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Jets’ Close Encounter Investigated

April 29, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into why an air traffic controller let two passenger jets flying near Philadelphia approach closer to one another than regulations allow.

FAA spokesman William Shumann said Wednesday the two aircraft _ United Airlines flight 1020 and TWA flight 268, both bound for airports in the New York area _ came closer than regulations allow just before 6 p.m. Saturday.

The two planes, following the same flight path at an altitude of about 23,000 feet, were 4.2 miles apart horizontally and 800 feet apart vertically, Shumann said. FAA rules state that under 29,000 feet, they should have been either five miles apart horizontally or 1,000 feet vertically.

FAA regulations require investigators to look into such errors by air traffic controllers.

``The passengers on the two airplanes were never in any danger,″ Shumann said.

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