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Topic: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Tys777
Posted 2007-02-23 00:56:30 and read 3030 times.

Looks like they are trying to prove the FAA was negligent this time. Lets see how this plays out.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070222/ap_on_re_us/kentucky_crash_1



(Hope this one is better, srbmod, sorry about that)

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Maverick623
Posted 2007-02-23 01:38:36 and read 2943 times.

Quote:
The lawsuit says the U.S. government breached its duty to control taxiing and departing aircraft at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

This (in legalese) hits the nail on the head: one controller was perfectly adequate for handling Tower duties, but that controller was negligent by also handling Approach control. One can argue endlessly whether a second controller or transferring approach duties to Center would've caused him to see the airplane line up on the wrong runway, but the fact is that there was negligence.

But they can't sue the controller, as an officer of the government, the government assumes responibility for his actions in a civil matter. Just like the families can't sue the surviving pilot, they can only sue the company. However, the pilot and controller could be criminally charged, although that is not likely to happen.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Nwafflyer
Posted 2007-02-23 01:42:56 and read 2928 times.

I guess I'm starting to sound boring, but how do we prevent this in the future? Instead of assigning blame, let's try corrective action

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Maverick623
Posted 2007-02-23 01:49:46 and read 2913 times.

Quoting Nwafflyer (Reply 2):
I guess I'm starting to sound boring, but how do we prevent this in the future? Instead of assigning blame, let's try corrective action

No reason why we can't to both at the same time.

Corrective action is deceptively simple: Pilots NEED to make sure they know where they're at. If something doesn't look right (no lights on the runway) then call it off. Reference the heading indicator/magnetic compass.

Another corrective action (although not a significant factor IMO) is proper staffing levels at towers. Again, one controller was enough for Tower duties, but he had two strikes against him: taking on approach control duties in violation of FAA rules, and only having 2 hours of sleep due to short staffing levels. Extremely poor judgment on his part.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: KcrwFlyer
Posted 2007-02-23 02:04:35 and read 2905 times.

Now what if this type of incident happened at an untowered airport? Would Comair try to sue the airport for not having a big bright sign at the end of the runway that said "No CRJ's"?

It is the pilot who lines up on the runway and adds power. He/she should be able to check his heading indicator, and compass, and even surroundings of the runway to make sure theyre on the right runway.

Despite the condition of and duties of the controller, its still the pilots final call that everything is okay for takeoff.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Flyf15
Posted 2007-02-23 02:12:44 and read 2878 times.

I don't see how anyone can blame the controller. Its not like he was the one that decided only he needed to be there. There is governmental pressure on the underfunded FAA to get by with less money than necessary. That means the FAA will probably cut corners. One of these corners it cuts is not adequately staffing air traffic control facilities. Less controllers + working the controllers too much = money saved, at the expense of safety.

I'm not saying its the FAA's fault this accident happened, in fact, I don't think it is. But, don't blame the controller, he was overworked and pressured to do his job with inadequate support and rest. This kind of stuff happens a lot in aviation and the blame can be placed squarely on trying to save money by the people in charge.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: ATCT
Posted 2007-02-23 02:17:30 and read 2860 times.

Quoting Nwafflyer (Reply 2):



Quoting Nwafflyer (Reply 2):
I guess I'm starting to sound boring, but how do we prevent this in the future? Instead of assigning blame, let's try corrective action

Indeed, lets bring staffing levels to levels that NATCA and the FAA have agreed on.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 3):
taking on approach control duties in violation of FAA rules, and only having 2 hours of sleep due to short staffing levels. Extremely poor judgment on his part.

Ok....so he says no and gets suspended or worse fired? Ha I think not. Last I checked you arent a controller and you dont know what you said actually means. In the FAA/ATC world, if a supervisor or manager tells you to do something, you do it, and afterwards deal with the problems or legality. Its no longer the controllers "ticket" on the line, but that of the supervisor or manager.

ATCT

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Tlfd29
Posted 2007-02-23 03:14:31 and read 2771 times.

