Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More on Comair Crash: The Missing Controller


This story just keeps getting more bizarre, absurd even. Turns out the pilots had boarded and started up the wrong plane earlier that morning--fortunately, a member of the ground-crew pointed out their mistake. It appears operations had grown lax at the Lexington airport. Also, word comes today that a pilot turned onto the wrong runway in Lexington back in 1993--but on that occasion, an air control officer caught the mistake and disaster was averted. A lot of investigating remains to be done...

It turns out the FAA was in violation of its own rules when it allowed a single air control officer to man the tower at Lexington's airport. Guidelines state clearly that two individuals must be present--one to handle air control and another to handle radar. A second body might have prevented Sunday's fatal crash--which left all but one passenger dead--because the air traffic officer on duty, after clearing the plane for takeoff, turned his back to attend to administrative duties. Had he not done so, or had a second person been there to keep an eye on the wayward flight, someone might have noticed the plane turn on to the wrong runway. There's no guarantee of course, but this incident highlights ineptness in many places--in the cockpit, perhaps in the tower, but most definitely in the application of federal guidelines. Not surprisingly, two individuals now occupy the tower in Lexington.


Blogger Evan said...

...and in other places now, including Savannah.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Here's a shocker for you. I was reading an article about the lone survivor, First Officer James Polehinke, who is currently in a coma but is steadily improving at the University of Kentucky Hospital. The article noted that this was not his first brush with death. In 1999, his wife shot him in the stomach with a Smith & Wesson 9mm semiautomatic over a domestic dispute in which he told her something along the lines of, "I'm gonna kill you." I'm just waiting to see what this guy looks like now.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Wow. Great update. It appears that the pilot turned the plane onto the wrong runway, then handed controls over to Polehinke.

8:12 PM  

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