A US Airways Shuttle jetliner and a corporate turboprop missed colliding by 100 to 300 feet at a La Guardia Airport runway intersection last Monday when a controller cleared the turboprop to take off as the jetliner touched down to land, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Sunday.
It was the third serious near-collision within two years at the busy New York airport that controllers failed to report to FAA headquarters here. Two of those near-collisions, the one June 12 and another in late 1998, involved the same controller, sources close to the investigation said.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which has expressed concern about such ''runway incursions,'' launched an investigation. The most recent near-collision occurred the day before the board met to issue new runway incursion recommendations and two weeks before the FAA opens a summit conference on the issue.
The agency learned of the latest incident Thursday after the US Airways pilot filed a ''near midair collision'' report, an FAA spokesman said.
''We are still investigating this,'' the spokesman said. ''The (safety) board was informed. We take every episode like this extremely seriously.''
Under FAA rules, controllers are supposed to report operational errors within three hours, even if the controller is uncertain whether an incident actually fit the definition of an operational error. FAA terminology divides incidents into ''operational errors'' if the controller is at fault and ''pilot deviations'' if the pilot makes the error.
The controller, who was not identified, was decertified and retrained, sources said, after a similar incident Dec. 2, 1998, in which a US Airways Boeing 737 was cleared to land on a runway already occupied by a King Air twin turboprop.
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