Did I hear this right? In the first part of the tape, I hear tower saying something like “…onca, traffic off the departure end, climbing out of 500, heavy triple 7”. The GA responds with something, presumably its call sign, followed by “traffic IS in sight”. Tower: “Maintain visual separation, pass behind that aircraft”. Tower then tried to tell UA that the GA had them in sight and would pass behind. But by the time tower spoke to UA, immediately after talking to the GA, all hell had already broken loose. The Cessna (not Aeronca) was banking hard left (accoprding to AvHerald) and the UA had gotten a "strong TCAS", responded to it, and was trying to contact tower. In fact UA and tower stepped on each other.
I can imagine that the UA crew had higher priorities immediately after wheels up then scanning their TCAS displays for possible conflicting traffic, and didn't have time for tower’s instruction to the Cessna to even register on them before they heard their TCAS callout. Seems also like the Cessna was way way out of position, given that it was out over the bay when (as we hear later) their instruction was to “stay west of Hiway 101”. So how did tower let the Cessna get so far off course, and how could the Cessna pilot not realize where he was? “Visual separation” implies to me VFR, and to be out over the bay in the 28 departure track instead of “west of 101”….? And did the Cessna pilot really respond calmly “traffic IS in sight” when he was at that moment banking hard left apparently trying to get the hell out of the way of the 77?
Oh well, I’m not a pilot, just an interested bystander, so any comments would be appreciated.
Incidentally, I really loved the FOX news quote. Just further confirmation that their news reports rarely bear any relation to actual facts.