FAA says changes cut risk of O'Hare collisions

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Air traffic control tower at Chicago's O'Hare Field

Air traffic control tower at Chicago’s O’Hare Field (AP photo)

CHICAGO (AP) – Federal aviation authorities say they’ve taken steps to eliminate the risk of midair collisions over two runways at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The new procedures were implemented after two near misses in 2011 involving planes landing and taking off from those runways. The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday said the changes in response include a “virtual intersection” system for the two runways designed to issue an automated warning if two planes are on course to cross paths.

A preliminary report released Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board says the planes in both incidents came within a few hundred feet of each other.

Among other changes, the two air traffic controllers responsible for the runways now sit beside each other so they can better communicate.

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