FAA Investigates Near Collision in Hawaii

Unreported ATC error sparks veteran supervisor’s retirement.

A veteran air traffic control manager has retired in the wake of an FAA probe into an unreported error that triggered a near collision between a Japan Airlines 767 and a UPS MD11 in January.

The two aircraft were approximately 15 miles out on approach to land at Honolulu International Airport when a rookie controller put them on a collision course, one that was averted thanks to TCAS warnings issued in both cockpits. At one point during the incident, the aircraft, flying with no altitude separation, came within 1.5 miles of each other.

The FAA, however, only learned about the event after the UPS crew filed a report with the NTSB, according to an article by Hawaii News Now. Supervisors allege they were told not to report the incident to the mainland by Bob Rabideau, a 42-year FAA veteran responsible for overseeing more than 150 employees on the island of Honolulu and Maui.

While Rabideau denies wrongdoing, he was placed on administrative leave in late February and moved to retire the following week.

The controller who made the error received full certification just a few weeks prior to the incident. According to the FAA’s probe, the controller had felt unprepared for certification and had requested further training.