Airplanes Collide: Lost in The Fog

Two airliners collide on a Detroit runway, killing eight and raising alarms about on-the-ground safety at U.S. airports

Despite justifiable worries about close calls in the sky, the collision of two Northwest airliners at Detroit's Metro Airport last week suggests that airplane passengers face grave danger even on the ground. The accident, in which eight people were killed and 24 injured, raised a life-and-death question: If runways are so foggy that a pilot can miss two turns and wind up in the path of a plane rolling toward takeoff, why is the airport still open?

Landings had been banned at Metro because of the fog, but takeoffs were allowed to continue because visibility on the runways was declared to...

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