On July 22, 2008, at 1247 central daylight time, American Eagle flight 4298 (EGF298), N624AE, an Embraer Regional Jet 145 (E145), was departing runway 32 left (32L) when it conflicted with N252RP, a Learjet 60 (LJ60) on approach to runway 9 right (9R) at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois. The E145 was a scheduled airline passenger flight operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121. The LJ60 was a business flight operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Both flights were operating on instrument flight rules flight plans. There were no injuries to the occupants and there was no damage to either airplane. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the incident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
At 1243:09, the ORD tower local control 10 (LC-10) controller instructed the E145 pilots to taxi into position and hold on runway 32L at taxiway M. The LC-10 controller issued a wake turbulence advisory to the pilots and advised them to expect about a 2 1/2 minute delay before "we can getcha rollin". The E145 pilots acknowledged the clearance. The runway 32L/taxiway M intersection is approximately 8,800 feet from the runway 9R final approach path.
At 1244:57, the LJ60 pilot contacted the north local controller (NLC) and reported over Lance, the runway 9R outer marker, located about 4.1 nautical miles from the approach end of the runway. The NLC cleared the LJ60 pilots to land on runway 9R and advised them to "plan a left turn on runway 32R" during their landing roll. The LJ60 pilots acknowledged the clearance and repeated the exit information.
At 1245:27, the LC-10 controller cleared the E145 for takeoff stating, "...runway 32L at [taxiway] M, cleared for takeoff, turn right heading 330 [degrees]." The controller did not provide any information regarding the LJ60 that was about 2.5 miles from the runway 9R runway threshold. The E145 pilot acknowledged the takeoff clearance. At 1245:45, EGF298 commenced its takeoff roll.
According to the local monitor's statement, he recognized the potential conflict between the E145 and LJ60 and told the LC10 controller to advise the departing aircraft to stay low.
About 1246:13, when the LJ60 was about 3/4 of a mile from runway 9R, the NLC instructed the LJ60 pilots to "...go around maintain 4,000 [feet msl]." According to the LJ60 pilot-flying's (PF) statement, the pilot not flying observed the E145 on runway 32L and told the LJ60 pilot flying (PF) "Climb, climb, there is an MD80 on takeoff roll on [runway] 32R."
At 1246:19, the LC-10 controller advised the E145 pilots to "...stay low...stay low traffics above you."
At 1246:26, the ASDE-X data revealed that the closest recorded proximity occurred as the LJ60 passed about 150 feet laterally and about 325 feet above the E145. About 13 seconds later, the NLC instructed LJ60 pilots to "Turn right heading 140 [degrees], contact Chicago departure control on 127.4." The pilots acknowledged the clearance.
At 1246:27, the LC-10 controller instructed E145 pilots to "Climb and maintain 5 [thousand feet], sorry about that." A few seconds later, the pilots acknowledge the clearance.
At 1246:43, the E145 pilots said, "...it was interesting." About 19 seconds later, the LC-10 controller instructed the E145 pilots, "Contact Chicago departure 125.4."
According to LJ60 PF's statement, "While on radar vectors for our planned arrival into ORD, we were being vectored on left traffic for runway 9R. We were given a steep decent and then a speed of 180 KIAS (knots indicated air speed) this indicated to us that we were going to be given a tight turn into final and a visual approach when we had identified the landing runway. This all happened as expected. After we gained sight of the landing runway, we were cleared for the visual approach and given 'speed your discretion, contact tower at IANSF'. At that point, I started slowing the airplane to allow the full landing configuration to be deployed. Upon crossing the final approach fix, [we] contacted the tower. We were cleared to land and told to roll out and turn left on runway 32 to taxi into Signature Aviation via taxiway LL. A few moments later in a calm voice, we were instructed to execute a go around and to climb to 4000 feet. At this point [the PNF] identified the traffic on runway 32R and said, 'Climb, climb, there is an MD80 on takeoff roll on [runway] 32R." After the go around we were given radar vectors back to the airport for runway 4R and an uneventful landing."
