NewEnglandKelly Eger and Sarah LaPorte Ostrander, Boston Tower

On September 15, 2014, Boston ATCT air traffic controller Kelly Eger was working the local west position and Sarah LaPorte Ostrander was training someone on ground control. The airport was beginning to back up with traffic because of the evening rush, so the controllers were working quickly and efficiently.

JetBlue 405 was not going to make the departure sequencing time, so a new one was coordinated. Because of this, the JetBlue aircraft had to be taken out of the sequence of aircraft awaiting takeoff. Eger decided to move the aircraft across runway 22R at runway 15L. She told the pilot to turn onto runway 15L and hold short of runway 22R.

Eger: JetBlue 405, Boston Tower, turn right on Runway 1-5 left and hold short of Runway 2-2 Right.

JBU405: Turn right on 1-5 Left, we’ll hold short of Runway 2-2 Right, JetBlue 405.

Eger: JetBlue 405, you have a release time of 4-8.

The pilot responded correctly, so she continued and cleared a United flight for takeoff. The United flight began its initial takeoff roll and was moving swiftly down the runway when Ostrander observed the JetBlue aircraft not stopping, putting it on a direct collision course with the United flight. With United picking up considerable speed due to takeoff, the planes were looking like they would be at the same spot on the runway at the same time. Ostrander quickly alerted Eger, who saw the incident at the same time, and Eger told JetBlue to stop.

Eger: And JetBlue 405 hold short of 2-2 Right, stop.

Eger: Stop.

JBU405: We’re stopped.

JetBlue stopped just before the ASDE-X alert went off in the control tower. Thanks to the teamwork and professionalism of Eger and Ostrander, United departed safely.

Listen to the highlights of this event.