US air safety officials are investigating a near miss between three aircraft near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
The US Federal Aviation Administration called the incident "a loss of the required separation".
It said bad weather and a switch of the landing runway had led to miscommunication between air traffic controllers and pilots.
The incident, first reported by the Washington Post, involved two regional jets taking off and one approaching the airport.
All three - Chautauqua Airlines 3071, Republic Airlines 3467, and Republic Airlines 3329 - are carriers for US Airways Express.
In a statement on its website, the FAA said said the loss of separation should not have occurred but that at no point were the three aircraft on a head to head course.
Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said in a press conference later that media "mischaracterised the incident and did not present a full account of what happened".
He stressed that the DOT and the FAA were investigating the incident and that a "well-trained controller at DCA immediately recognised the situation and worked quickly to fix it".
by Gretchen Kelly, Editor TravelMole US
Friday, August 3, 2012