NTSB releases final report on Comair 5191, another dog and pony show

Jan 27, 2007
San Diego
In the NTSB's meeting on the crash of Comair 5191, the boardmembers stated that the difference between the hold short lines for the two runways was a mere 5 degrees for the controller's view from the tower cab. That was the horizontal difference.

Here is the FAA's airport diagram for LEX..

The approach ends of both rw 22 and 26 is 973' MSL and the control tower elevation is listed at 1091.
The control tower is 118' above the approach end of both runways 22 & 26. That is like looking out the window on the 11th floor of a building.

The hold short line for runway 26 was about 1020' from the control tower and runway 22 hold short line is about 1,550' away from the control tower. That is a big difference and adds to the 5 degree difference that the NTSB is claiming.

I went to Google Earth and put the cursor on the top of the tower at 116' to show the view the controller had of the hold short lines for both runways.

The NTSB final report is located at....


On page 20 under 1.10.2 Air Traffic Control it states that the controller began his employment with the FAA in October 1988 and he had been working as a full performance level since the mid 1990's. This means that he took as long as 7 years to be able to work the midnight shift on his own. It took me over a year to reach FPL status at my last facility because I couldn't get time on the position. My trainer was drunk once a week or was hung over and didn't like to train new controllers. This controller took 6-7 years to get signed off. What was his problem? See what an active duty FAA air traffic controller says about staffing and drug use at...


On page 21, CD told the investigators that he scanned Rwy 22 when he cleared 5191 for takeoff. When he scanned the runway he would have seen that 5191 wasn't at the runway and could have told him he was at the wrong runway. Or the controller should have seen that 5191 was so far away from the active runway that he should have watched 5191 and scanned the runway again as 5191 was taking the correct runway, which, of course, he never did. Originally, CD told investigators that he saw 5191 on runway 22 then later changed his testimony saying he never saw 5191 on the runway.

Also on page 21, The final report says that there was a radio playing the in background during this accident, but added that radios and even television sets are allowed in tower cabs if they are not determined to be a distraction. You can hear the radio blaring in the background when CD calls center for the release of 5191. Could he not hear the crash because of the radio blaring and that is the reason for the delay in notifying fire equipment after the crash?

On page 23, under Lexington Air Traffic Control Scheduling in the fourth paragraph, it states that The LEX position logs for January 1 through March31, 2006, showed that the midnight shift was staffed with two controllers for 36 of the 90 days covered by the logs.

When I worked and both Long Beach (LGB) and Mongomery (MYF) towers, we used to leave the tower and go home to smoke dope while we were still signed on the shift log and the position logs. The remaining controller would sign us off at the end of our shifts.

The FAA knew about the "early shoves" and all that had to do to stop it was to pull the tapes and see that one controller was working all the positions in the tower when they was supposed to be three or four controllers in the tower. Or they could have driven by the parking lot and seen only one vehicle parked in front of the tower. So how do we know that LEX had two controllers in the tower on those 36 days?

On page 32, it states that the controller took a drug and alcohol test at 1330 hours on the day of the accident.

On page 32 footnote 107 states...

According to the FAA drug testing project manager, drug and alcohol testing is mandatory after any fatal accident, and the testing should be complete within 8 hours of the accident.

CD was given the test 7 1/2 hours after the accident, just under the wire. If there was any alcohol involved, waiting 7 1/2 hours would insure a negative result unless CD was legally drunk at the time of the crash.


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