Fallout from Comair Crash Continues


It’s been a year since a Comair crew tried to take off from the wrong runway in Lexington, Ky., and the co-pilot, who was the sole survivor, and the captain’s widow have filed suits against the FAA, the airport, and Jeppesen. Also, the NTSB, which in its final report on the crash last month faulted the pilots for failing to check their position before takeoff, this week issued safety recommendations (PDF) asking the FAA to revise procedures for pilots and controllers. The FAA should require flight crews to positively confirm and cross-check the airplane’s location at the assigned departure runway before crossing the hold-short line, the NTSB said. Also, controllers should not issue a takeoff clearance until after the airplane has crossed all intersecting runways, and controllers should refrain from performing administrative tasks, such as the traffic count, when moving aircraft are in the controller’s area of responsibility, the board said.

First Officer James Polehinke suffered extensive injuries in the crash. The lawsuits allege that the FAA should have had two controllers on duty instead of just one, that the airport didn’t do enough to clearly notify pilots of changes to taxiways during airport construction, and that Jeppesen was informed of the taxiway changes in June but didn’t issue new maps until late in August, after the accident.