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FAA investigating Atlanta air traffic controller joke | News

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FAA investigating Atlanta air traffic controller joke

ATLANTA -- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a potentially dangerous mishap with a plane arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

According to the FAA, the pilot of Delta Flight 630 was just over 1,000 feet off the ground and preparing to land a Boeing 777 from Detroit on Wednesday when an air traffic controller told them not to land and instead circle the airport. Seconds later, the air traffic controller said, "I'm kidding, Delta 630. After you land, I've got no one behind you. Expect to exit right."

While the controller quickly told the pilot to disregard his earlier instructions as a joke, the pilot had already called off the landing.

Using radar information available online to track Flight 630, 11Alive found the plane took off from Detroit around 3 p.m. Atlanta time and quickly ascended to 40,000 feet, where it stayed for about an hour and a half.


At 4:25 p.m., the plane began its descent. Fifteen minutes later, it had dropped to 9,000 feet -- roughly a mile and half off the ground.

At 4:45, the plane was just over a thousand feet off the ground and preparing to land when word from the tower forced the pilot to abruptly change course and circle the airport before safely the plane on his second approach.

The FAA would not discuss the incident on camera, but say they don't believe the pilot, the plane or passengers were ever in any danger.

They released a prepared statement, saying "The FAA is investigating air traffic communications with Delta 630, a Boeing 777 aircraft on approach to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport."

The FAA said it would not discuss any potential discipline until the investigation is complete.