April 10, 2010 (by Asif Shamim) - Two F-16s from the 112th FS flew higher than they were allowed over Southern Ohio and came close to a commercial flight, triggering a cockpit alarm in the commuter plane, authorities said Friday.
USAF F-16C block 42s #89-2106 & #89-2128 from the 112th FS fly over Southern Ohio on October 29th, 2009.
Flight 5202 an Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight, carrying 58 passengers & four crew was flying between Cleveland and Atlanta on Thursday when its two pilots saw the F-16s nearby at 10.00h local times, the airline said. This was deemed "a near-miss incident," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro.
Radar clearly showed the Air Guard F-16s were flying at 30,000 feet, when they were supposed to be at 29,000 feet, Molinaro said.
Flight 5202 was flying as planned at 30,000 feet, he said. The crew of the Atlantic Southeast CRJ-700 jet contacted air traffic controllers, who cleared them to climb to 36,000 feet as a precaution and continued with its existing flight plan.
The F-16s were on normal training flights, said Mark Wayda, Vice Chief of staff for the Columbus-based Guard. The Guard is investigating, he said. "It does appear they were above their ceiling". He continued to say the two F-16s came within 2,000 feet vertically and one mile horizontally of the Flight 5202.
A pilot does not often get outside the training area, Wayda said. If the investigation results warrant, procedures will be reviewed and the F-16 pilots involved could be retrained, he said.
"There are not many of these sort of near-miss incidents," he said.
Military aircraft usually are limited to a 29,000 foot operating ceiling, as higher altitudes are designated air space for commercial planes.