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Air Traffic Control

Is Your Flight at Risk of a Near-Miss?

Is Your Flight at Risk of a Near-Miss?
Joe Cortez

Recent report suggests near misses on the rise in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Long Beach.

Flyers could be at more risk of having their flights involved in near-miss incidents, depending on where their travels take them. The information comes from data recently released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), taken between 1987 and 2016.

According to the data, most near-miss incidents took place while aircraft were at cruising altitude, with 40 percent of reported incidents happening during the phase of flight. Climbing and descending tied for second, with odds at 17 percent of coming near another aircraft during these phases. Approach, landing and turns rounded out the top five phases in which most near-miss incidents happen.

In addition, data discovered that near-miss incidents rose in the last year. In 2016, approximately 350 near-misses were reported to the FAA, the most since 1991. However, with more aircraft in the air on any given day, that number reflects a lower percentage of overall flights. In 1991, the 350 near misses accounted for around .005 percent of all flights, while that same number of incidents translated to just over .003 percent of flights in 2016.

Where did all these near-miss incidents take place? Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) reported the most near-miss incidents since 1987, with 106. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) was close behind, with 103 misses in the same time period. Phoenix, Long Beach, Calif. and Houston all came in the top five of airports with the most near-misses over the last 20 years.

The report comes as new scrutiny toward America’s air traffic control (ATC) systems is set to take stage on Capitol Hill. In April, an infrastructure plan discussed by the White House called for airport privatization, while legislators considered a plan to completely privatize ATC in 2016.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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