E190 / LJ60, Boston USA, 2023

E190 / LJ60, Boston USA, 2023

Summary

On 27 February 2023, an Embraer 190 was flaring for an imminent night touchdown on runway 04R at Boston in normal visibility when a Learjet 60 began takeoff from intersecting runway 09. As the Embraer descended through 30 feet agl, the Learjet entered runway 04R taking two seconds to cross it. The incursion had triggered an ATC alert and just after the crossing, the Embraer was instructed to go around and did so from around 10 feet agl. The Investigation found that the Learjet crew correctly read back their line up and wait clearance but then took off without clearance.

Event Details
When
27/02/2023
Event Type
AGC, HF, RI
Day/Night
Night
Flight Conditions
VMC
Flight Details
Operator
Type of Flight
Public Transport (Passenger)
Intended Destination
Take-off Commenced
Yes
Flight Airborne
Yes
Flight Completed
Yes
Phase of Flight
Missed Approach
Flight Details
Type of Flight
Public Transport (Non Revenue)
Take-off Commenced
Yes
Flight Airborne
No
Flight Completed
Yes
Phase of Flight
Take Off
Location - Airport
Airport
General
Tag(s)
Copilot less than 500 hours on Type, Extra flight crew (no training), PIC aged 60 or over
AGC
Tag(s)
Take off without clearance
HF
Tag(s)
Procedural non compliance
RI
Tag(s)
Accepted ATC Clearance not followed, Intersecting Runways, Near Miss
Outcome
Damage or injury
No
Non-aircraft damage
No
Non-occupant Casualties
No
Off Airport Landing
No
Ditching
No
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s)
Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s)
None Made
Investigation Type
Type
Independent

Description

On 27 February 2023, an Embraer 190 (N179JB) being operated by JetBlue Airways on a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Nashville to Boston as JBU206 was about to touch down on runway 04R at destination in night VMC when the crew saw another aircraft crossing an intersecting runway immediately ahead at speed. At about the same time, the TWR controller received an ASDE-X alert warning of the incursion and instructed the Embraer to go around which it then did after the crossing had occurred. The other aircraft was a Learjet 60 (N280LJ) being operated by Hop-a-Jet on a non-revenue positioning flight from Boston to Fort Lauderdale as HPJ280 which had been cleared to line up and wait on runway 09 but had then begun to take off without clearance.

E190-LJ60-Boston-2023-conflict-intersection

The location of the conflict. [Reproduced from the Official Report]

Investigation

An Investigation was carried out by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Relevant data was obtained from a video recording and recorded ATC communications. The prevailing weather conditions were not a factor in the conflict - the reported surface wind velocity was 330° at 6 knots with the landing runway clearly visible at the final approach fix (FAF).

The Flight Crew

The 63 year-old Learjet 60 Captain had a total of 22,544 hours flying experience which included 2,317 hours on type of which 1,944 hours were in command on type. He had a total of 16,971 hours in command on all types. The 23 year-old Learjet 60 Co-Pilot had a total of 2,027 hours flying experience which included 388 hours on type of which 80 hours were in command. The 36 year-old Embraer 190 Captain had a total of 7,505 hours flying experience which included 1,673 hours on type of which 146 hours were in command. The 25 year-old Embraer 190 First Officer was acting as PF and had a total of 2,280 hours flying experience including 75 hours on type.

What Happened

With the Co-Pilot occupying the left seat and acting as PF, the LJ60 entered runway 09 after receiving and correctly acknowledging a clearance to ‘line up and wait’. As the line up was about to be completed, the Co-Pilot asked the Captain if they were cleared for takeoff and on receiving an affirmative response, commenced and subsequently completed the takeoff with no intervention from the controller. The crew subsequently received an instruction to call Boston ATC on landing and did so.

The ERJ 190 Captain stated that in the final stages of an ILS approach to runway 04R he had heard an aircraft being given a line up and wait instruction. The First Officer disconnected the AP and as they entered the flare to land after crossing the runway threshold at about 30 feet agl, he saw an aircraft on runway 09 moving from left to right and passing immediately in front them speed. As soon as it was clear, the controller issued a go-around instruction and the First Officer responded promptly.

The supernumerary crew seat was occupied by a locally-based dead-heading company First Officer who was videoing the final approach on a PED in accordance with JetBlue policy. He noted that below 18,000 feet, the operating crew were on headsets with the flight deck speakers off and added that as he was not wearing a headset, he did not hear intercom or ATC communications. He observed - and the video confirmed - that the approach had been stabilised and stated that he had not seen the conflicting business jet until it passed in front of the aircraft (see the relevant frame from the video below).

E190-LJ60-Boston-2023-video-still

A still from the video showing the LJ60 accelerating across the intersection. [Reproduced from the Official Report]

The video time line showed that the nose of Learjet 60 had crossed the left edge of runway 04R at exactly the same time the automated 30 feet agl callout was annunciated in descent when the Embraer was just ahead of the runway aiming point markings. The video showed that the Learjet cleared the runway just before a crew call of “go-around” was made in response to the ATC instruction to do so from a minimum height over the runway of approximately 10 feet. The subsequent climb and re-positioning were followed by a further approach to the same runway and a successful landing. 

The Probable Cause of the accident was determined as "the Hop-a-Jet flight crew taking off without a takeoff clearance which resulted in a conflict with a JetBlue flight that had been cleared to land on an intersecting runway.” 

The Final Report was published on 12 July 2022. No Safety Recommendations were made. 

Editors Note: In view of the abbreviated nature of the Final Report, reference was also made to the corresponding Investigation ‘Docket’ to which the NTSB provides online access to some of the evidence assembled during the Investigation but not used in the published Report. This additional information shows that the ASDE-X alert which prompted the controller to issue the go around instruction mentioned in the report did not affect the risk of collision because although the controller acted quickly, his call was too late to prevent the incursion happening whereas reading the report alone might be taken as indicating that the ASDE-X alert mitigated the risk which it did not because of the relatively short distance from the start of runway 09 to its intersection with 04R.

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