Safety Questions Raised

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As in all fatal crashes, questions have arisen about what could be done to prevent similar accidents in the future. USA Today cited hundreds of cases since the 1980s when pilots tried to take off or land on the wrong runways. Suggestions have ranged from installing better signage and runway markings, to requiring that controllers monitor aircraft movements. Capt. Terry McVenes, of the Air Line Pilots Association, told USA Today the union has been lobbying for better signs and lights for years. "For $8 a gallon for paint, you can solve a lot of problems," he said. Technology is available that would allow pilots to monitor their position, superimposed on an airport diagram displayed on the instrument panel (similar to the moving maps now increasingly common in new cars). Honeywell also has a system that provides aural alerts, telling the crew which runway they are lined up on. Pilots also can check the cockpit compass heading to ensure it agrees with the expected runway heading, but while many pilots make this part of their routine, it's not clear that it's included on pre-takeoff checklists. If it's shown that any passengers survived the impact but were killed by the fire, that will likely raise questions about aircraft design and safety features.

For more info:

KLEX airport diagram

KLEX airport Web site
USA Today graphic of taxi routes
NTSB investigation updates
Local continuing coverage: Louisville Courier-Journal, Lexington Herald-Leader
FAA Nov. 16 memo on tower staffing.