How did 2 planes almost crash at Sarasota Bradenton airport? Here’s a preliminary report

·2 min read
Michelle Marchante/

Federal aviation authorities have released their preliminary report of two planes that nearly collided in February at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

SRQ radar data showed the flight paths of Air Canada Rouge flight No. 1633 departing and climbing from runway 14 at 100 feet en route to Toronto, with American Airlines flight No. 2172 arriving at about 100 feet crossing over the runway 14 from Charlotte, North Carolina.

On March 7, the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed air traffic control members, examined Federal Aviation Administration communication records, and received statements from pilots of both planes.

On Feb. 16, the Air Canada Rouge flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 14 at the same time an American Airlines flight was cleared to land on the same runway, NTSB’s report said.

The American Airlines crew “self-initiated a go-around,” to avoid the danger, the report said.

A go-around is an aviation term for when pilots decide to abort a landing during the plane’s final approach to the runway, an earlier Herald report said.

The American Airlines flight began communicating with a FAA local controller when the plane was about 10 miles north of SRQ, the report said.

The local controller cleared the arriving flight for landing, the report said. When American Airlines reached its 3.12-mile final descent, the local controller asked the Air Canada Rouge flight bound for Toronto if they were ready for departure.

The report said after the Air Canada Rouge crew said they were ready, the local controller cleared the plane for takeoff on runway 14.

The Air Canada Rouge plane was issued a traffic advisory that the other plane was on its 3-mile final descent, the report said.

The controller also warned the American Airlines crew with a traffic advisory about the Air Canada Rouge flight’s impending takeoff, the report said.

The American Airlines crew then told the controller “they were executing a pilot-initiated go-around,” about 53 seconds after controller confirmed the Air Canada Rouge flight was to fly toward the runway.

At that point, American Airlines was on a 2.56-mile final descent and was given instructions to turn right and to contact the Tampa Departure Control for re-sequencing, the NTSB report said.

The estimated closest proximity of the two planes was 0.6 miles horizontally at the same altitude, according to the report.

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport president and CEO Rick Piccolo declined comment about the incident to the Herald earlier this month.

“It’s an air traffic issue, we have no jurisdiction,” he said at the time, referring questions to the NTSB, the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.