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Near Miss at Boston Logan Airport: Pilot’s Error Causes Conflict in the Skies

In a recent incident at Boston Logan International Airport, a near-miss between two aircraft sent shockwaves through the aviation community. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its final report, shedding light on the events that unfolded on that fateful day.

Pilot’s Error Leads to “Conflict” in the Skies

On Feb. 27, a Hop-A-Jet charter jet took off from Boston Logan International Airport without proper authorization, leading to a dangerous “conflict” with a JetBlue flight that had already been cleared to land on an intersecting runway. The incident was captured by the cockpit video of the JetBlue flight, showing the Hop-A-Jet aircraft crossing the runway just ahead of them.

A Misunderstood Instruction

According to the NTSB report, the Boston tower controller had instructed the pilot of the charter flight to “line up and wait” on the runway while JetBlue Flight 206 was given clearance to land. However, the flight crew of HPJ280 misinterpreted the instruction and began the takeoff roll instead, putting both aircraft in a perilous situation.

Critical Moments during the “Go-Around”

As the JetBlue flight approached the intersection, the pilot initiated a “go-around,” a standard procedure where an arriving aircraft aborts its landing and is re-sequenced for a safe approach. The closest proximity between the two planes occurred when the JetBlue flight was just 30 feet above the ground, and both runways intersected.

Hop-A-Jet Pilot’s Explanation

The captain of the Hop-A-Jet flight later stated that he heard the air traffic controllers telling him to “line up and wait” before takeoff. He believed they were cleared for takeoff, but it was a misunderstanding that had serious consequences.

Factors at Play

The NTSB investigation revealed that the pilot cited the cold temperature in Boston as a possible factor affecting his judgment. He mentioned not feeling completely well and having a stuffed nose at the time of the incident. While these may have been contributing factors, the NTSB made it clear that following air traffic control instructions is of utmost importance, regardless of any external circumstances.

Post-Incident Communication

Following the incident, the Hop-A-Jet flight landed safely at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where the company is headquartered. The Boston tower informed them of their unauthorized takeoff, and the severity of the situation became apparent. The JetBlue plane was forced to execute a go-around to avoid any potential collision, passing dangerously close to the Hop-A-Jet aircraft.

Accountability and Apology

In a statement to the NTSB, Hop-A-Jet’s Captain Alvaro Donado, aged 63, expressed his regrets for the incident. He apologized for the misunderstanding and took full responsibility for the unauthorized takeoff. He mentioned that he could not understand what happened during the clearance, but he acknowledged his lapse in judgment and accepted the consequences.

Safety Measures and Future Lessons

Aviation authorities and airlines stress the significance of adherence to protocols and the need for clear communication between pilots and air traffic controllers. The incident highlights the importance of maintaining proper protocols and training to prevent such near-miss situations in the future.


The near-miss incident at Boston Logan International Airport serves as a powerful reminder of the critical nature of aviation safety. The NTSB’s final report underscores the need for precision and attentiveness in the skies. The aviation community must take this incident as a learning opportunity to prevent any such occurrences in the future, ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew members aboard the flights.

H2: A Wake-up Call for Aviation Safety

In a near-miss incident at Boston Logan International Airport, an unauthorized takeoff by a Hop-A-Jet charter jet resulted in a dangerous conflict with a JetBlue flight. The NTSB’s report shed light on the miscommunication and lapses that led to this perilous situation. Aviation authorities emphasize the need for adherence to safety protocols and proper communication to avoid such incidents in the future. The incident stands as a crucial reminder that safety must always be the top priority in the skies.

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