21 Sep

Two planes land blind at Reagan National Airport after ATC goes dark

first_imgWhen an airplane lands, it’s essentially making a controlled fall. If you’re in that plane while you’re landing, there you are, hurtling to the ground at 32 feet per second per second strapped to several tons worth of fuel and metal. It’s a disheartening thought, and the only real comfort you have in the situation is the skill of the plane’s pilot… and the fact that there’s a crew of people in the air traffic control tower watching out for you, making sure you don’t smack right into another plane.On Wednesday morning, the passengers of two DC airliners had only their pilots’ skill to depend upon. As the two planes approached Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport, the pilots — as usual — radioed in for landing guidance from air traffic control. There was no answer. They tried again. Still no answer. In fact, they never got a response.AdChoices广告With fuel running low and nothing to do, the two pilots — who were responsible for the combined safety of 165 passengers — decided that they had to land, and coordinated between themselves to land with a minimum of danger. They called into their airlines, confirmed which runways they were supposed to be approaching, did a few drive-bys to make sure there weren’t any other planes in the way… and then landed blind.No one really knows what happened. Since the Reagan National Airport isn’t commenting, the most likely explanation is that either someone got locked out of the Air Traffic Control tower, or the air traffic controller fell asleep at his desk.This could have been a huge disaster. While not a lot of planes land after midnight, those that do are even more in need of guidance from the air traffic controller, as it is common for airport maintenance workers to tow jets across runways late at night. Thank goodness luck was on those pilots’ side.Read more at Washington Postlast_img

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