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Feb 29,2008
FAA investigates FedEx close call
by UPI

MEMPHIS - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a close call between two FedEx planes flying over Memphis.

The mistake occurred Feb. 21 as FedEx flights 527 and 257 were preparing for simultaneous takeoff on parallel runways, the Memphis Commercial Appeal said Thursday.

The newspaper said it appears both the pilot and air traffic controller believed the other had transposed numerals in the flight number. The mistake put flights 527 and 257 within 100 feet of each other vertically and less than a mile apart laterally.

The FAA requires that planes be separated by 1,000 feet and three miles.

"We had a pilot read-back error, which caused us to have an operational error," Memphis air traffic manager Bill Wertz told the newspaper. "We did our investigation and are providing training for the controller. FedEx has assured us that they are also taking appropriate steps."

The mistake is a Category A error, which is the FAA's most serious infraction.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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