go-around, a common procedure and was not dangerous. We do go-arounds for a variety of reasons,
NBC4 pumped this up as a close encounter, but it was no big deal. It's a shame that media lies to us.
How about the QRON4 report this week about "Plane crash at county airport! Two people on board and their condition is unknown!". The truth was that a Comanche 260 had a gear collapse on Runway 31L at Reid Hillview and the plane came to a stop on the runway and the occupants climbed out. But the QRON 4 article showed a drawing of the airport and the location of the plane coming down in the middle of the maintenance / tie down area. They lied! Yes, the media lied. I called the station and requested a correction and the junior male who spoke with me said they relied on FAA information and "Thanks for the call". What a prick! They lied and refused to make a correction.
The point is -- these media outlets lie for ratings .... don't believe them.
Stephen Martin 6
Yes, aircraft (especially airline) incidents get the public’s attention so the media loves to hype them up. It’s all about who can attract the most eyeballs.
That being said, yes, a go-around is not the same as a separation error or accident. But if the landing aircraft initiated it (like it sounds like here and at AUS) THAT is a problem.
Mark Reusser 4
I agree. Media hype. Happens everyday, not necessarily an ATC screwup unless it's IFR low visibility. Cleared to land, airplane still on runway? go around no big deal! Has happened to me many times over a 30+ year career.
srobak 5
While you are completely correct about the media and that go's are normal - the frequency of this type of go is shaky on the rise.
Dan Chiasson 6
My sense is that the frequency of such related stories is most likely heightened thanks to social media and the drive for attention/eyeballs. Let's let the data speak and if the system is measured as wanting based on events over the last few years (not months) then initiate a safety program to adjust accordingly. Kneejerk reactions, often fueled by politics, are counterproductive to safety. All IMHO.
boughbw 2
Yes and no, right. Just because local journalists may hype a story does not mean that all of them do. I tend to see this the other way - how many times are the instances not being reported because journalists are unaware of them?
Yes, go-around is a common procedure.
But I somehow doubt ATC giving clearance to take-off ahead of a landing plane just over a mile out is common at all, unless it is to direct the pilot taking-off to prepare to do so after the incoming plane has landed and cleared the runway.
John Taylor 2
The fact that a go-around was even necessary during a non-training flight is the major point. It shouldn't have been needed if the controller was thinking.
Phil Caron 13
This many close calls in a short period of time are worrisome. I pray to God that accidents don't occur due to whatever factors are responsible for these mishaps.
dba74m 12
I hope so too, but I fear the opposite. Very inexperienced pilots and controllers out there en masse. Let's hope I'm wrong. Stay safe everyone!
Michael Reed 4
Back in the day the tower would tell the pilots taking off to “be prepared for an immediate”. That means, when I clear you you better get going or you are going to get run over.
John Taylor 3
I've also heard the term "expedited departure".
Stephen Martin 3
Cleared for immediate takeoff or taxi off the runway.
Ichiro Sugioka 6
According to the article, departures and arrivals were both using Rwy33. This is quite different from usual practice at this airport where departures use Rwy15 and arrivals use Rwy08, probably due to weather.
mbrews 6
One would think that a competent ATC control staff would adjust to a weather-induced operational change
Just like pilots, controllers lose situational awareness. There's little tricks one can do, for example, I would cover the windspeed indicator with paper when I had any (non-takeoff,landing)obstructions on a runway because I would never issue a takeoff or landing clearance without giving wind information. In this case, it appears more dynamic.

