[Fox Business] Private jet took off without permission, leading to close call with JetBlue flight: NTSB

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The National Transportation Safety Board said in a final report released Thursday that the pilot of a charter jet took off from Boston Logan International Airport earlier this year without authorization, resulting in a “conflict” with a JetBlue flight that had been given clearance to land on an intersecting runway.

The incident occurred on Feb. 27, with a screen grab from JetBlue cockpit video showing the moment the Hop-A-Jet aircraft crossed the runway right in front of the flight. 

The Boston tower controller instructed the pilot of the charter flight to line up and wait on the runway while JetBlue Flight 206 had been cleared to land. 

“HPJ280’s flight crew read back the controller’s instructions to [line up and wait], however they began the takeoff-roll instead,” the report said. “The airport surface detection equipment, model X (ASDE-X) alerted, and the controller issued go-around instructions to JBU206.”

FAA INVESTIGATING AFTER CLOSE CALL BETWEEN ALLEGIANT AIR FLIGHT, PRIVATE JET IN FLORIDA

The JetBlue flight initiated a “go-around” before reaching the intersection, and the closest proximity between both planes occurred when the JetBlue flight was about 30 feet off the ground and close to where both runways intersected. A go‐around is a flight procedure in which an arriving aircraft aborts its landing procedure and is resequenced for arrival. 

The captain of the Hop-A-Jet flight said that he heard air traffic controllers tell him to line up and wait before takeoff. 

The NTSB said he explained that “‘he probably responded to the clearance, but in his mind, they were cleared for takeoff.'” 

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They performed the takeoff at 6:55 local time and, during cruise, received a message from air traffic controllers providing them with a phone number to call upon landing. 

After landing at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where Hop-A-Jet is headquartered, the Boston tower informed them they had taken off without permission and caused the JetBlue plane that was cleared to land to execute the go-around, passing approximately 400 feet above them.

The Hop-A-Jet plane was being operated by the co-pilot, 23, who told investigators that his captain told him they were cleared to take off.

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“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 Hop-A-Jet captain Alvaro Donado, 63, said in a statement to the NTSB, per The Associated Press. “My apologies.”

Hop-A-Jet told FOX Business it had no comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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