Delta Jet Forced To Reject Takeoff As Another Aircraft Crosses Taxiway

Delta flight 1482 from New Orleans to Salt Lake City was cancelled Friday evening after being told to reject takeoff when another aircraft crossed the taxiway. The Delta Airbus A321 was already accelerating down the runway for its takeoff roll.

This incident was brought forward by aviation watchdog JonNYC who points to discussion showing the plane’s acceleration and rapid stop, along with air traffic control audio from the incident.

Via @@keegan_tweets here’s air traffic control audio instructing the Delta aircraft to reject takeoff. When given instructions on coming back around to try again, the Delta pilot lets ATC know they’re first going to need to assess their brakes after coming to an abrupt halt.

Not only was this Delta flight cancelled, so too was the subsequent Salt Lake City – New York JFK redeye that was scheduled to operate with the same aircraft.

This follows several incidents, such as the near collision of a Southwest 737 and FedEx plane as the two prepared to takeoff and land from the same runway at the same time and the American Airlines Boeing 777 that crossed in front of a Delta 737 that was taking off. Both were near misses. Our air traffic control system for averting such disasters is broken and when pressed most stakeholders push their own agendas rather than advocating for real review and reform of a broken FAA Air Traffic Organization.

Update: An FAA spokesperson responds,

An air traffic controller cancelled the takeoff clearance for Delta Air Lines Flight 1482 after a Learjet landed at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and made a wrong turn onto a taxiway. The Learjet never crossed the hold short line. The controller cancelled the takeoff clearance for the Delta Airbus A321 out of an abundance of caution. This incident occurred around 7:45 p.m. local time on March 31.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Jake – after decelerating so quickly they may burn out their brakes, at a minimum they need to have those inspected but they may need to be replaced. It’s possible for the crew to time out while this is being addressed.

  2. A lot of these incidents haven’t been ATC’s fault, they’ve been pilots crossing runways without clearances.

  3. Jake, because the Captain can refuse to sail his ship from the harbor for almost any reason. Been that way for centuries, won’t be changing anytime in future.

  4. Fear not, citizens! Everything is under control.

  5. It doesn’t say how fast the Delta plane was going, but a high-speed rejected takeoff is a very serious and stressful event for both the pilots and the plane. If the plane has accelerated to anywhere near rotation speed, the pilots have only a split second to successfully reject the takeoff, and the chances of it becoming a tragic event are very real.

    There is a very good video from the 777 initial testing program that shows the rejected takeoff test. After the plane came to a stop, the brakes were literally glowing white hot and all the main landing gear tires tires blew out and started burning due to the heat. The plane was required to sit for several minutes to simulate the time required for the fire trucks to arrive. The pass/fail criteria was the plane not catching fire from the glowing undercarriage and burning tires.

  6. @Jake: Think of a car, use your brakes on a long downhill and you can burn them out. The energies involved with a jetliner are far greater, they heat up an awful lot faster. With a safety system like this you engineer for maximum performance, the brakes will be designed to go up to the traction limit of the tires. In an emergency stop that overheats them, so what? Better burned out brakes than a crash. Many safety systems are designed this way, to sacrifice themselves if need be.

  7. I was on the inbound flight yesterday from SLC to MSY with the same crew.
    The new terminal at MSY being across runway 11-29 has created a situation with any airplane wanting to use full length needing to cross it. They are in the process of adding a taxiway on the north side of the runway to allow full length takeoffs to not require a runway crossing before take off.

  8. I was on this flight… I swear we were near takeoff. We were slammed forward in our seats for a good jolt. Now we will be home 37 hours late because of this cancelled flight and poor communication from Delta!

  9. Is all this the result of the present administration bringing in a woke agenda?
    Making sure that every ethnic and social minority has a seat at the table.
    Experience and capability at ATC, Airlines, Government agencies, etc. mean nothing as long as every sliver of American society is represented. What a joke! Lives matter!

