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Bluegrass Airport Accident

Bluegrass Airport Accident

Comair Airplane Crashes at Bluegrass Airport, Lexington KY
8/28/2006

The questions are already being asked--by the media, by the investigators, and most importantly, by the families of the passengers--What caused the crash of the Comair Regional Jet yesterday? Airplane crashes such as this evoke questions, and sooner or later blame and finger-pointing. Meanwhile, the families of the victims of airplane crashes suffer--and wonder why. I cannot answer the greater question--why these people, why now, etc., but I can offer an objective look at how this might have happened.

First, the Comair Regional Jet did use the shorter of the runways at the Lexington, Ky. airport. If it is true that the Comair aircraft as loaded would have needed 5,000 feet or more to become airborne, then that presents the obvious cause of the crash--not enough runway distance (time) to achieve the speed necessary for the wings to produce the lift required to allow this aircraft to achieve and to sustain flight. It's aerodynamics 101--without enough forward momentum, an airplane cannot get enough air flowing under and over the wing to produce lift.

But now comes the difficult part--why and how did this happen? An experienced aircraft accident investigator or aviation accident lawyer will look into the following:

1. The correct runway was not identified in the clearance issued by the tower.

2. The tower failed to observe and/or warn Comair flight 5191 it was on the wrong runway.

3. The correct runway was not clearly visible/identifiable to the flight crew.

4. The crew was unfamiliar with the airport and its runways.

5. The crew simply followed another aircraft onto what was one of two active runways.

6. The Comair training on this airport failed to point out that RWY 26 (3500' x 75') should never be utilized and its crews should always use RWY 22 (7001' x 150')

7. There was a mechanical problem that prevented the Comair Regional Jet from producing appropriate thrust and lift.

8. The runway was slick and the aircraft slid rather than gaining straight-ahead traction--both on its take-off roll and if it tried to stop.

9. The crew miscalculated its take-off numbers and erroneously thought the shorter runway would be long enough.

10. The crew was not correctly trained in aborted take-offs.

11. The crew was distracted and mistakenly took the wrong the runway.

These are some of the initial questions that need answers. No one knows right now where the investigation will lead--but in order to get to the "cause of the cause," all areas must be explored honestly and fully. In these matters, the airline and its insurers will be ahead of the victims' families in what they learn because the airline will be a party to the NTSB investigation, where as the victims' families will be denied a representative. Let's hope that the airlines don't make the victims families endure marathon litigation and wait for years for fair and just compensation for these terrible losses.

This tragedy has happened--now let's see to it that those responsible effect restitution quickly and fairly.

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