Spirit Airlines A319 dives to avoid a Skyding Airplane

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a close encounter between a Spirit Airlines flight and a skydiving plane that forced the jetliner to nose-dive 1,600 feet, causing screaming passengers to fear the plane was going to crash.

The incident happened today at about 8:22 AM over Michigan with a Spirit Airlines A319 that departed from Detroit Metropolitan Airport bound for Dallas-Fort Worth Airport with 126 passengers on board. 

The sudden drop caught unsuspecting passengers off guard as luggage spilled out of overhead bins during the incident Sunday evening over the skies of Michigan.

FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said:  “Air traffic controllers notified the Spirit pilot that a skydiving jump plane was climbing just south of the jetliner’s position, the Spirit pilot confirmed that he could see the smaller aircraft on his Terminal Collision Avoidance System. A minute later, the Spirit jet received an automated TCAS warning that required him to begin an immediate 1,600-foot descent to 12,800 feet from a previous altitude of 14,400 feet. The skydiving plane was flying under Visual Flight Rules, under which pilots are responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft,”

At the closest, the two planes were 1.6 miles apart horizontally and 400 feet vertically.  Addressing why the two planes got dangerously close, the FAA pointed to the smaller plane’s pilot.

Author:  Capt. Ivan


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