James Polehinke, copilot and sole survivor of last year’s crash of Comair Flight 5191 on takeoff from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Ky., filed a lawsuit last Friday against the U.S. government, the airport board, construction firm Tetra Tech, Jeppesen and airport employees.
A Fayette County (Kentucky) Circuit Court judge ruled last month that Comair may not sue Lexington Blue Grass Airport for the crash of a Bombardier CRJ200 that killed 49 people on August 27 last year. Judge James Ishmael ruled that, as part of the county government, the airport enjoys sovereign immunity and therefore doesn’t carry legal responsibility in the case.
An April 10 safety recommendation issued by the NTSB calls for the FAA to revise its policies related to air traffic controller work schedules to account for disruptive sleep patterns and the accumulation of so-called sleep debt. It also recommends the institution of a training program to educate controllers and schedulers about the incidence and effect of fatigue on performance.
Harry Combs, former head of Learjet and founder of AMR Combs, died in Wickenburg, Ariz., on December 23 at the age of 90. Long fascinated by the achievements and legacy of the Wright Brothers, Combs had participated in the December 17 centennial-of-flight activities at Kitty Hawk, N.C., less than a week before his death.
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.
The family of one of the victims of the August 27 crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, Ky., has amended its lawsuit to include charges that Bombardier failed to adequately protect passengers from flammable jet fuel in its design of the CRJ. The Fayette County coroner originally said the post-crash fire killed the 49 victims but later said autopsies determined that most had died from blunt force trauma.
Comair’s Cincinnati maintenance and repair facilities received FAA approval to perform third-party heavy maintenance on other airlines’ 50- and 70-seat Bombardier CRJs, making it one of nine Part 145 CRJ repair stations in the U.S. and potentially softening the blow of a major cut in Delta Connection flying.
Strong wind gusts from August 5 thunderstorms collapsed part of the roof of a new maintenance hangar under construction for Chautauqua Airlines at Louisville International Airport. None of the construction workers on the scene at the time sustained injuries. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 53 miles per hour at the airport at the time of the collapse.
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