The frequency of near-collisions on airport runways because of traffic control miscues appears to be increasing despite government attempts to make controllers more aware of the problem, air safety investigators said Tuesday.
The staff of the National Transportation Safety Board told board members there have been at least 40 runway incidents attributed to air traffic control errors this year, a level that exceeds the rate in 1985, when the Federal Aviation Administration reported 104 such incidents for the year.
The NTSB has been studying so-called “runway incursions” for about a year after a highly publicized incident in Minneapolis in which two Northwest Airlines DC-10s missed colliding by an estimated 50 feet when one plane crossed into the path of the other taking off. The two planes carried 501 people.
Since then, NTSB investigators have found a number of similar incidents.