WHAT: Federal regulators launched a full investigation of the near-collision of a US Airways jet and a small Beech 99 cargo plane that came within 50 to 100 feet of crashing over Minneapolis airport just after takeoff in heavy clouds.
NARROW ESCAPE: The airport control tower instructed the US Airways crew to turn left, causing the fully loaded jet to cross paths with the cargo plane. A disastrous crash was avoided only because the jetliner’s automated system instructed the pilots to climb.
WHY OUTRAGEOUS: It was the fourth operational error at Minneapolis airport this year, and there were 10 in 2009. A rise in near-collisions nationwide has the Federal Aviation Administration investigating every dangerous incident in search of causes.