Federal air safety officials are investigating a near midair collision last month between a commercial airliner and two Air Force C-17s about 80 miles southeast of New York. Several minutes after departing New York’s JFK International Airport, the cockpit proximity alarm sounded aboard an American Airlines 777, with FAA air traffic controllers on Long Island ordering immediate evasive action by all three aircraft during the Jan. 20 incident, according to a National Transportation Safety Board release. “Radar data indicate that the aircraft came within a mile of each other at their closest point,” it reads. This means that the aircraft may have averted collision by only a few seconds at typical cruising speeds. The commercial airliner, AA flight 951, had just changed course to the southeast en route to Sao Paulo, reports the New York Daily News. The C-17s, bound for JB McGuire N.J., were on a steady course to the northwest.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.