Houston Hobby Airport, a major airport in Texas, experienced a temporary shutdown of its airfield on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, after two private jets collided on the runway. The collision occurred around 3:30 p.m. local time, when a twin-engine Hawker H25B departed “without permission” and struck a twin-engine Cessna C510 that was landing on a nearby runway, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)1. No injuries were reported, but the incident caused flight delays and cancellations for hundreds of passengers.
The Details of the Collision
The FAA said that the Hawker H25B departed from Runway 22 at Hobby Airport “without permission” and collided with the Cessna C510 that was landing on Runway 13 Right1. The collision resulted in visible damage to both aircrafts, as well as debris scattered on the runway2. The number of passengers on board either aircraft has not been determined, the FAA said1.
The pilot of the Cessna C510 can be heard saying in an audio recording obtained by ABC133: “We just had a midair…you guys just cleared somebody to take off or land and we had a minor departure.” The pilot also said that he and his passenger were “OK” and that they had “no injuries”.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the incident. A team of six investigators from the NTSB is expected to arrive at the scene on Wednesday4. The NTSB said that it will look into the factors that led to the collision, such as the communication between the pilots and the air traffic controllers, the weather conditions, and the maintenance records of the aircrafts4.
The Impact on the Airport Operations and Passengers
The collision caused Hobby Airport to issue a ground stop for all flights, meaning that no flights were allowed to take off or land at the airport until the debris was cleared and the runway was safe. The airport said in a post on X that it remained under a ground stop until around 7 p.m., when flight operations resumed.
However, the ground stop affected hundreds of flights and passengers, as some flights were diverted to other airports or states, while others were delayed or canceled. According to ABC133, about 130 flights were impacted by the incident. Some passengers were sent to Bush Intercontinental Airport nearby, while others had to wait for hours at Hobby Airport or book new flights3.
Some passengers expressed their frustration and confusion over the incident and its aftermath. Some even left their luggage behind rather than wait for news, video from inside Hobby Airport showed. Others said that they were grateful that no one was hurt and that they understood that safety was a priority.
The plane collision at Houston Hobby Airport was a rare and unfortunate event that disrupted the airport operations and affected hundreds of passengers. The incident is still under investigation by the FAA and the NTSB, who will determine the cause and responsibility of the collision. The incident also raises questions about the safety and regulation of private jets and energy drinks, as well as the communication and coordination between pilots and air traffic controllers.