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Pilots in fatal crash missed notices from airport

Mon., July 23, 2007

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The pilots in a jet crash last summer that killed 49 people left the terminal without receiving four important airport advisories, including one that said the normal taxiway to the main runway was closed, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The four updates – called Notices to Airmen – were missing from the flight dispatch paperwork the pilots received from Comair, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported, citing information the Air Line Pilots Association submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Comair relies on prerecorded messages to get advisories from the Blue Grass Airport, but the taxiway closing wasn’t recorded that day. Randy Harris, president of the local National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said he didn’t know why the notice was omitted.

Comair Flight 5191 crashed shortly after mistakenly taking off from the general aviation runway, killing all people aboard but one. The plane taxied to the wrong runway in the pre-dawn darkness.

Flight data recordings indicated the pilots thought they were taking off from the main runway and may have been confused by the alternate route.

The NTSB will release its findings Thursday in Washington.


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