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TVNWZ
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FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:40 am

This is a litttle disturbing and makes you wonder where else this is going on. Isn't the FAA trying to cut down on overtime? I read that somewhere, I thought. If so, it may have just cost a lot of lives...

WASHINGTON Aug 29, 2006 (AP)— The Federal Aviation Administration violated its own policies when it assigned only one controller to a Lexington, Ky., airport tower the morning of a fatal air crash, the agency acknowledged Tuesday.

The policy is outlined in a November 2005 directive requiring control tower observations and radar approach operations be handled separately when both responsibilities are being handled at one facility.

On Sunday, when a Comair jet crashed while trying to take off from the wrong runway, only one air traffic controller was on duty in the tower at Lexington Blue Grass Airport. Forty-nine people were killed in the crash.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown confirmed that the tower controller on duty early Sunday had to do his own job keeping track of airplanes on the ground and in the air up to a few miles away as well as radar duties.

The lone air traffic controller that morning cleared the jet for takeoff, then turned his back to do some "administrative duties" as the aircraft turned down the wrong runway, National Transportation Safety Board member Debbie Hersman said at a news conference. The controller had 17 years of experience, she said.

The day after the fatal crash in Kentucky, a second controller was in the tower on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift.

more at ABCNews.com
 
jdwfloyd
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:59 am

Maybe its time for the administration to stop playing around with NAtcA and the contract. I wonder if Marion Blakey thinks the money saved by throwing out all the work rules as per the contract with NATCA was worth the 49 lives?
 
KFLLCFII
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:23 pm

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 1):
I wonder if Marion Blakey thinks the money saved by throwing out all the work rules as per the contract with NATCA was worth the 49 lives?

And this prevented the flight crew from cross-checking because...?
"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
 
jdwfloyd
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:54 pm

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 2):
And this prevented the flight crew from cross-checking because...?

That doesn't excuss the FC at all, but had the tower been staffed as per the contract and SOP for that facility there would have been a better chance for the pilots mistake to have been caught.
 
FL1TPA
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:08 pm

I agree with you both, KFLLCFII and Jdwfloyd.

Aviation disasters are the end result of a chain of mistakes that is not discovered until it's too late. The early flight in darkness is one link, the new taxiway turn that is sharper that before is another link, the unnoticed heading difference another, a lone air traffic controller preoccupied by other duties another, and other links that will undoubtedly come to light in the coming days and weeks.

I hope other ATC facilities at smaller airports that handle commercial traffic and currently operate in violation (and you know there have to be some) correct thier procedures immediately.

FL1TPA
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BatonOps
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:21 pm

This is going to be a wake up call for the FAA and the air traffic control community. Maybe instead of trying to close down facilities at night the FAA will get money and be able to keep them open and possibly increase staff.

Last year there was discussion on closing the tower at MDT from midnight to 0500 due to lack of traffic. NY Center would handle the radar for MDT, LNS, RDG, and many smaller airports in central PA. Not a good idea in my eyes...that's a lot of airspace to watch.
 
jamesjoyce
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:35 pm

Quoting FL1TPA (Reply 4):
Aviation disasters are the end result of a chain of mistakes that is not discovered until it's too late. The early flight in darkness is one link, the new taxiway turn that is sharper that before is another link, the unnoticed heading difference another, a lone air traffic controller preoccupied by other duties another, and other links that will undoubtedly come to light in the coming days and weeks.

While all that is correct I definitely know LEX quite well. I understand what went wrong but there's such a big difference between the lit main-runway there and the unlit secondary that I am baffled how a flight-deck crew, and it seems a quite capable crew, could do that. The human link, I fear, which often is the weakest without this being any attempt to put blame anywhere.

Flying nevertheless was, is and remains the safest mode of transportation.
 
zvezda
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:09 pm

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 1):
Maybe its time for the administration to stop playing around with NAtcA and the contract. I wonder if Marion Blakey thinks the money saved by throwing out all the work rules as per the contract with NATCA was worth the 49 lives?

This is a straw-man argument. There was a rule in place requiring two controllers. The rule was violated. That is not an indication that more rules are needed.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:20 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 7):
This is a straw-man argument. There was a rule in place requiring two controllers. The rule was violated. That is not an indication that more rules are needed.

Quite right, but this IS the USA, and the FAA is a Federal Government Department . . .you can bet a dozen new, and inane, rules shall surface from this disaster, when simply enforcing the ones alrady in place would suffice!

