The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating why a JetBlue commercial flight barely avoided a midair collision with another plane earlier this week. The FAA is looking into how JetBlue Airways Flight 94 and a general aviation aircraft flying under visual flight rules came so close to a midair collision.
According to Time, the incident occurred around 1:45 p.m. on January 25 as the JetBlue Flight 94 was over Westchester County Airport in New York. The flight from Orlando to Westchester County Airport was on its final approach when the incident took place.
USA Today reports that pilots of the JetBlue flight were informed of a plane in the vicinity as they made their approach to Westchester County Airport. According to the report, the second plane was a general aviation aircraft that was flying under visual flight rules. After air traffic controllers warned the JetBlue pilots of the incoming plane, which was only two miles southwest of the flight at the time of the call, they were able to see the plane in the distance and climb to a higher altitude to avoid collision.
Passenger Megan Sikorski told local ABC7 that she saw the approaching plane out her window. She also notes that the planes were so close that passengers were able to hear a “whoosh” sound as the other plane passed underneath.
“I’m looking out the window, and then this white airplane is now coming at our airplane,” passenger Megan Sikorski said. “I turned and buried myself in my mom’s lap and grabbed the guy next to her. And our plane went up, and you could hear the woosh of the other airplane underneath us.”
Megan’s mother, Pat Twomey, says it is the fancy maneuvering by the pilots that avoided the midair collision that day.
“And then we went up immediately and were almost parallel to the sky and ground. If they didn’t move our plane that way, where our wing was up…I think it would have hit us. It was going to hit us. They don’t maneuver planes like that if they’re not trying to get out of the way of something…(the pilots) saved out lives, no doubt.”
The passengers claim that the pilots appeared “shaken” and told them that someone was “joyriding” in their airspace.
The FAA seems to be downplaying the incident, noting that pilots received the alert in enough time to maneuver out of the path of the incoming plane.
“After receiving an alert regarding a potential aircraft several miles away, the pilot adjusted its approach into Westchester County Airport and landed safely.”