According to the LJ60 PNF's statement, "Upon initial contact with Chicago TRACON we were given our runway and approach assignments - vectors to runway 9R for a visual or ILS. We crossed the ORD VOR at our assigned altitude (7,000 feet) and departed heading 300 degrees for vectors. Subsequent clearances included speed reductions to 180 KIAS, 4,000 feet, a base leg turn, another turn heading 140 degrees, instructed to report the field in sight for a visual approach, and to maintain [2,500] feet. Upon reporting the field 'in sight' we were cleared for a visual approach to runway 9R and to contact the tower at or abeam LANSE with speed at our discretion. Passing LANSE on the glideslope, we contacted the tower and we were cleared to land runway 9R. A couple of brief questions concerning our runway exit point ensued and we were told to clear the runway with a left turn on runway 32R. Final cockpit checks were completed and I continued to monitor the approach. At some point, well before overflying runway 32L, in noticed a plane rolling on runway 32L, which I expected to be a landing airplane but thought was very unusual. I've never seen anyone land on this runway - only takeoff. So I continued to monitor and noticed that the plane was indeed taking off because it wasn't decelerating. I was preparing to inform [the PF] of the other plane because it was starting to rotate when the tower instructed us to execute a go-around via runway heading and to climb to 4,000 feet. I guess that our go-around was initiated from the glideslope approximately 1/4 [mile] or so prior to overflying runway 32L. During the go-around maneuver, I advised [the PF] to climb because the suspected conflicting airplane was taking off. We never received a TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) advisory - either alert or resolution - during the go-around."
The E145 captain (PF) stated, "We were cleared for takeoff on [runway] 32L (M taxiway) heading 330. As I called gear up after rotating, I see a Learjet at 11 o'clock converging directly with our flight path. I immediately leveled the aircraft at 200 feet above the runway to avoid a collision and maintained runway heading. The tower issued an alert to level off two seconds later, as the Lear [jet] passed directly over our cockpit. I am estimating 600 feet separation. The controller apologized."
The E145 first officer (PNF) stated, "Departing [runway] 32L from [taxiway] M, cleared for takeoff. Moments after rotation, tower instructed us to, 'Stay low' or 'Level off'; unsure of exact phraseology. I am not sure if I responded on the radio or not.... Simultaneously I began looking for the reason of the request. From my vantage point, all I saw was an aircraft directly above us moving left to right at no more than 200 feet of separation vertically. The Captain immediately initiated a level off at no more than 200 feet AGL until we were instructed to continue the climb. The tower apologized and continued working aircraft, handed us off to departure where the flight continued without further incident."
For the past 6 years, the ORD LC-10 controller had been appropriately certified and qualified to perform his assigned duties. He received his initial control tower operator's certificate on June 28, 1991 at Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
An automated surface observation system (ASOS) provided the official weather observation at the ORD airport. The reported weather 57 minutes before the incident was:
ORD routine weather report, 1251 CDT, wind 340 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 3,800 feet above ground level, scattered clouds at 15,000 feet above ground level, temperature 27 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 18 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.92 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
There was no damage reported to either aircraft.
ORD Airport information: ORD is located 14 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. ORD serves airline, air taxi, general aviation and military aircraft. The annual air activity averages 958,643 operations per year. The airport has 12 runways: runways 14-32L/R, 9R-27L, 10/28 and 4-22L/R. Airport elevation was 668 feet. The runways involved in the incident were runway 14R/32L, which was 13,000 feet long and 200 feet wide with a runway surface consisting of an asphalt/grooved surface in fair condition and runway 9R/27L, which was 7967 feet long and 150 feet wide with a runway surface consisting of an asphalt/grooved surface in fair condition.
ORD Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) information: At the time of the incident, ORD ATCT was an ATC Level 12 towered airport, operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The ORD ATCT was 260 feet in height. It was centrally located on the airport. The LC10 position, located on the south side of the tower cab that has an external view of the runway 32L/9R intersections. The tower was equipped with digital radar and ASDE-X displays. ORD managers reported that the ASDE- X did not have crossing runway logic installed, and the ASDE-X did not alarm during the incident.
ORD 7110.65F, dated August 30, 2007, states in part: "when an arriving runway 9R and departing runway 32L; ...Local Control shall ensure that an aircraft (other than a heavy jet/B757) departing runway 32L from the full length or any intersection has passed the T2 intersection prior to the runway 9R arrival reaching a point 2.0 miles from "intersection X".