Cause of Jet Crash Announced a Year Later


The pilots of a jet that crashed last summer killing 49 people left the terminal without receiving four very important airport advisories, including one that said the normal taxiway to the main runway was closed. The four updates, called Notices to Airmen, were missing from the flight dispatch paperwork the pilots receive from Comair.

Comair relies on pre-recorded messages to get local advisories from Kentucky’s Blue Grass Airport, but the taxiway closing was not recorded on August 27, 2006, when Comair Flight 5191 crashed after mistakenly taking off from the general aviation runway killing all people aboard but one. The plane taxied down the wrong runway.

The pilots also did not receive information about the airport’s general aviation runway being limited to daytime use and about the distance-remaining lights on the airport’s main runway being out of service. The airplane crash happened in the pre-dawn darkness. Pilots assert that the current notice system is outdated and isn’t always readily available.

Each day, anywhere from 300-1,000 notices are issued across the nation and can contain anything from departure procedures to airport construction notices.