Passengers aboard a JetBlue flight coming out of Orlando Florida and heading to New York’s Westchester County Airport got more than a great price and a few snacks. The pilot of JetBlue Airways flight 94 notified air traffic controller of an approaching smaller plane to which the controllers confirmed there was another plane only two miles away. On the ground, two miles might seem like a relatively good distance but in the air it is extremely dangerous.
In a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA, once the pilot of the JetBlue flight was advised of a potential disaster, the flight path was properly adjusted and the plane landed at Westchester without incident.
According to Megan Sikorski, one of the passengers onboard the JetBlue flight, she could actually look out her window and see the other plane flying closer. At that point, she buried her head in her mother’s lap while grabbing hold of the passenger next to her. She then stated that as the JetBlue plane ascended quickly, the whoosh of the second plane could be heard beneath them.
Another passenger who was traveling with his wife and five-year-old daughter stated that the JetBlue plane made a move that is not typically. At that point, he knew something was going on. As his wife looked out her window, she saw the plane. It was so close, that she was able to read the lettering on it. As in Megan’s statement, this second passenger also said he could hear the other plane pass underneath the JetBlue.
Following the near mid-air collision, an investigation was initiated by the FAA, with JetBlue fully cooperating. Released in the FAA’s statement, the other plane was a general aviation aircraft that was flying under the visual flight rules. During flight, that plane came within two miles southwest of the JetBlue flight.
The pilot of the Airbus A320, which is designed to hold roughly 150 passengers, admitted that in addition to the air traffic control warning, he saw the smaller aircraft and started to climb to a higher altitude. The approach to the Westchester County Airport was also modified.
The FAA added that because the smaller plane was flying under visual flight rules, communication with air traffic controllers was not mandated. However, as imagined there were many people on the JetBlue flight who were shaken by the experience. Being able to see a plane approach and then hear the roar of its engines underneath as it passes below is enough to scare anyone.
Information pertaining to the other aircraft or its pilot has not been released. When asked for information, the FAA had no immediate response. Officials with the Westchester County Airport were also questions to which a spokesperson said they were aware the FAA was involved but that they had few details. Thankfully, both planes made it to the ground safely.