A plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama and Joe Biden’s wife Jill Biden was forced to abort a landing and circle Andrews Air Force Base after an air traffic controller allowed the VIP plane to get too close to a large cargo plane.
The trouble started as the plane carrying Obama and Biden arrived from New York. Controllers knew the plane was high priority, but ordered the plane to do a series of maneuvers to create more space between it and the cargo plane. As the First Lady’s plane approached the runway, though, the large cargo plane remained on the runway.
FAA rules require planes to remain 5 miles apart to ensure safety. Due to an error at a regional airport, the two planes in today’s incident got within 3 miles of each other. That’s too close. That said, members of the First Lady’s staff were not even aware that anything out of the ordinary was occurring.
The incident comes at an especially bad time for the FAA. Over the past couple of weeks, numerous reports have emerged of air traffic controllers falling asleep while on duty. Just yesterday, a controller was fired after he accidentally streamed audio from a movie to all aircraft in the surrounding area.