  10. My suggestion to Gary is to stick to hotels and credit cards. Our ATC system does need upgrades, no question, but ATC can’t control an airplane that doesn’t follow instructions. It is still, by far, better than any other country’s rules and regulations. To the person that doesn’t understand the amount of kinetic energy dissipated in a RTO (rejected take off) by the braking system, there is A LOT OF HEAT and vibrations dissipated within most of the aircraft’s systems. At my company, anything below 80 knots is usually considered a low speed rejection. USUALLY…but not always, the aircraft can taxi back and take off. The captain IS required to call dispatch and tell them what happened. The captain, first officer and dispatcher will determine if the plane can resume normal operations. The captain ALWAY has final authority. Between 80k and V1, the RTO is considered a high speed event. Significant forces come to play after the RTO. Usually, the flight will return to the gate as the aircraft usually needs a thorough inspection of the braking system. That’s NOT gonna happen quickly.

  11. Hate to be pedantic, but how do so many people not know the difference between brakes and breaks?

  12. @Win Whitmire – “Our ATC system does need upgrades, no question, but ATC can’t control an airplane that doesn’t follow instructions.”

    In several recent incidents ATC did fail, and where pilots don’t follow instructions that’s a systems problem as much as a pilot problem. How long did we ground the 737 MAX for? No U.S. part 135 commercial pilot would have had an issue in the Ethiopian or Lion Air MAXs. But we insist on systems with redundancy and that perform well when they fail. The FAA ATO doesn’t have that because it is bad at managing large scale technology projects and because the vagaries of congressional appropriation cycles make funding those projects difficult.

    The FAA should not be regulating *itself*. We absolutely need to separate service provider from regulator. Don’t want to spin off the ATO into a non-profit like NavCanada? Fine, put it in a separate federal agency. But the non-profit model would allow for issuing bonds to fund improvements.

  13. Gary,
    Just STOP with the nonsense that any US pilot could have handled what the MAX was doing because you simply do not know.
    Some US airlines had the second sensor which would have indicated there was wrong data but not all.
    Boeing did not train ANY pilots on the presence of MAX, including US carrier pilots.

    and Boeing sells planes around the world and the FAA is responsible for certifying them in a process that is recognized around the world. If Boeing doesn’t think that 3rd world pilots are capable of operating its planes – as designed and sold – then Boeing needs to make a disclaimer to that effect and then stop selling its planes until it can determine that airlines are fully capable of operating them.

    ATC has made mistakes and pilots have caught it but if you actually counted the number of runway incidents, it has indeed largely been because of pilots not following directions.

    And you can argue all you want that the FAA should not be regulating itself but you clearly don’t understand that the FAA is complex and has different parts that are responsible for different functions.

    And the NTSB actually IS the transportation oversight agency ON TOP OF THE DOT inspector general, both of which have made recommendations regarding the FAA in the past.

  14. We leave far too much to human decisions. It’s not difficult to program hard stops into airplane ground systems. When we say ATC is broken it’s really so much more than that. Fix systems to use available technology rather than 50+ year old tech

  15. I had a similar incident ORD-BOS on AA2293 this Tuesday (3/28) – a smaller plane crossed my taxiing B737-800 and we slammed brakes. Captain didn’t say a word and we went on to fly.

  16. @Ivan_H perhaps before you start slinging the same, tired BS you should take the time to learn what’s happening and stop blaming brown people for everything you think is wrong with your world. It’s not a good look.

    This situation has been kicked down the road for over 30 years by politicians who are more concerned about their political futures than by investing in the infrastructure we need to be competitive and keep our citizens safe. This is not a red state-blue state thing. This is a thing perpetrated by politicians on people like you that believe what you hear and don’t bother to look any deeper than a sound bite.

    There is no one thing causing the current state. It is a confluence of:

    1. Understaffed ATC centers
    2. Obsolete collision avoidance and traffic management technology
    3. Undertrained pilots
    4. Politicians doing what’s politically advantageous, not what’s right
    5. Human error

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