Midair collision at 37,000 feet
March 27, 2009 10:45 AM Subscribe
posted by flug (22 comments total)
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The sky is a really big place, right? So how did a Boeing 737 and a Legacy 600 private jet manage to collide head-on at 37,000 feet over the Amazon jungle in Brazil? William Langewiesche's detailed analysis of the 2006 crash
--which killed all 154 aboard the 737--provides some answers.
It seems the sky just isn't as big as it used to be: "Until recently, head-on airplanes mistakenly assigned the same altitude and route by Air Traffic Control would almost certainly have passed some distance apart, due to the navigation slop inherent in their systems. But this is no longer true." The navigation systems of the two aircraft are so precise that when they met--at a closing speed of about a thousand miles per hour--the Legacy 600 was only 2 feet below and 30 feet to the left of the 737.