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Old 06-21-2002, 08:03 PM   #1
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Near Miss Over Britain Blamed on Trainee Error

Near Miss Over Britain Blamed on Trainee Error and Equipment Failure

Experts are investigating a near miss by two British Airlines jetliners that happened after a trainee air traffic controller misdirected one of them and an equipment failure prevented a quick change, an official said Friday.

The trainee at the Swanwick center in Hampshire mistakenly put the two Heathrow-bound planes on a course that brought them too close together, said Richard Wright, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Services. When his instructor attempted to intervene, his equipment failed.

At that point, the trainee managed to warn the pilot of a Boeing 777 from Brazil to stay above the Boeing 737 from Spain, officials said. The two aircraft came within two miles of each other, making it an official near miss. Such aircraft are supposed to remain at least three miles apart.
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