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Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

annvpp
New Arrival

I was a passenger onboard Flight 1372 last night (10-29-19) from PHX to PHL.  As we were preparing to land at PHL, the plane descending low over the runway lights, suddenly the plane accelerated and ascended quickly, flying up high above the city then slowly looping around while maintaining altitude. It was several minutes before the pilot came on the intercom and explained calmly that we had been preparing to land but another plane had not quite moved out of the way yet. He sounded a bit shaken but was extremely calm and professional.

I suspect this was a "near miss" and that air traffic control made an error. This pilot deserves full praise for his professionalism and for saving us all from calamity. Also the FAA should be alerted.

 

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@annvpp wrote:

I was a passenger onboard Flight 1372 last night (10-29-19) from PHX to PHL.  As we were preparing to land at PHL, the plane descending low over the runway lights, suddenly the plane accelerated and ascended quickly, flying up high above the city then slowly looping around while maintaining altitude. It was several minutes before the pilot came on the intercom and explained calmly that we had been preparing to land but another plane had not quite moved out of the way yet. He sounded a bit shaken but was extremely calm and professional.

I suspect this was a "near miss" and that air traffic control made an error. This pilot deserves full praise for his professionalism and for saving us all from calamity. Also the FAA should be alerted.

 


 

This is called a "go-around," and it happens more frequently than you might imagine. (As a passenger, I've experienced several myself, including multiple ones on the same flight.) It can be initiated by the pilot or air traffic control, and for a variety of different reasons. A common one is higher than expected winds on final approach. There are strict protocols for how strong a cross or tail wind can be that vary depending on things such as runway length and aircraft weight, and winds can change quickly. Go-arounds are almost never an emergency, and may or may not have been due to an "error." Keep in mind that while one plane is well into it's landing approach, another is often still finishing up touchdown on the same runway, meaning that, when something happens to affect the protocol, "last minute" changes are an inevitable part of the process. Go-arounds are documented by flight crew and air traffic control, and depending on the cause, may be reported to the FAA and NTSB.

Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

SWDigits
Rising Star

@annvpp wrote:

It was several minutes before the pilot came on the intercom and explained calmly that we had been preparing to land but another plane had not quite moved out of the way yet.


A go-around is *usually* not due to an emergency.  If you have the opportunity to talk to a pilot my guess is that they probably wouldn't even be able to tell you how many times they've done or practiced a go-around during their career (in the simulator or in the air), especially during their early training and aircraft specific qualification.

 

Takeoff and landing are also usually the busiest part of a flight.  Priorities on the flight deck are "aviate, navigate, communicate".  Fly the plane, get to where you need to go, then talk with others so the several minute wait for a cabin announcement makes sense to me.


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Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

Learn more about go-arounds here.

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Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

annvpp
New Arrival

I appreciate the feedback. I have experienced "go-rounds" before, though I didn't know the term, usually due to wind or other weather conditions. And yes I agree the delay to make an announcement made sense. As I deplaned I saw two pilots talking in the jetway, one said to the other about how "there was a plane there" where he was supposed to land and it did not sound like his usual experience. But it may have been exactly what you describe.

Anyway I salute pilots and what they go through while we sit there blissfully oblivious.

Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

Cable-TV-Guy
Active Member

Before 9/11 when GA aircraft were more or less normal at IAD, I had to do a "go around" one night while landing on 1R.  I caught movement to the right in my peripherial vision and it was a deer heading towards the runway at a gallop!  Fortunately, a C-152 accelrates pretty quickly!  While termiating the landing, I quickly notified Approach Control of my action and why.  The response was a quick "Roger, maintain heading.  Climb to one thousand four hundred" which was followed by the Air France A-340 behind me being told to break off their approach and go around as well.  

 

Realize that there will always be situations that only one or perhaps two pairs of Mk I eyeballs are aware of.   

 

And, at the first FAA Flight Safety symposium I attended Jim Jameson of the FAA said, "The three rules of flying are:  "Fly the airplane.  Fly the **bleep** airplane.  And, fly the g----n airplane!" 

Re: Near Miss at PHL 10-29-19

dfwskier
Rising Star

I was doing touch and gos in Lubbock years ago. Including me, two Skyhawks  were doing touch and gos.

 

I had just turned on final and the tower cleared the other plane to land. I wasn't about to risk asking the tower whether it had made a mistake since if it wasn't a mistake, I was about to be run into by the other plane. That was not the time for talk. It was the time to fly the plane.

 

I made a sharp turn to the east, abandoning the pattern, and got on the radio to tell the tower what I was doing. The tower cleared me to the parallel runway.

 

The guy in the tower forgot who he was talking with. He forgot my tail number and used the wrong one while talking with me.