Amazingly this country - and most I'd venture - seem to think it's easier to reinvent the wheel instead of using the one they already have properly!  hypnotized 
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ltbewr
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:38 pm

Of course you are going to see an overraction of FAA/NTSB bureaucrats to cover their collective butts and members of Congress looking for an easy way to get attention that they are 'getting tough' on air safety. Of course, they won't see the 'forrest from the trees' and not make real safety changes to anticpate other reasonably expected safety risks or to adjust some of the silly counterdiction of security rules, like a strip search for evere milliliter of liquids, but bearly noting 30 lbs of electronics in your carry on.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:50 pm

This will come out as part of the human factors that contribute to the accident. But the cause is still going to be the flight crew and their lack of awearness, and a cockpit cross check.

But, worst of all, we will begin seeing Congressmen and Senators running to every TV camera they can find promising to save the rest of us with the hearings they will now hold.

After all, this is an election year and they cannot let any oppertunity slip by, even if that oppertunity is the death of 49.
 
access-air
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:29 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 8):
Quite right, but this IS the USA, and the FAA is a Federal Government Department . . .you can bet a dozen new, and inane, rules shall surface from this disaster, when simply enforcing the ones alrady in place would suffice!



Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 9):
Of course you are going to see an overraction of FAA/NTSB bureaucrats to cover their collective butts and members of Congress looking for an easy way to get attention that they are 'getting tough' on air safety.

This is that "Coffin Mentality" I speak of so often when it coems to the FAA....They do nothing or enforce nothing until people die....

Access-Air
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mcdu
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:46 pm

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 2):
And this prevented the flight crew from cross-checking because...?

.

As a 25 year plus airline Captain I take issue with your statement. Safety is a chain. No accident is one factor but many items being missed to lead to an event. "IF" the tower had been manned properly there is a chance this could have prevented the accident just as easily as the crew realizing their error. Airliners fly with a crew of TWO not because the company feels we need company on a long flight. When things are going well a single pilot could as easily fly a 747-400. However, it is the second pilot that is needed to backup the other and make sure there are two sets of eyes and thoughts propeling the airplane through the air. If we need that second set of eyes would it not make sense to need the second set of eyes working with the controller?

Take the USAir/Skywest accident in LAX several years ago. The controller was distracted by a taxiing Mexicana aircraft that had made a wrong turn. Forgot about putting the SKYW into TIPAH at an intersection. This resulted in a collision. The US pilots had no ability to see the Metroliner as it was blended into the centerline of the runway.

Your simplification of this event shows a lack of practical experience in operations. Get some time under your belt. Walk a mile and then tell us where the errors occured as I am sure you will never make any.

Sorry for the rant but this is enough of the couch potato experts on this issue.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:50 pm

The puzzling thing to me is the lone controller in the tower is quoted as saying he turned his back to take care of some "administrative duties." At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff?

Maybe some controllers can shead some light. Or is this cover-my-butt code for "cup of coffee."
 
nudelhirsch
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:05 pm

Is there any regulation that the controler handling a flight MUST observe the entire movement with his own eyes, including TO?
As long as the controler did not misregard any regulation he probably now wishes he had watched the plane, probably has sleepless nights and quite a load to live with, on the human side, but as long as he didn't break a rule he could have grabbed some coffee.

It would be interesting to know why the pilots with all their experience did not notice the possibility of a runway screw-up when reading the charts and then paying extra attention. The taxiway passes by the beginnin of 26 and leads to 22. Sure should be possible to count how many runway intersections you pass on your way and double check that with the chart... In a previous thread about this crash some crewmember confirmed the possibility of taking 26 for 22 in LEX, but crews are trained for paying extra attention when things get tricky. Otherwise any L and R configuration would be dangerous, as they even the same numbers written on them, and when it's dark, who can tell if you are on L or on R... There should have been the extra 2 eyes Mcdu mentioned, the ones from the PNF to doublecheck.

This is not meant to blame the pilots, but I think this is one of the biggest "why" in this case.
Putana da Seatbeltz!
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:10 pm

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
The puzzling thing to me is the lone controller in the tower is quoted as saying he turned his back to take care of some "administrative duties." At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff?

I asked pretty much the same question in thread 2, this subject, and member ATCO damn near crapped himself.

I have to wonder - at 6:00am, other than Radar perhaps - at LEX (this is not JFK, IAH, YVR, LHR afterall) just what was so pressing that the controller couldn't have taken 30 seconds to watch the departure . . . or at least watch the a/c lineup for departure.

