On 2 December 2007, at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, after controller error, a CRJ-100 operated by Comair with a valid take-off clearance missed by 400 ft vertically and 400 ft horizontally an Airbus A320, which just landed with also valid clearance on an intersecting runway.
Below is an extract from the official Report by National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB) on the Serious Incident:
"The tower controller had cleared AWE83 (A320) to land on runway 10 and AWE83 was approximately 6 mile on final approach when the ATC local controller cleared COM5412 (CRJ1) for takeoff on runway 15R. COM5412 was on taxiway A about 500 feet short of runway 15R when the takeoff clearance was issued. Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted. COM5412 rotated at taxiway F and over flew AWE83, at the intersection of runways 10 and 15R. The initial report from the Federal Aviation Administration stated that COM5421 over flew AWE83 by 300 feet. AWE83 exited runway 10 at runway 22.
About 1921:47, the ASDE tower display alerted with both visual and aural alarms. According to the local controller, from the back of the tower cab, an aural alert announced, "WARNING: AWE83, runways 10, 15R, converging." The AMASS also displayed numerous visual alarms such as a textual warning box, red hold bars for both runways indicating restricted runway/taxi crossing points, and purple circles around each aircraft as they approached the intersection of runways 10 and 15R. According to the local controller, he had turned his back from the runway operations to ask another controller to adjust the volume on the Domestic Events Network (DEN) line when he heard the AMASS alert. As the local controller turned back towards the local control position, he looked at the ASDE display and saw the circles around the two targets. After recognizing the situation, the local controller said, "Comair, Comair, cancel, cancel or" According to the COM5412 pilot's statement, they were at V1/Rotation Speed (Vr) speed passing taxiway F on runway 15R, when the local controller attempted to instruct the crew to cancel takeoff clearance; however, it was too late to abort the takeoff. COM5412 crossed in front of AWE83, as AWE 83 proceeded through the intersection of runways 10 and 15R. According to the FAA Runway Safety office, COM5412 missed AWE 83 by 400 feet laterally and 400 feet vertically. The FAA Runway Safety Office classified the incident as category "B" event."
The NTSB determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
- "The probable cause of this incident is local controller's failure of maintaining awareness of the situation and failing to provide the appropriate separation between the two aircraft operating on intersecting runways. Providing separation between aircraft is a first duty priority, in accordance with FAA Order 7110.65."
No Safety Recommendations are included in the Report.