Comair Flight 5191

Mr. P

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Besides being an awful tragedy, I’d like to say, don’t pay attention to the media speculation on the cause.

I watched the reports all morning, heard and saw so many variations on facts I just couldn’t believe it. On the same channel I saw TWO different graphics with the crash scene being in two totally different places!

One thing I know about the media and aircraft crashes is, they don’t have a clue of what they speak.
 

Nienna

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Was this the one that crashed on the way from Cinci to Lexington? That isn't a very long flight... rotten luck to have crashed on such a short trip. :(
 
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Mr. P

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Was this the one that crashed on the way from Cinci to Lexington? That isn't a very long flight... rotten luck to have crashed on such a short trip. :(
No it was Lexington to Atlanta, this morning about 6:05am.
 

Nienna

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I just found out my husbnad's former manager was on that flight. :( He was only 46; he had a wife & 2 kids, a boy & a girl, aged 10 or 11, and about 14.
 

remie

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I live near Lexington and knew quite a few of the people on the flight. Very sad and hard to accept. The pilot turned down a runway that was much shorter than the main one he was supposed to be on.
 
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Mr. P

Mr. P

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I live near Lexington and knew quite a few of the people on the flight. Very sad and hard to accept. The pilot turned down a runway that was much shorter than the main one he was supposed to be on.
It is very Sad, remie. It’s very hard for me to accept what appears to have happened here.
It does appear they departed the wrong runway, an error that should never have happened. It will take the NTSB about a year to publish the official cause, but from what I’ve heard is on the black boxes (they’re really orange) the aviation professionals will know the cause much sooner.

BTW, the NTSB is giving a news brief at 12p today.
 

Ramapo

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:blowup: Air controller had back turned before Ky. crash
NTSB makes finding; FAA directive possible issue in accident that killed 49
The Associated Press


Updated: 9:29 p.m. ET Aug 29, 2006
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The lone air traffic controller on duty the morning Comair Flight 5181 crashed cleared the jet for takeoff, then turned his back to do some “administrative duties” as the aircraft veered down the wrong runway, a federal investigator said Tuesday.

The crash killed 49 people — everyone on board except first officer James Polehinke, who was in critical condition Tuesday.

The jet struggled to get airborne and crashed in a field after taking off Sunday from a 3,500-foot runway instead of an adjoining one that was twice as long. Experts said the plane needed at least 5,000 feet for takeoff.

The air traffic controller had an unobstructed view of the runways and had cleared the aircraft for takeoff from the longer runway, said National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman.

Then, “he turned his back to perform administrative duties,” Hersman said. “At that point, he was doing a traffic count.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged violating its own policies when it assigned only one controller to the airport tower that morning. The policy is outlined in a 2005 directive requiring that control tower observations and radar approach operations be handled separately.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the controller had to do his own job — keeping track of airplanes on the ground and in the air up to a few miles away — as well as radar duties.

Air traffic controllers say there should have been more than one person on duty at Lexington Blue Grass Airport's tower early Sunday morning when an airplane took off on the wrong runway and crashed, killing 49 people and critically injuring the first officer.

FAA wanted separate functions
Documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate that the Federal Aviation Administration wanted the control tower function separated from the radar function — in essence, requiring at least two controllers to staff an airport or a larger radar facility to take over radar duties.

At the Lexington Blue Grass Airport, tower controllers are responsible for aircraft on the ground and in the air a few miles from the airport.

Another controller in a separate location called a "tracon," for terminal radar approach control, handles traffic in a radius of about 35 to 58 miles and an altitude of 10,000 feet.

A Nov. 16, 2005, FAA memo says: "Operations may be combined in the tower (2 positions) or split between tower and tracon, so long as the radar function is separated from the tower function." The memo was signed by the FAA's air traffic manager for Lexington.

At the time of the accident, the controller at the Lexington Airport was doing both tasks, according to controllers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are involved in the investigation.


The FAA said Monday that it is scheduling a second controller to the Lexington airport tower during the weekend overnight shift. No reason was given for the change.

John Goglia, member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the FAA must have added a controller to help prevent such accidents. "The FAA must think so, because they took action," he said.

Would 2nd controller have helped?
Goglia said it's impossible to prove that another controller would have made a difference. "He might have seen it," Goglia said. "If it were daylight, he probably would have."

The accident happened about an hour before sunrise. The day after the fatal crash in Kentucky, a second controller was in the tower on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said two controllers are in the tower on weekdays but only one controller was scheduled for the weekend overnight shift because traffic was significantly lighter.

Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said there has been a net loss of 1,081 controllers in the last three years, according to the FAA's own figures. The numbers dropped from 15,386 in September 2003 to 14,305 in August 2006, due largely to a wave of retirements.

Many were hired as replacements for the controllers President Reagan fired in 1981 for striking the government illegally. Nearly half the current controllers are expected to retire in the next decade.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14574723/
 

Bonnie

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So what do you think Ramapo, is the FAA the cause of this accident?
A Family member is a pilot for comair who often flies that route, luckily he was home when it happened. He is preplexed as much as all of us, why would seasoned pilots take the wrong runway and not question the tower? Especially since I believe the runway they took was unlit?
 

Bonnie

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I live near Lexington and knew quite a few of the people on the flight. Very sad and hard to accept. The pilot turned down a runway that was much shorter than the main one he was supposed to be on.
Nienna, and Remie Im sorry to hear that.
 

Ramapo

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The pilots are to blame. There were enough "flags" such as no lights to make them question the situation.:dunno:
 
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Mr. P

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A Family member is a pilot for comair who often flies that route, luckily he was home when it happened. He is preplexed as much as all of us, why would seasoned pilots take the wrong runway and not question the tower? Especially since I believe the runway they took was unlit?
Yes, from what I have found the runway was unlit, and is noted as so indefinitely.
Your relative is perplexed? I’m perplexed and totally shocked, this accident should have never happened.

I want to read the CVR transcript. I think that will hold all of the answers.
 
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Don't assume
Developing an erroneous mindset and being unable to recognise reality is common and can be dangerous. There is only one defence

The questions that arise from the tragic Comair Bombardier CRJ200 take-off crash at Lexington are familiar ones. But the fact they are familiar does not mean they should be taken any less seriously.

Based on National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) information released so far the following information is established: the crew turned on to the wrong runway in the pre-dawn twilight, despite the fact that it was unlit, while the runway for which they had accepted take-off clearance was lit. Early in their take-off roll the pilots would have seen that they had crossed the fully lit main runway.

The following statement is based on two facts released by the NTSB, but at this stage it is still something of a projection of the little we know: the cockpit voice recorder reveals that one of the pilots commented - during the roll - that the runway was unlit. This may have signalled the slow dawning of uncertainty. But by the time the crew realised how drastically short the runway was it seems they decided the best chance of survival lay with getting airborne, even if that meant rolling across ground beyond the tarmac. That projection is based upon the NTSB statement that the flight data recorder was still showing aircraft acceleration when its recording stopped. But the timelines have not been reconciled yet, so nobody knows exactly where that point was.
More...

http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2006/09/05/Navigation/177/208798/Don't+assume+.html
 

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