JetBlue flight in near-miss with LearJet after pilot took off without clearance

JetBlue Learjet near miss NTSB

On February 27, 2023, the pilot of a private jet aircraft took off from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) without clearance and almost caused a collision with a landing JetBlue flight.  

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the pilot of the LearJet 60, operated by charter firm Hop-a-Jet, was instructed by an airport controller to line up and wait (LUAW) on runway 9. 

Around the same time, a JetBlue Embraer ERJ 190-100 arriving from Nashville, had been given clearance to land on runway 4R. Runways 4R and 9 are intersecting. 

Despite the flight crew of the LearJet reading back the controller’s instructions to LUAW, they began the take-off roll instead. 

The airport surface detection equipment, model X (ASDE-X) then alerted, and the controller immediately issued go-around instructions to the landing Embraer.  

The JetBlue first officer managed to initiate a go-around moments before reaching the area where the runways cross. 

In a photo released by the NTSB taken from the Embraer cockpit, the LearJet can be seen in the near distance taking off in front of the landing plane.  

The closest proximity between the two airplanes occurred when the JetBlue flight was about 30 feet (9 meters) above ground level.

The LearJet pilot told the NTSB that he heard the LUAW instruction and “probably responded to the clearance, but in his mind, they were cleared for take-off”. 

“I cannot understand what happened to me during the clearance, the only thing that comes to my mind is that the cold temperature in Boston affected me, I was not feeling completely well and had a stuffed nose,” the LearJet pilot explained. 

The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the incident was that the “Hop-a-Jet flight crew taking off without a take-off clearance”. 

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