Reacting to last summer’s crash of Comair Flight 5191 at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky.–as well as countless runway incursions and serious on-airport incidents that have occurred across the U.S. in recent years–the FAA has launched an effort to speed the testing and certification of surface moving maps for the flight deck.
Comair Flight 191
In one of its longest investigations into a general aviation accident, the NTSB released its final report last month on the Oct. 10, 2000, crash of a Canadian-registered Bombardier Challenger 604 during a manufacturer’s test flight at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The two pilots and flight engineer died as a result of injuries sustained from the accident.
Responding to an NTSB reiteration for cockpit voice recorder (CVR) installations in all new turbine-powered aircraft, the National Air Transportation Association said it cannot support the recommendations because there has been no cost-benefit analysis or assessment of the impact on small business.
Cessna Citation 500, Houston, Nov. 5, 2005– The commercial pilot, owner of the airplane, and a passenger, a maintenance technician, were killed when control of Citation N505K was lost on takeoff from William P. Hobby Airport. The pilot had filed an instrument flight plan for the local maintenance test flight, in VFR conditions.
Luckily for my passengers, aircraft and me, the only times I’ve experienced a runway excursion have been during training. On each occasion, the results were predictable, even in the most sophisticated aircraft simulator. A loss of directional control sends the aircraft sliding across shamrock-green video scenery and careening harmlessly through runway lights and signs, trees and anything else in the way.
The recently released NTSB preliminary report on the February 2 crash of a Bombardier Challenger 600 at New Jersey’s Teterboro (TEB) Airport was all too brief, considering the stir the spectacular, though nonfatal, accident caused in the national media. On takeoff, Challenger N370V not only slid off the end of Runway 6 but went through the airport fence and hurtled across busy six-lane U.S.
As Comair Flight 5191 accelerated down an unlit runway into the predawn darkness at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., last August 27, the captain–the nonflying pilot–called out “V one, rotate” followed by “whoa” and then an expletive.
At last report Comair first officer James Polehinke still didn’t recall his abrupt and tragic entry into the ranks of this year’s newsmakers. Unfortunately for the 44-year-old resident of Margate, Fla., his lack of memory hasn’t made the knowledge that 49 other people died in the crumpled and charred hulk of the Bombardier CRJ100 he piloted any less painful.
An NTSB safety recommendation issued last week that calls for airline pilots to cross-check heading references ends with a notation from Safety Board member Kathryn O’Leary Higgins that highlights its failure to include Part 91 and Part 135 operators.
Comair’s operating procedures did not include any written guidance specific to runway identification for takeoff before Flight 5191 crashed and burned in a field off Lexington Blue Grass Airport on August 27, despite a 1989 NTSB recommendation that called for the FAA to ensure that the manuals of all Part 121 operators require runway cross checks, said the Board in a new safety recommendation to the FAA last month.