Plane collision at SFO highlights safety problems
A United Airlines Boeing 757 and a Skywest commuter jet with 60 people on board collided on a runway late Sunday at SFO. Both airplanes suffered serious damage to their tail sections, but supposedly no injuries were reported.
SkyWest Airlines is basically a Canadian owned commuter subsidiary carrier of United operating United Express flights. In May of last year a SkyWest jet almost collided with another jet at SFO on the runway, an “incursion” that ranked amongst the 4 most dangerous in the US last year.
SFO has been lucky overall in a lack of fatal accidents, especially when considering it’s low safety rating. In August an FAA safety investigation was announced after a high number of “runway incursions” (aka near-misses) and a comparative high number of incidents in which pilots were confused while taxiing.
A spokesflack for the FAA quoted in the NY Times called the incident rare and claimed “There doesn’t appear to be any underlying safety issue here.”
More after the jump…
In 2000-2003 the San Francisco airport had 15 reported “Runway Incursion” incidents on runways, but no collisions. This rate averaged about 1.3 incidents per 100,000 “operations” at the airport in 2000, slightly less in lighter traffic years that followed
In October of 2007, the FAA released its most recent findings after the Associated Press reported that the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, was withholding its own findings about runway safety for various political reasons including to avoid upsetting travelers and affecting airline profits.
The airfield obtained millions in federal funding & began work work to expand it’s runways last year, and did basic improvements like painting new divider lines…