Michelle Obama's Airplane Has Close Call With Nearby Cargo Jet
A close call involving First Lady Michelle Obama's plane is creating new worries about air safety.
"I have got to tell you, this is not making me feel any better. I don't want to get on a plane, I'm getting back on my bus," said Whoopi Goldberg on The View.
The Washington Post headline reads, "Jet with first lady escapes close call." While the New York Post calls it "Mid-air 'chelle Shock."
The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating why air traffic controllers allowed the First Lady's jet to come too close to a military cargo plane in the first place.
It's just the latest problem for air traffic controllers, who've already come under fire for recent incidents involving falling asleep on the job.
The close call happened after Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the Vice President's wife, were returning to Washington after an appearance on The View.
"I believe there was potential for disaster right there," said aviation expert John Lucich.
Mrs. Obama's 737 jet was preparing to land at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington and was following a military cargo plane. Her plane was only three miles away from the cargo jet instead of five miles, as required by FAA rules.
"Had that happened, and the controller not caught it, those airplanes could have collided if Michelle Obama's airplane had caught up," said Lucich.
In just-released audio, the First Lady's pilot asks for permission to slow down.
The military cargo plane landed, air traffic controllers ordered Mrs. Obama's plane to abort its landing and go around the airport again because the cargo plane wasn't off the runway yet.
The FAA says, "The Boeing 737 landed safely after executing the go around. The aircraft were never in any danger."
President Obama talked about air traffic controllers last week after a series of embarrassing incidents involving falling asleep on the job: "The fact is, when you're responsible for the lives and safety of people up in the air, you better do your job."
Just last week the head of operations for the FAA resigned following the rash of reports of sleeping air traffic controllers.