Controllers are busy people - no matter where they are really - and I have nothing respect for those folks - but along with asking questions of the lone surviving crewmember (when he's able) the controller has some answering to do as well IMO.
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Spruit
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:11 pm

Quoting Mcdu (Reply 12):
Your simplification of this event shows a lack of practical experience in operations. Get some time under your belt. Walk a mile and then tell us where the errors occured as I am sure you will never make any.

Couldn't agree more, it's a chain of events that leads to an accident! More than berating the Flight Crew and/or the tower we need to learn from the mistakes of others!

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Maybe some controllers can shead some light. Or is this cover-my-butt code for "cup of coffee."

I'm sure the tower controller wasn't getting a cup of coffee when this tragedy occured and I'm SURE that what ever he was doing, it won't be enough to stop him from re-living the last moments of 49 people over and over in his mind!

Let's try and show some compassion!

Spru!
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VEEREF
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:11 pm

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
The puzzling thing to me is the lone controller in the tower is quoted as saying he turned his back to take care of some "administrative duties." At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff

Maybe some controllers can shead some light. Or is this cover-my-butt code for "cup of coffee."

Another part of the complicated human factor. While not excusable, it's easy to see how the controller probably wouldn't have expected an experienced crew to line up and takeof on a shorter unlit runway and therefore didn't think watching the entire procedure was necessary.
This accident should be a stern reminder that complacency is a very real downside to an increasingly reliable and routine event like commercial aviation, and that we as humans are vulnerable by our nature.
Airplanes are cool. Aviation sucks.
 
CM767
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:16 pm

Quoting Mcdu (Reply 12):
Your simplification of this event shows a lack of practical experience in operations. Get some time under your belt. Walk a mile and then tell us where the errors occured as I am sure you will never make any.

Well said. There is no doubt in my mind, that the pilots were misled by construction on the ground, some jumped to blame the pilots before any facts were out. A mistake that seems so obvious to us on paper, could and must probably would in fact have many other issues that contributed to the accident.
But The Best Thing God Has Created Is A New Day
 
ATCGOD
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:30 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
This will come out as part of the human factors that contribute to the accident. But the cause is still going to be the flight crew and their lack of awearness, and a cockpit cross check.

As a pilot and controller I think situational awareness will play a critical role in the outcome of this investigation. It's too hard to think that a captain that had been to LEX 6 times and a FO that had been there 10 times in the last few years made such a critical and ultimately tragic mistake.

Regardless of the new taxiway layout, there were still signs up and the active runway was lit. All the holes lined up for one massive tragedy.

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff?

Traffic count. That's a true administrative duty and it's gotta get done sometime why not when it's slow.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:30 pm

Quoting Spruit (Reply 16):
I'm sure the tower controller wasn't getting a cup of coffee when this tragedy occured and I'm SURE that what ever he was doing, it won't be enough to stop him from re-living the last moments of 49 people over and over in his mind!

Let's try and show some compassion

I am compassionate, but this is an aviation discussion forum, and I am trying to discuss this portion of the accident. Common everyday habits, while 99% of the time can be harmless, but that one percent, when you are alone, at an airport that is not very busy, could lead to a terrible tragedy.

I bring up the point, because FAA regs are that two controllers are to be in the tower. One is supposed to observe the aircraft transit the taxiways and line up on the runway. this was admittedly not done because "his back was turned to take care of administrative duties."

Yes, it is a chain of events. The construction, the PIC, SIC, lighting, staffing tower procedures. All fell down in this case. I have utmost respect for everyone who puts their butts on the line to make my travels safe, I am just puzzled by this particular glaring error.
 
slider
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:46 pm

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 1):
I wonder if Marion Blakey thinks the money saved by throwing out all the work rules as per the contract with NATCA was worth the 49 lives?

It'll be a political football that will ultimately cost the airlines more money to support a bureaucracy whose ineptitude and mismanagement indirectly led to 49 fatalities. ATC should be privatized immediately.

Quoting Mcdu (Reply 12):
Your simplification of this event shows a lack of practical experience in operations. Get some time under your belt. Walk a mile and then tell us where the errors occured as I am sure you will never make any.

I don't think he was being rude to you with that, but his point is sound--the ultimate and final decision and error falls on the pilot in this case. that's not a slam on him and isn't meant to be disrespectful, it's a statement of fact.

The human factors contributing to that error certainly are in play, as with this FAA staffing violation. But the most basic SEL pilot with limited practical experience would look at their compass, check heading, verify rwy, etc, before taking off, much less wouldn't do so in the dark with no runway lighting.
 
djw030468
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:49 pm

Quoting Jdwfloyd (Reply 1):

Even as a private pilot, I was taught one BASIC rule about aircraft accidents...There is ALWAYS a 'CHAIN OF EVENTS' and if the FAA had the tower staffed as they SHOULD have and were MANDATED to do...the CHAIN MAY have been broken and LIVES would have been SPARED!

