Incident: two aircraft, a step away from disaster in Minneapolis!

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Icelandair's Boeing 737-8 MAX and Delta's Boeing 737-900 were involved in a potentially catastrophic incident in Minneapolis. In specialist terms, what happened in Minneapolis is called – loss of track separation. For complete safety, aircraft must be directed so that there is a certain vertical and horizontal distance between them. In the Minneapolis case, this separation was lost, the two aircraft being much too close for the procedures being carried out.

On January 7, Delta flight DL1888, operating a Boeing 737-900 (N858DZ) from Cancun to Minneapolis, was on final alignment at runway 30L. The aircraft was cleared to land.

Icelandair flight FI656, operated by Boeing 737-8 MAX (TF-ICF) from Minneapolis to Keflavik, was cleared to line up runway 30L for take-off and ready for departure. At that time, the Delta aircraft was about 4 nm (7400 meters) away.

One minute later, the Icelandair aircraft was cleared for take-off and began taxiing down the runway. The Delta aircraft, on the other hand, had descended to 1200 feet (365 meters), about 1,3 nm (2400 meters) short of the runway threshold.

About 35 seconds after Iceland was cleared for takeoff, the tower instructed the Delta aircraft to abort the landing and turn left 30 degrees.

According to ADS-B and FAA radar data, the separation between the two planes was reduced to about 0,9 nm (1600 meters) horizontally and 300 feet (91 meters) vertically.

The Icelandair aircraft continued its flight to its destination without further incident. The Delta aircraft positioned itself for another approach to runway 30L and landed without further incident approximately 9 minutes after the miss.

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