Comair Flight 5191 (Lexington, Ky. - Atlanta) crashed on takeoff: 49 dead, 1 survivor. (Updated)
Sunday, August 27, 2006 12:00PM
Last updated 10 years ago.
A Comair-operated Bombardier CRJ100 (d/b/a Delta Connection) departing Lexington, Kentucky crashed less than a mile beyond the runway at 6:07am EDT Sunday morning. 49 people died. The first officer was the sole survivor and he is listed in critical condition at the University of Kentucky hospital.
Blue Grass Airport (Lexington, KY) is equipped with two runways. 04/22 is 7000ft x 150ft and 08/26 is 3500ft x 75ft. The aircraft was cleared for takeoff from runway 22 which was acknowledged only by a "roger" from the pilots. The aircaft proceeded to take off from runway 26, which is half the length of 22 and would have left the aircraft with insufficient room for takeoff.
FlightAware has no flight tracking information for the flight, COM191, besides the flight plan.
The aircraft tail number (confirmed by Comair) is N431CA (aircraft registration information: N431CA). The aircraft was delivered to Comair on January 30, 2001. It has 12,048 cycles and 14,536.2 hours. Last overnight maintenance check was conducted at Lexington on August 26th.
Airline Pilot Warned Of Confusing Runway Layout
FlightAware has discovered that in 1993, the pilot of an air carrier filed a report with the NASA ASRS (aviation safety reporting system) after nearly departing from runway 26 when instructed to depart from runway 22 at Lexington.
The report reads, "Aircraft was cleared for immediate takeoff (traffic was inside the marker) on runway 22 at KLEX. We taxied onto the runway and told tower we needed a moment to check our departure routing with our weather radar (storms were in the area, raining at the airport). We realized our heading was not currect for our assigned runway and at that moment, tower called us to cancel the takeoff clearance because we were lined up on runway 26. We taxied clear and then held short of runway 22 for landing traffic. We took off on runway 22 and proceeded without incident. Possible contributing factors were poor visibbility and weather (rain. Confusing runway intersection and tower's request for an immediate takeoff. Suggest possible warning page (similar to Houston Hobby) to clarify multiple runway ends."
The pilot's reference to Houston Hobby's disclaimer is available on FlightAware's airport information page for Houston Hobby (KHOU). The remark reads:
"DUE TO COMPLEX RY CONFIGURATION; WHEN TAXIING TO THRS 12L & 12R AND 17 CHECK COMPASS HEADING BEFORE DEPARTING."
No similar information is available for Lexington airport.
Air Traffic Control Terminology
When given a taxi instruction, aircraft are implicitly cleared across any runway between their current position and the taxi destination. Accordingly, an aircraft being instructed to taxi to runway 22 at KLEX from the terminal could be instructed, "taxi to runway two two" without being told, "cross runway two six."
Lexington (KLEX) airport diagram
Lexington (KLEX) airport information
Lexington (KLEX) arrival/departure boards
Relatives can call +1-800-801-0088 for more information.