On May 2nd, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 operating flight WN-1322 from Houston to Baltimore was close to a collision with a news helicopter taking-off at the same time.
The Southwest 737 had been cleared for take-off from Hobby Airport’s runway 12R and had just rotated when the crew spotted a helicopter ahead and above them and took evasive action. The helicopter crew reacted as well and took a sharp right turn away from the runway.
Lynn Lunsford, FAA spokeswoman, said that the helicopter had been given clearance to takeoff from the south ramp in direction north. Instead, it took off to the south before turning north. The Southwest 737 was cleared to depart from runway 12R followed by a left turn to the north. As the helicopter approached the runway, it passed above and ahead of the Southwest aircraft.
Preliminary radar data suggest, that the helicopter was at 200 feet AGL, the 737 at 100 feet AGL with a minimum separation of 100 feet vertically and 125 feet laterally.