Near-miss flights: Mid-air close calls (1958)

United_Airlines_Flight_736_DC-7

In US skies – about 3 near misses a day

… 109 killed in 3 collisions since February 1 [1958]


In 1958, through May 19, there have been 3 major air collisions, all involving military planes:

February 1 – Military transport and Navy bomber, near Los Angeles. 48 killed.

April 21 – Civilian airliner and Air Force jet trainer, near Las Vegas. 49 killed. (See photo of United Airlines Flight 736 DC-7 wreckage above.)

May 20 – Civilian airliner and Air National Guard jet trainer, near Baltimore. 12 killed.


In 1957, latest period covered in detail by official reports, there were 971 near misses.

Of these:

256, or 1 in 4, were close shaves, with planes passing less than 100 feet apart.

884, or 9 in 10, occurred in “controlled” airspace, with each plane supposedly on a fixed, safe flight path.

400, or nearly 1 in 2, occurred near airports and control towers, while planes were arriving or departing.

536, or 55 percent, were reported by military pilots. 435 were reported by civil pilots, of whom 288 were airline pilots.

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