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Feds probe incident involving 2 Houston planes

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm •  Published: May 23, 2014
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HOUSTON (AP) — Federal officials are investigating an incident in which two United Airlines planes may have flown too close to each other over Houston.

The close call happened after both planes took off from Bush Intercontinental Airport on the night of May 9.

The two jets came within less than a mile of each other and 400 feet apart in height, Federal Aviation Administration FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Friday. Normally planes would be separated by at least three miles in distance and 1,000 feet in altitude.

An air traffic controller told the pilot of United Flight 601 to turn right after takeoff, then realized that the plane was heading into airspace normally reserved for planes on another runway. United Flight 437 had just taken off from that second runway, and the controller gave both pilots instructions to keep the planes apart, Lunsford said.

Lunsford said the FAA has taken steps to prevent similar events in the future.

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