At least it did not end like this SkyWest flight:
David Beattie 6
Typical 24 hour news cycle reporting. There is a notable occurrence then everything that looks like it is reported as a justification that the sky is falling. Airplanes have been doing go arounds for years. Controllers do the best they can to maximize arrivals at crowded airports. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for a variety of reasons. A go around is neither an emergency nor a sign of narrowly avoided disaster.
I think it’s the tower control personnel who’s responsible for the landing and take off the airplanes. Not the pilots.
Frank Shumate 4
Who in hell sits in position on the runway for a minute and ten seconds after being cleared for takeoff. SWA /. KAUS. Can’t see where the controller was in error.
cparks 5
Who would clear an airplane for takeoff with traffic on 3 mile final shooting a CAT III? Not putting all the blame on on the SWA crew, but IMHO the controller holds most of the blame on that one.
Tom Bruce 4
anytime there's an "occurrence" the media jump on anything resembling it... plane crashes..we hear about all that follow until the news emphasis shifts to something else... same here? are all these "events" out of the normal ?? so many daily operations... I don't know
I'm with you on this comment.
Randall Bursk 2
For aircraft taking off, controllers will evaluate plane on final to runway. Will ask plane ready for T/O if they can take an immediate. Controller will advise distance of landing aircraft from runway. Crew of plane for takeoff will visually acquire plane for landing. Then advise tower if they can take an immediate, or say unable. Departing aircraft have to be fully ready. In some cases we would have engines spooled for quicker response. Procedure in Frankfurt would allow us to pushback, engine start and taxi, take off in 5 minutes.
David Beattie 2
This is nothing new. The controllers do their best to maximize traffic movements. Sometimes it doesn’t work out for some reason. It could be the cleared aircraft was slow to start his takeoff roll or the guy on final was above his assigned speed. Sometimes it’s because a landing aircraft misses a high speed turnoff. Go watch the action at LGA some time. They do an amazing job of airplane ballet! But, every once in a while it doesn’t work out as planned. A go around is not an emergency maneuver any more than a normal takeoff.
Mike Taylor 2
I can recall many years ago while working on a Marine Corps Air Traffic Control project when I toured the SFO tower. I asked the controller how he managed to space the incoming aircraft [RWYs 28L/R] with the departing aircraft on the intersecting runways [RWYs 1L/R]. It was very scientific. He stood in one particular spot and lined up a seam in the tower's window and if an arriving aircraft hadn't passed that seam he would clear the departing aircraft for takeoff. Of course, he assumed the departing aircraft would commence his roll within a very short time. Otherwise all bets were off.
Randall Bursk 2
Go Arounds are trained for many possibilities. Unstable approaches, traffic separation, TCAS Warning, wind shear. Statistics show go arounds are safe. Preferred on continuing a bad approach. Pilots need to respond immediately to speed instructions on final, or anywhere when assigned. If unable, say so. ICAO operations for example in Europe, pilots respond quickly, takes more time in United States. Cleared for Visual Aprproaches and accepted by pilots. Pilots responsible for maintaining seperation. Heavy aircraft increases seperation on final by a minute, as well for T/O. Can be waved depending on wind and noting heavy rotation point for start of where wake turbulence begins. Common sense, help each other out. If not, increase separation between aircraft to 5 minutes, increase delays. Even more in IFR conditions. Good Flights.
John Taylor 0
While everything you said is true, a go around should not be required due to controller error.
bbabis 5
It’s a matter of time. We’re working on luck right now. The number of these that don’t make the news will be the story until it happens. The capabilities of controllers and crews today are not close to what they were just 10 years ago. Scary, and the FAA besides clueless is complicit.
flyincj 3
Without hearing the tapes and assuming a visual approach, I would also go around at 1.3 miles if the departing aircraft wasn’t airborne. There’s at least 45 minutes of additional fuel on board to get back in the queue. Pilot discretion here, not an FAA blunder.
Billy Koskie 3
A pilot can respond, but I don't think clearing a plane for takeoff while another aircraft is on short final that close is anything but an FAA blunder.
Frank Shumate 3
Who in the hell takes the runway and sits in position for a minute and ten seconds when they have been cleared for takeoff. SWA KAUS
flyincj 2
Maybe a hurried SWA crew that forgot to update performance numbers at pushback? It’s too soon to point fingers at anyone but the go around crew did as they should.
Bill Kusian 2
Many atc talk like they are halfway through auctioneer school.
Tom Bruce 20
as a controller... the busier I got the slower I talked... didn't have time to repeat
srobak 9
And we appreciate that
John Taylor 3
When I was KC-135 crew chief based at ORD in the 80's and 90's, when I sat in the jump seat and listened to ATC, I could hardly understand what the heck they were saying. Like you said, they sounded like auctioneers. I would sit there and hope the pilot's understood because I sure didn't.
Tom Bruce 2
will hear of these until the next major event occurs...then these fairly regular occurrences will be ignored by the media
cowboybob -1
As DEI hiring and promotion accelerates, expect much more of this.
Who or what is DEI please?
Gloria Johns 2
Diversity, equity and inclusion. It has nothing to do with quotas. Racists have twisted the meaning. And it has nothing to do with this aviation forum either!
Gloria Johns 1
Hey cowboy? Were Black pilots and Black ATC involved in all these situations? Must be, the way you're talking about DEI.
William Bingham -1
Sad but true.
If a go- around is necessary, by all means it should be respected. That would definitely depend which busy or heavy traffic you are flying. Pilots are busy listening and planning a descent, so are the controllers.