Pilot in control. By the time the aircraft reaches the centerline all responsibility lies with the pilot.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: MD80fanatic
Posted 2007-02-23 03:25:30 and read 2771 times.

Agree with that, PIC responsibility. Not to mention both pilots missed the mark here simultaneously. Might as well blame the electrical contractors for not finishing the perimeter lights in time. Perhaps a suit could be brought against the landowner for having a tree in the spot where the plane crashed....on and on. It's ridiculous.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: DeltaGuy
Posted 2007-02-23 03:38:16 and read 2771 times.

And I'm sure someone will try to sue Canadair for making a CRJ  Yeah sure

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 3):
Pilots NEED to make sure they know where they're at. If something doesn't look right (no lights on the runway) then call it off. Reference the heading indicator/magnetic compass.

And pilots DO....it just didn't happen here. Sometimes it takes a terrible tragedy for people to pull their heads out of their arses.

I wish the government would take this as a lesson, less funding and cutbacks has an ultimate deragatory effect on safety, cut and dry.

DeltaGuy

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: MDorBust
Posted 2007-02-23 03:46:56 and read 2771 times.

The final decision to go flying lies with the pilots.

There were many clear indications that the pilots should have picked up on that things weren't right.

Comair needs to own up to that fact and accept that their boys up front are the ones that committed that aircraft to departure.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Maverick623
Posted 2007-02-23 03:49:38 and read 2771 times.

Quoting ATCT (Reply 6):
Ok....so he says no and gets suspended or worse fired? Ha I think not. Last I checked you arent a controller and you dont know what you said actually means. In the FAA/ATC world, if a supervisor or manager tells you to do something, you do it, and afterwards deal with the problems or legality. Its no longer the controllers "ticket" on the line, but that of the supervisor or manager.

Such is the problem with people today. "Do as your told, worry about complaining later". It's that attitude that causes accidents. I'm not saying that the controller is at fault, as the PIC has final responsibility over the airplane.

In this world, it shouldn't be about a person's job or money. It's about safety. And if you want to condone putting safety aside to please some bigwigs, well... just imagine how you would feel if a mid-air happene on your watch because you didn't get enough sleep the night before.

There needs to be a shift in the way people think. It really isn't that hard to do.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Gh123
Posted 2007-02-23 03:54:41 and read 2771 times.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 10):
The final decision to go flying lies with the pilots.

Exactly.

This thing is a complete nonsense. I flew out of KLEX last Sunday afternoon and the other person (also pilot) I went flying with couldn't help but say "idiots" as we crossed the threshold of runway 26 on the way to 22 and I agreed with him.

The pilots crashed that plane - they pointed the aircraft down 26 and they opened the throttles - they also did not abort when they could have done. They were in charge of that plane - therefore that plane, the passengers and their actions were THEIR responsibilities.

Shame on Comair.

Edited for spelling!

[Edited 2007-02-23 03:55:51]

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: ATCT
Posted 2007-02-23 04:00:03 and read 2771 times.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 11):
Such is the problem with people today

We do what we're told at work. Its not my position to question, just do and the consequences would fall on the supervisor if they told us to do it.


Regarding Lexington, I whole-heartidly believe that a second controller in the tower would have prevented the accident. I do not wish any harm on the F/O or the crew (RIP). As a pilot who has had an accident myself, its not something thats exactly fun and takes a while to get over. (If ever). The NTSB will place the "Cause" on somebody or something, but what we should do is find out how we will prevent this from happening in the future.


ATCT

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Flyf15
Posted 2007-02-23 04:06:31 and read 2771 times.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 11):
because you didn't get enough sleep the night before.

