It’s that time again…that’s right, it’s National Near Miss Day!
What, you’ve never heard of it? You must’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t been looking forward to its annual recurrence! Actually, to be honest with you, I’ve never heard of it either. While scrolling twitter, I saw a tweet from the U.S. Naval Institute, which said, “Today is National Near Miss Day.” Being the former Sailor and near-miss enthusiast that I am, I decided to look into it.
The tweet contained a rather familiar video showing an E-2C Hawkeye (a USN carrier-launched early warning/airborne radar aircraft) attempting to land on the USS Eisenhower when the arresting cable it hooked onto broke, causing the plane to run off the end of the ultra-short landing area on the left (port) side of the ship.
In carrier landings, military aircraft increase their throttle to full power at the point of landing so that if that plane misses the arresting cables (there are 4 of them), or it breaks, the plane has enough thrust to become airborne once again without falling off the edge of the ship into the drink (ocean). Given a successful landing (trap), once the plane is physically stopped, then the engines are lowered to idle.
Luckily, the E-2C Hawkeye had his power up. While the plane dips below the viewer’s visibility in the video, it still manages to recover and gain a positive rate of climb. Everyone survived – disaster averted!
How did National Miss Day start? It was created to commemorate the day a massive asteroid (4581 Asclepius) nearly hit the Earth in 1989, according to National Day Calendar.
Near misses are still going on. In November, 2022, two warships – the USS Monsen and USS Harpers Ferry (a DDG and LSD respectively) – nearly ran into each other head-on in San Diego Bay. Both ships immediately employed a port (left hand) turn maneuver to avoid each other.
Nuclear accidents – the scary stuff. According to atomicarchive.com, the United States has had numerous nuclear weapons accidents – referred to as “Broken Arrows” – since the 1950s. I would personally consider any nuclear accident that didn’t result in serious injury, death, or contamination a “near miss.”
Fun fact: To date, there have been six nuclear weapons “lost” that remain unrecovered, The National Interest reported.
If you’ve got an exciting story of a near miss, or celebrate near miss day yourself (I know I am from now on), drop us an e-mail or reach out on any of our social channels.