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FAA investigating ‘close call’ in Boston

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The FAA is investigating a “close call” between a Hop-A-Jet Learjet 60 and a JetBlue E190 in Boston on 27 February. According to the FAA, the Learjet departed on Runway 9 without authorization while the E190 was landing on Runway 4R. The two runways intersect near the touchdown points for each runway. According to ADS-B data received from each aircraft, at 23:54:57.014 UTC (18:54 local time) the aircraft were 531 feet apart with the Learjet clear of runway intersection. When the Learjet was still in the runway intersection, the ADS-B data indicate the closest the two aircraft came was approximately 565 feet.

Graphic showing the nearest positions of JBU206 and HPJ280 in Boston.

In addition to the standard frequency data automatically saved for all flights, we have also downloaded and processed high frequency data to determine the closest time and distance. To account for minor variations in signal reception the above figure is based on high frequency data from a single Flightradar24 ADS-B receiver located near Boston’s Logan Airport.

A ‘close call’ in Boston

The Hop-A-Jet Learjet 60 was departing Boston’s Logan Airport for a flight to Fort Lauderdale. The aircraft taxied to Runway 9 with instructions to line up on the runway for departure and hold its position to wait for the arriving JetBlue flight to land. Instead of holding position, the Learjet immediately began accelerating for take off as soon as it had lined up with the runway centerline.

Image showing the flight paths of JBU206 and HPJ280

At 23:54:54.667 the Learjet was traveling at 82 knots and still in the intersection of Runway 9 and Runway 4R, while at 23:54:54.507 the JetBlue E190 was passing the Runway 4R number markings approximately 565 feet away at a ground speed of 132 knots.

Note that all measurements are from a single point on the aircraft and parts of each aircraft may be closer or further from each other than the data indicates.

The Hop-A-Jet Learjet continued its departure and arrived in Florida 2 hours 50 minutes after takeoff. The JetBlue E190 conducted a go around and landed safely 11 minutes after the incident occurred.

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Aircraft information

The JetBlue flight was operated by an Embraer E190 registered N179JB, which was delivered to JetBlue in 2005.

The Learjet 6o registered N280LJ was operating for Hop-A-Jet.

Full FAA statement

28 February 2023
This statement is preliminary and may change.

The FAA is investigating a close call between a Learjet and a JetBlue flight Monday night at Boston Logan International Airport. According to a preliminary review, the pilot of a Learjet 60 took off without clearance while JetBlue Flight 206 was preparing to land on an intersecting runway. 

The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. Eastern time. An air traffic controller instructed the pilot of the Learjet to line up and wait on Runway 9 while the JetBlue Embraer 190 landed on Runway 4-Right, which intersects Runway 9. The Learjet pilot read back the instructions clearly but began a takeoff roll instead. The pilot of the JetBlue aircraft took evasive action and initiated a climb-out as the Learjet crossed the intersection. The Learjet was operated by Hop-A-Jet, a private charter company. 

The FAA will determine the closest proximity between the two aircraft as part of the investigation. 

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