Controller error is suspect in a near-miss in clear weather at the Gulfport/Biloxi International airport the afternoon of 19 June when an Expressjet Embraer ERJ-145 with 50 passengers and three crew destined for Houston came within 91m (300ft) horizontally of colliding with a Cessna 172 on a training flight.

According to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report issued on 27 June, the Gulfport tower local controller, who was simultaneously handling ground control, clearance delivery, flight data and controller-in-charge positions, cleared ExpressJet flight 2555 for takeoff on Runway 14 six seconds after clearing the Cessna to takeoff on Runway 18, which converges with but does not physically cross Runway 14. Straight-out flight paths from the two runways do cross, however.

Once airborne, the NTSB says the two aircraft passed within 91m laterally and 0m vertically of each other.

ExpressJet is a subsidiary of US regional operator SkyWest.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news