“ it’s like a bird , it cannot fly with one wing “
Joe Keifer 1
Tick tock. Tick tock. One of these days we are going to bend some metal and scratch some paint.
Gloria Johns 1
Somebody tell me if all this berating Black people makes sense since most, if not all, the atc and pilots in these instances are white.
Mike Duralia 1
Crazy lucky they didn't collide and the TCAS had enough time to tell them the right thing to do...
Richard Loven 1
The rule is you don’t land on a runway if another airplane is on the runway. A landing aircraft iwon’t have the speed to catch up to an airplane that has lifted off and departing.
Karl Nennig 1
Very intelligent comment
Jon Schwartz 1
The more you centralize authority and bureaucratize it, The more it costs you to do less and less. -m. Friedman
boughbw 1
Would this be the same Friedman who helped install a dictator in Chile?
Jon Schwartz 1
'Should Social Security Be
Saved?' that was published in the Feb. 8-15 edition. The solution he suggests is so important that I'd like to fill in more details about Milton Friedman's plan.
Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who took control of Chile in a military coup in 1970, invited Friedman, three years later, to advise how to improve the country's economy, a country that had the continent's highest poverty rate. Friedman devised a plan that spurned socialism and embraced free markets and democracy.
A key segment of the plan was to develop a government-certified private pension account (of many different kinds) as an addition to the present public pension similar to the U.S. Social Security Fund.
The private account would be funded by each worker at a voluntary 10 percent of his income as opposed to a 20 percent required contribution to the public fund. Every worker could choose into which pension plan he wished to participate.
There was no "social secu-rity" tax for the private plan.
Now, 50 years later, the poverty rate among the elderly is less than half of the population as a whole. The poverty rate for the country dropped from 50 percent to 11 percent.
Contributions to the private
fund were invested into the economy to the extent that Chile is now South America's strongest economy. Further, the government isn't saddled with an obligation to pay a pension to anyone in the private program.
People in the private plan don't retire when politicians say they should, but rather when the people believe they have enough money in their plans to retire comfortably.
The plan is a win-win for the people and the country.
Gloria Johns 1
No one wants to hear about Friedman on this forum! You're going way off track just to be racist.
Jon Schwartz 1
Marxism is racist not freedom....and if you had been following the thread instead of reacting emotionally, you would see I am responding to an absolutely false and outrageous comment by one of you fellow travelers in destruction...
Lance Neward 1
Many years ago I was in a Cessna 172 at Long Beach, CA airport (KLGB) at night, when I was instructed to "Taxi into position and hold." I did so, and sat there waiting for my takeoff clearance for probably 30-45 seconds. As a courtesy to other pilots on the ground (I thought), while waiting and not moving, I switched off my landing light. After the long, it seemed, wait, whooshing over my head came a DC-8 which landed right in front of me on the runway on which I was sitting.
While there may have been a foul, there fortunately was no harm. In retrospect, I probably should have left the landing light on rather than waiting to flip it on as I started my takeoff roll; the tower and the landing aircraft might have had a better chance of seeing my small airplane. Tower operator apologized, and I went on my way. Cheap, in this case, lesson learned by at least two people.
Joe Keifer -1
Training and documentation always the first victims of a cutback in funding or hiring for the sake of DEI.
Gloria Johns 2
What does DEI have to do with white pilots and white ATC making these errors? This is an aviation forum anyway.
Media hype. This happens daily in our business. Many times actually. Hell, the media still thinks we are the ones with the orange batons on the ramp directing the plane to the gate. Most are clueless as to what we actually do.
from the recent incidents, it appears the real problem is communication between the atc personnel and the cockpit crews..whether they are not understanding what is said,or misinterpreting,or the controller is just not getting the right information to the cockpit..either way,its a serious matter..whether its inexperienced crews or atc peronnel,or a lack of attention,one mistake can cause a disaster...someone needs to handle the situation nationwide..
aknorris 5
How do you figure that?
During the last two reported go-around scenarios (Austin and this one), the air crews were doing exactly what ATC instructed and were reporting their positions correctly.
Same for the JFK near-miss with two aircraft taking off intersecting runways.
That isn't miscommunication. That is loss of situational awareness by controllers.
Ron Slater 7
Wasn't the one at JFK caused by one crew not adhering to taxi instructions?
Peter Ertman 5
jacqwayne 1
On first blush, I would agree with you. I hope they still do an in-depth investigation on all these errors. Of course, I don't have very much information on any of the incidents.
Get ready for a a massive swing the other direction. I bet soon departures will have to wait on any aircraft within 10 miles on approach to the runway. I’m thinking long times holding short are in the near future. Min vis, I get it. Good vis - keep it moving.
Pat Lamusse -1
FARs say the landing aircraft has right of way - any aircraft taxiing onto an active runway even if instructed by ATC causing the other aircraft to go around is at fault - according to FARs. PIC must accept or refuse to violate FARs - PIC responsible for the ultimate safety of the aircraft. ATC responsible for the safe separation of aircraft not the ultimate safety of an individual aircraft.
Randy Marco 1
You are ABSOLUTELY WRONG that's NOT what the rules say! Actually the plane on the runway has the right of way.

