close call between 2 planes in san diego possibly caused by blocked radio transmission investigators say 3 scaled
Close call between 2 planes in San Diego possibly caused by blocked radio transmission, investigators say

A recent close call between two planes in San Diego has been attributed to a blocked radio transmission, according to investigators. The incident occurred when a Southwest Airlines jet and a smaller plane were both cleared to use the same runway. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that a distracted air traffic controller and a failed radio transmission caused the near collision. The controller had instructed the crew of the smaller plane to exit the runway but then directed the Southwest pilots to cut short their landing approach. However, the call to the Southwest plane did not go through, likely due to simultaneous transmissions that canceled each other out. The NTSB concluded that the blocked radio call was the probable cause of the close call, with the controller's distraction being a contributing factor.

Background Information

The incident under investigation involves a close call between two planes in San Diego, California. It occurred on June 10th and involved a Southwest Airlines jet and a SkyWest plane. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is conducting an investigation into the incident to determine the cause and identify any contributing factors.

Failed Radio Transmission

One possible cause of the close call was a failed radio transmission. According to the NTSB, the radio call from the controller to the Southwest Airlines pilots did not go through. It is believed that the radio transmissions from both the pilots and the controller were happening simultaneously, resulting in a cancellation of each other's transmissions. This blocked radio call may have contributed to the close call between the two planes.

The NTSB has been able to gather evidence through an audio recording by LiveATC, a service that records and archives air traffic control communications. This recording will aid in the investigation of the incident and help determine the sequence of events.

Close call between 2 planes in San Diego possibly caused by blocked radio transmission, investigators say

Distracted Air Traffic Controller

Another contributing factor to the incident was a distracted air traffic controller. The controller's responsibilities include communicating with pilots and providing instructions to ensure safe operations. In this case, the controller was multitasking between communicating with the pilots of the Southwest Airlines jet and a helicopter flying through the area.

This multitasking may have caused the controller to become distracted, potentially leading to the close call between the two planes. Air traffic controllers face numerous challenges in their work, including managing multiple aircraft, coordinating movements, and ensuring clear communication. Maintaining focus amidst these challenges is crucial to preventing incidents like the one under investigation.

Details of the Close Call

The actions and communications of the Southwest Airlines pilots and the SkyWest crew play a significant role in understanding the close call incident. According to the NTSB, the Southwest Airlines pilots heard the controller instructing them not to fly over the SkyWest plane but to "just off-set." However, the SkyWest crew heard the Southwest pilot asking if there was an airplane on the runway.

The Southwest plane flew approximately 950 feet to the side and 200 feet above the SkyWest plane before safely landing at San Diego International Airport. The close proximity between the two planes highlights the severity of the incident and the importance of investigating its causes thoroughly.

Close call between 2 planes in San Diego possibly caused by blocked radio transmission, investigators say

Similar Incidents Under Investigation

This incident is not an isolated event. Federal officials are currently investigating another close call between a Southwest plane and a business jet in San Diego in August. These similar incidents raise concerns about potential underlying issues or trends that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of air travel.

Comparing this June incident with the ongoing August investigation may provide valuable insights into any common factors contributing to these close calls. Identifying these factors can help guide the development of appropriate safety measures and regulations.

Safety Measures and Regulations

Clear and uninterrupted communication is of utmost importance in the aviation industry. The incident in San Diego highlights the need for effective communication protocols between pilots and air traffic controllers. It is essential for pilots and controllers to have clear guidelines and training on communication procedures to prevent incidents like blocked radio transmissions.

Technological solutions can also play a crucial role in preventing such incidents. Innovations in communication systems can enhance the efficiency and reliability of radio communications. Implementing advanced surveillance and monitoring systems can provide real-time data to air traffic controllers, enabling them to make informed decisions and mitigate risks.

Close call between 2 planes in San Diego possibly caused by blocked radio transmission, investigators say

Responsibility and Accountability

In the aftermath of the close call incident, it is important for the air traffic controller to take necessary actions. The controller should cooperate fully with the investigation and provide any relevant information or insights into the incident. Identifying any shortcomings in controller training or protocols can help prevent similar incidents in the future.

The incident also has implications for Southwest Airlines and SkyWest. Both airlines have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their operations and the well-being of their passengers. They should actively participate in the investigation and cooperate with the NTSB to identify any areas for improvement in their procedures or training.

The National Transportation Safety Board has a critical role in investigating the incident and determining its causes. As an independent government agency, the NTSB is responsible for conducting thorough investigations into transportation accidents and issuing safety recommendations to prevent future incidents. The board's findings and recommendations can impact the industry as a whole and contribute to improving aviation safety.

Lessons Learned and Future Precautions

The close call incident in San Diego provides an opportunity for the aviation industry to learn valuable lessons and implement future precautions. Improved training and communication protocols can help pilots and air traffic controllers learn from this incident and ensure more effective interactions in the future. Emphasizing the importance of avoiding distractions and maintaining focus can contribute to a safer operating environment.

Enhanced monitoring and surveillance systems can act as additional layers of protection. By providing real-time data on aircraft positions, these systems can help identify and prevent potential conflicts or close calls. Continuous improvement and innovation in safety measures should be a priority for the aviation industry to mitigate risks and enhance the safety of air travel.

Public Reaction and Concerns

Incidents like the close call in San Diego can have a significant impact on public confidence in air travel. The safety of passengers is of the utmost importance, and any incident that compromises that safety can lead to concerns and apprehension. Public reaction to this incident may include calls for stricter regulations and increased oversight to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Southwest Airlines and SkyWest, as prominent airlines involved in the incident, are likely to face questions and scrutiny regarding their safety practices and precautions. It is crucial for these airlines to address any concerns raised by the public and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of their operations.


The investigation into the close call incident between a Southwest Airlines jet and a SkyWest plane in San Diego sheds light on the importance of clear communication, effective training, and advanced safety measures in the aviation industry. The findings from this investigation will help identify areas for improvement and contribute to enhancing the safety of air travel.

Incidents like this serve as reminders that constant vigilance and adherence to safety protocols are necessary to prevent accidents. The implications of this incident extend beyond the two planes involved, and the entire aviation industry should take note to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. By learning from this incident, the industry can strengthen its protocols, regulations, and technological solutions to ensure safe and reliable air travel for all.

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