TODAY

TODAY   |  June 21, 2013

FAA looks into near-miss by 2 planes over NYC

A Delta Boeing 747 cleared to land at Kennedy Airport missed an approach and ended up flying in the same direction as another jet leaving the runway at LaGuardia Airport, putting the aircrafts within several hundred feet of each other. The FAA is now investigating. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> meantime, the dangerously close call is a focus of an investigation by the federal aviation administration .

>> how did two planes loaded with passengers get so close to each other. think about it. 200 feet is about the distance of two basketball courts . it's like from the corner of our studio here just across the street there. it's incredibly close for two planes traveling at a great deal of speed.

>> let's get to tom costello. he covers aviation for us.

>> reporter: good morning. this happened in the busiest air space . they were at different altitudes but came as close as.4 of a mile horizontal and 200 feet vertical. they were headed in different directions but came very close to each other.

>> a close call in the skies over new york city as a delta boeing 747 clear to land at kennedy airport missed an approach and for a short time ended up flying in the same direction as a shuttle american 170 regional jet leaving a run way. the planes came within 200 feet of each other in the air before both landing safely. in an audio transmission from the control tower , you can hear air traffic controllers warning one of the pilots.

>> 172 heavy, are you turning?

>> yes, sir, we're almost at 040 now.

>> delta, 172, traffic 12:00 . 1400 feet, 1600 feet.

>> okay we got him on the fish finder here.

>> incident took place last week. it's not clear why the delta pilot made the decision not to land but the missed approach is regulated by specific procedures for pilots and controllers. the faa is releasing a statement saying the two aircraft were turning away from each other at the point where they lost the required separation.

>> reporter: delta airlines is cooperating with the investigation separately. this is big news for anybody that flies. the faa tells nbc news this morning that it's likely to relax some of the ban on using personal electronic devices at low altitudes. currently the faa requires passengers to keep their electronic devices shut off below 10,000 feet and an advisory panel is looking into whether it's time to revise that rule and allow people to use their electronic devices . the panel has until september to do it's work but we're told the faa will likely go along for allowing e-readers but probably not cell phones. at least not yet.

>>> tom costello. thank you very