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April 20th, 2011
01:13 AM ET

Video: First lady plane incident 'ridiculous'

Editor's note: Retired airline pilot Jim Tilmon weighs in on the incident with Michelle Obama's plane and errors in the FAA system.

Related: Plane carrying first lady aborts landing


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    People, this event was not good. Don't twist this into an ideological rant. That goes for both sides. I have seen how this works, first hand, time and time again as Bill and Hillary came and went from their NY house they purchased in the late '90s.

    NOTHING takes off or lands when the plane is process of landing. The air traffic was always cleared for miles around. We do not want a plane load of undesireables on the tarmac as Air Force One lands. That's just how it is. The SOPs are not quite as stringent for the spouse, just every bit as tight. The air space is supposed to be cleared. Period.

    Someone mentioned that the statement regarding spacing was smoke. It was, but not for the reason that was cited. Just last summer I was in Chicago preparing to leave Midway, on a beautiful clear day. No flight delays. Suddenly, our flight and seemingly everything else was delayed 45 minutes or more. I noticed all traffic had stopped, as I had nothing better to do while waiting than watch planes take off and land.

    Then I noticed that activity had stopped. No planes were moving on taxiways. No luggage vehicles were moving. Nothing. Nothing was moving anywhere. It was odd. After some 20 minutes of this, Air Force One dropped out of the sky and landed. Michelle and the kids were preparing to go on a vacation to somewhere, I forget. Barry wasn't going. They were picking up family and friends.

    After the plane landed. No activity was maintained. Nothing. Nothing moved anywhere. The plane took off and was gone. Nothing moved anywhere. Nothing It took another 15-20 minutes before activity resumed, which means that her plane had left the airspace and could make emergency landings elsewhere.

    In other words, for a military cargo plane to be that close to the First Lady's plane is a security breach of the highest magnitude

    April 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  2. Don Cates

    The reporting on this event has been unbelievably over-hyped. Mr. Tom Foreman suggested that the 1st Lady's plane was approaching at 500 mph, a retired airline pilot could not believe that such a mistake was allowed to happen. First it is the pilot in command is responsibility to ensure the safety of the flight. I can assert with great certainty that the pilot knew his position relative to the C17 and that he failed to take action, slowing down or requesting vectors for spacing, etc. to maintain adequate separation. Making turns on final is not an uncommon remedy and a go around is always an option. My guess is that the go around was initiated at a position which could more appropriately be classified as an aborted/missed approach as opposed to an aborted landing. Lastly, I would invite you to review the Aeronautical Information Manual, section 4 and FAA Order JO-7110-65T, section 5-5-4 to better understand the Pilots' and Controllers' responsibilities.

    April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  3. Chris

    This is a load of crap, airplanes abort landing EVERY SINGLE DAY for this exact reason, the only reason this incident is getting media coverage is because of a passenger who was aboard. A few years ago I was on a plane on approach into Austin Texas when my plane aborted landing and went around, where's my news story?

    It seems any number of ordinary citizens can be endangered by controller error but only when somebody on Capitol Hill is exposed to the same everyday hazard are the many flaws in the system brought to light, pathetic.

    April 20, 2011 at 2:07 am |