Michelle Obama's
Airplane-Gate

First Lady Michelle Obama had a close call when her plane missed colliding with a military cargo jet by a distance that was too close for comfort, the National Transportation Safety Board announced.

Michelle Obama was in an airplane with Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, headed toward Andrews Air Base outside of Washington when it came within 2.94 miles of a military plane.

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden

That sounds like a safe enough distance, however federal regulations require five miles between planes to avoid "wake turbulence" -- especially when the plane ahead is larger than the one behind. The speed at which airplanes travel means they could easily travel over 2 miles in a very short amount of time.

The Federal Aviation Administration had first announced that the distance was at a safe distance and the planes were "never in any danger," however once they realized how close the two planes really were they were concerned.

Upon realizing this, the Andrews controllers instructed the plane carrying Michelle to turn to distance itself further from the 200-ton C17 military plane, however it didn't work and the planes continued to get closer. Can you imagine the stress level of those controllers?

The controllers then instructed Michelle's plane to abort landing and circle around until the military plane had cleared the runway. No word on if the First Lady knew what was going on during this time.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this incident and the FAA said they may have a supervisor stand over the controller when handling flights with the first lady or vice president, as they do on a regular basis with presidential flights.

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Comments

Comments on "Michelle Obama’s 'plane crash' was a really close call"

Velda September 07, 2011 | 8:49 PM

It is clear you guys know nothing about flying. Don't talk about stuff none of you really know about because you come out looking like a moron in the end.

Pilot April 26, 2011 | 12:32 PM

I have to agree with the commenters who found this story silly. Here's the situation. You are approaching the runway, and you realize the plane ahead might not have time to land, slow down, and turn off the runway. So you decide as a precaution to climb back up, circle around, and land. And this is a close call? How?

Skipper April 26, 2011 | 5:01 AM

You, lady, are a moron. 1) where's the "crash", 2) 2.94 miles IS nothing to worry about and I'd really like an explanation of the geometry where a turn away doesn't work, 3) maybe you should be asking why my tax dollars are supporting these two flying up to NYC to be on "The View". About the only thing you got right was the stress level of the controllers, knowing they were going to be crucified over this; certainly the pilots didn't give a s**t. BTW, been flying myself for 34+ years, ATP with 12,000 in DC-3s, DC-9s, B737s, F-16s and T-38s.

Ben2784 April 25, 2011 | 10:57 PM

Let me get this straight -- Air Traffic Controllers momentarily lost legal separation between two airplanes (something that happens multiple times every day), and you call it a "PLANE CRASH"? You have instantly and irrevocably lost all credibility as an information source, and your web site is now a source of much amusement and derision in the aviation community. Happy?

waldo April 25, 2011 | 7:50 PM

Much ado about nothing.

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