Michelle Obama's Plane Has Near Miss At Andrews Air Force Base

Posted Apr 19th 2011 06:15 PMUpdated Apr 19th 2011 06:44 PM



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A scary thing happened to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden as they were landing at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday: Their Boeing 737 on which they were flying en route from New York was involved in a near miss with a large cargo plane.

The air traffic controllers knew of the First Lady's flight, designated EXEC1F, a classification for flights carrying member's of the president's family, the Washington Post reports.

Obama and Biden's plane was ordered to do a series of S-turns to create more distance between it and the cargo plane, a C-17.

When that failed, and the air traffic controllers realized there were not enough space between the two planes, Obama and Biden's landing was aborted and ordered to circle.

The wake from an airplane can cause severe turbulence, and in extreme cases can cause planes to crash. The distance between a fully-loaded C-17 and any other planes must be 5 miles. In this case, the planes were 3.08 miles apart, the FAA reported radar showed.

In double trouble? Another air traffic controller at the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, who claimed the planes were four miles apart.

An FAA manager said the controller exhibited "really bad controller technique. Not only did he get them too close, he told the [Andrews controller] that they were farther apart than they were."

An unnamed federal official told the Washington Post: "In the grand scheme of things, events like this happen fairly frequently. Unfortunately, this one involves a presidential plane."

The FAA has sent a team to investigate the incident.

This incident comes as the FAA is dealing with a slew of controversies over the abilities of their air traffic controllers, from sleeping on the job to watching movies during the late-night shifts. Last week an FAA official resigned over the controversy.

Filed Under: Air Travel, News

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Ben Dover

Am i alone, or does anybody else think that these couples swap-off?

April 23 2011 at 1:16 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Not all facts are presented. Did the 737 acknowledge having a "visual" on C-17 or the Airport? This acknowledgement places the 737 pilot with the responsibility of separation according to the Airman's Information Manual.

April 22 2011 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TJ Williams

I wish her and her family a long, healthy , happy life. The morons who hate don't deserve her spit if they were on fire.

April 20 2011 at 10:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

of course the taxpayers paid, how many more do we not know about. $1200 lunches in NYC. It is sickening that people are hungry but the elite don't care!!!!@

April 20 2011 at 7:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

You know, all these people kvetching about Michelle Obama's plane trip, I hope they were saying the same thing when Laura Bush was flying around.

April 20 2011 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

who is paying for this extravagance?

April 20 2011 at 5:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Haya Doin!

A gallon of regular is now $4.97 here in Chicago. Why won't anyone go after Congress and the oil futures traders? They are the REAL reason the price is going so high!

April 20 2011 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lee Zehrer

Nice to see the girls returned safely with their 737? Where were they shopping by the way? Hope they got some bargains. As a taxpayer I more so hope they don’t have to return anything.

April 20 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Weren't quite through with their lobster.

April 20 2011 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OH! I am shaken in my boots.

FOTUS and her political sister returning from a 'visit' to NY (can you say shopping ~ Marie Antoinette strikes again), and they have to go around? OMG! Separation is for wake turbulence (comfort of the passengers ~ and safety when on approach), and distance so a slower C-17 can clear the runway and get clear on the taxiway allowing that 737 to land... They speed the C-17 up, and the 737 does 'S' turn to slow it down, and makes more space. Since the guy driving the 737 wasn't good at large slow 'S' turns FOTUS got a little more jaw time with Ms. Bidden. I would venture to say she didn't even know about it until a report hit her with it...

This much ado about nothing!

April 20 2011 at 12:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply