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NTSB probe under way for plane collision at JFK Airport

April 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The National Transportation Safety Board is reviewing the flight recorders from both planes involved in Monday's wingtip collision of a super jumbo jet and a commuter jet at a New York airport.

On a dark, rainy New York night an Air France Airbus A380 clipped the tail of a Delta regional jet, sending the 66 passengers spinning.

No one was hurt, but the accident has raised concern over the safety of large planes at the nation's airports.

"If the plane had an accident, I think I'd be scared of flying forever," said Torrance resident Katreena Dotson.

The Airbus A380 is 8 stories high and has a wingspan about the size of a football field. It's so big that Los Angeles International Airport had to widen runways and re-designed procedures back in 2007 so it would fit.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted JFK International Airport a special waiver to allow it there, even though the runway isn't as wide as recommended. Yet some pilots question whether it's simply too large for airports built decades ago.

"Hopefully this is a little bit of a wake-up call before somebody is killed," said former pilot J.P. Tristandi. "This is a huge aircraft and it shows you can't operate it on taxiways, runways that are built for aircraft much smaller."

But pilot Michael Barr said the size of the plane is irrelevant. Sources tell ABC News that the regional pilot possibly stopped short to avoid hitting a truck passing in front. At that same moment, Barr says the Airbus pilot made a human error.

"Ultimately it's up to the crew," said Barr. "He has to make sure when he sees another aircraft out there he has room to get around it. It's just like parking your car. You're not going to pull into a parking lot that you don't have room."

Most at LAX aren't concerned about this happening again.

"I just think it was like a car accident. It was like a fender bender in a big way," said Kathy Lindbergh of Yorba Linda.

"People got to fly, you know. It's unfortunate and things do happen, but I mean it doesn't stop people from getting in the car every day from other accidents that happen daily," said Matt Timmons of Los Angeles.

"This is a one in a million event," said Barr.

The chance of dying on a flight is one in 14 million. That makes it 23 times safer than driving.

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