If you are a pilot (doubtful) YOU are a danger to others!

READ the rules below, Landing Aircraft do NOT have ABSOLUTE priority to Land.

FIRST & FOREMOST You have a duty to AVOID other aircraft AND part (g) states landing craft may NOT take advantage of the Landing priority rule.

FAR 91.113

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.

(g) Landing. Aircraft, while on final approach to land or while landing, have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating on the surface, EXCEPT that they shall NOT take advantage of this rule to force an aircraft off the runway surface which has already landed and is attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Gloria Johns 2
Explain something to me. These were white pilots and white ATC involved in these incidences, so what does that have to do with DEI?
Billy Koskie 0
If something doesn't change soon, a horrible accident is going to happen. We've lost too much experience and talent in the control towers and flight decks to retirement. The FAA needs to raise the mandatory retirement age to at least 65.
Pat Lamusse -1
The FARs “Right of way” says that a landing aircraft has priority over and aircraft taking off. Also the Pilot in Command is responsible for and has the final authority over the aircraft and must operate an aircraft safely according to the FARs. No mention of ATC responsibility. You judge who is the guilty party in this scenario - it’s clear to me.
Randy Marco 2
You are WRONG and if you are a pilot YOU are a danger to others!

READ the rules below, Landing Aircraft do NOT have ABSOLUTE priority to Land. FIRST & FOREMOST You have a duty to AVOID other aircraft & part (g) states landing craft may NOT take advantage of the Landing priority rule.

FAR 91.113

(b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft so as to see and avoid other aircraft.

(g) Landing. Aircraft, while on final approach to land or while landing, have the right-of-way over other aircraft in flight or operating on the surface, EXCEPT that they shall NOT take advantage of this rule to force an aircraft off the runway surface which has already landed and is attempting to make way for an aircraft on final approach.
msetera -3
Another one of those diversity hires? Yay diversity and inclusion.
Must be Trump's fault again.
Karl Nennig 3
Very intelligent and informed comment. Derp
Gloria Johns 2
These are white pilots and white ATC involved in these incidences, so what does that have to do with DEI?
Wayne Fox 1
Training issues?
jacqwayne -5
When the head of the Department of Transportation makes statements like "Our freeway overpasses are racists" and "There are too many white construction workers", that troubles me.
Gloria Johns 2
Evidently your comment troubles people on this forum.


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