If the general public had any idea how widespread sleep deprivation is in aviation, you'd be horrified and probably never want to step foot on an airliner again. Pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, etc work extremely long days and get little sleep. Just the other day I did a duty day that was 15 hours and 53 minutes long after an 8 hour reduced rest night which resulted in approximately 4 hours of sleep. Something like this isn't isolated either, I can't speak for other groups, but every single day all across the country, pilots are operating planes on half of a normal night's sleep (and probably not good sleep at that - random unfamiliar hotel rooms) and flying over half a dozen legs a day with duty days approaching 14-16 hours. Its not abnormal, its the norm. Anything less than 12 hours duty, I consider to be a short day. Anything more than 7 hours in bed at night, I consider to be a long night's sleep. And you do it day after day after day.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: N766UA
Posted 2007-02-23 04:17:13 and read 2771 times.

The FAA was negilgent in undermanning the tower. However, the pilots are the ones who took off on the wrong runway. Whether 1 controller or 50 controllers would have made a difference is neither here nor there in this case.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: ANCFlyer
Posted 2007-02-23 05:24:54 and read 2749 times.

Quoting Nwafflyer (Reply 2):
but how do we prevent this in the future?

How about training the pilots to line up and atatmpt departure on a lighted runway for starters.

This doesn't absolve the FAA of their responsibility by undermanning the tower, but any way you slice it, the Pilot In Command screwed the pooch . . . . his decision to fly. His decision to move on an unlit runway. His failure to check heading after lining up.

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: Electech6299
Posted 2007-02-23 06:57:33 and read 2647 times.

Quoting ATCT (Reply 13):
I whole-heartidly believe that a second controller in the tower would have prevented the accident.

I am not a controller (though I work around them and have known a few quite well) so I will not speak as to the staffing/hours/requirements and whether the KLEX tower was up to par at the time of the crash. But the second controller's responsibilities would include....? If KLEX needs a second controller to advise pilots that they have reached their assigned runway, then every airport in the US needs more controllers to do that job, and the job description needs to be written. Right now that job isn't being done by controllers, it's being done by pilots. The controller says go to 22, you go to 22. If the controller says go to 22 and you arent 100.3% sure that you are on 22, you call the tower to confirm. Especially at an empty field at 6AM. The CRJ crew did not call for assistance finding the runway. They did not use the tools they had available to find the runway. They got on "a" runway, failed to confirm which runway they were on, and took off. There is no further verification that the controller was responsible for.

So, if the controller is not assigned to observe every line up and roll-out, why should they be held liable for it? Just because they could potentially see it doesn't make them responsible for it. They assign the departure runway and clear the aircraft to get there. They are not responsible to hold the pilot's hand the way a kindergarten teacher leads a 5-year-old to the bathroom. If you want the controller's job to be changed to do that, then that needs to start in Congress with funding. Just be sure you don't further piss off the NATCA and ALPA in the process...career professionals don't like kindergarten rules.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 16):
How about training the pilots to line up and atatmpt departure on a lighted runway for starters.

 checkmark  I would consider that beyond kindergarten. Perhaps there needs to be another checklist item, but it would be for pilots, not controllers.

Still, even with that said, I suspect this lawsuit is just part of Comair's due diligence, sponsored by their insurers. Any money that can be recovered from Uncle Sam to pay for the crash would be gladly accepted. Any additional staffing at the towers wouldn't be a bad outcome either. (just add another dime to my ticket tax to pay the additional costs...)

Topic: RE: Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash
Username: AWombat
Posted 2007-02-23 07:22:45 and read 2611 times.

Where I work, I have several 'Rules of Better Business', of which Rule 2 is 'Establish Blame because there is a lot to go around'. Every thing we do must be set up to allow blame to be established and identify everything and every one. There is never a single cause to anything and people must understand that all the cause must be identified and rectified.

Future incidents can only be prevented if there are no sacred cows that should not be blamed. When it gets to the individuals involved everyone starts to get very protective (most likely due to a bad experience in the past), the investigation is not so much to determine that they need a spanking but rather to understand why they did or did not do something and how it can be prevented. From what I ahve read there are issues with the pilots, with the controller and with the management of the air services (FAA) that need to be addressed.

There always seems that is gets down to a fight between management and employees with each point the finger at the other. This will always lead to trouble evenetually.


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