Shame on YOU FAA! Once again beauracracy has failed us!
 
Tom in NO
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:52 pm

I can remenber my Ops days here at MSY, and visiting the ATC tower here during many a midnight shift. During the vast majority of those visits the tower was capably and safely staffed by.....one person.

I'm with ATCGod on this one.....it's all about situational awareness.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:37 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
Or is this cover-my-butt code for "cup of coffee."

Rather than slam you for a statement I will simply say, I hope that you never have to experience a situation such as this in your business career and if so that someone isn't looking over your shoulder thinking you're covering your butt!

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
The puzzling thing to me is the lone controller in the tower is quoted as saying he turned his back to take care of some "administrative duties." At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff?

Now look at the airport diagram.....Runway 26 is closer to the ramp than Runway 22, so possibly the time it takes (from experience in the tower) to taxi from the ramp to the assigned departure runway was thought to be enough time to take care of the administrative duty, not expecting the aircraft to unexpectedly use Runway 26...not making excuses just being realistic.....from my own personal experiences.

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 19):
Traffic count. That's a true administrative duty and it's gotta get done sometime why not when it's slow.

Don't forget the beloved logging of items and many other things......and slow time for sure is when that gets done. Ahhh but what about the chance the controller actually was issuing another clearance to someone else and transmitting on all the tower frequencies simultanouesly, or an ATIS to get done as I wouldn't think LEX would have a digital ATIS......and who knows what else.

Very easy to point at many organizations for violations of this reg or that reg, or bash a beaurocratic entity, after lives have been lost in a tragic event such as this. NOW, once again it is time to bring issues to the table with those organizations which control the purse strings and stomp on their desks until the cost cutting is eliminated in safety related fields such as flight training, maint, air traffic control, airport construction and many more....just what is the cost of a life these days?

Bottom line is this folks plain and simple....WHY? As a pilot if I am not certain of why I don't see runway lights guess what, I'm gonna stop and ask, VERIFY.....if I am the least bit uncertain of a taxi route or construction, I'm gonna stop and ask, VERIFY! As a controller if I am not sure that a taxi route is clear guess what, I am gonna VERIFY that it is understood by the crew! All WHYs in my mind.

[Edited 2006-08-30 17:46:10]
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
ATCGOD
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:46 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 24):
Don't forget the beloved logging of items and many other things......and slow time for sure is when that gets done. Ahhh but what about the chance the controller actually was issuing another clearance to someone else and transmitting on all the tower frequencies simultanouesly, or an ATIS to get done as I wouldn't think LEX would have a digital ATIS......and who knows what else.

No, seriously...it was traffic count as reported in this MSNBC article.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14574723/
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:47 am

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 25):
No, seriously...it was traffic count as reported in this MSNBC article.


Okay, and we all know how accurate this stuff is.

I was only hoping to add to the list, my own ignorance from not having seen the article.  Smile
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
SPREE34
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:03 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 13):
The puzzling thing to me is the lone controller in the tower is quoted as saying he turned his back to take care of some "administrative duties." At that time in the morning, with a jet set for TO, what administrative duties could there be that could not wait until he monitored the airplane through takeoff?

Maybe some controllers can shead some light. Or is this cover-my-butt code for "cup of coffee."

One (1) Controller, working Clearance Delivery combined at Ground Control combined at Local Control combined with RADAR. "Administrative duties" could mean marking a flight strip, starting a RADAR Data Tag, entering a Departure Message into the Center Computer.......any number of items.

ATC is not a for profit business, and never should be. Unfortunately the present regime thinks that way. They are not staffing the facilities. Now, after people die, light is shed on it. They (FAA) have quit doing preventative maintenance on equipment as well to save money. That will contribute to 1 or more deaths before long, and nothing will be done. From the perspective of those in charge, who know very little about how airplanes fly and ATC works, "safety was never compromised".
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
commavia
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:06 am

Wasn't one of the biggest FAA arguments against outsourcing some airport control towers that they were the safer, more secure choice?
 
ATCGOD
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:12 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 26):
Okay, and we all know how accurate this stuff is.

It's about all we can go on right now, isn't it? This is a quote from NTSB lead investigator Hersman. How can we not assume this is correct?

'Then, “he turned his back to perform administrative duties,” Hersman said. “At that point, he was doing a traffic count.” '
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:18 am

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 29):
'Then, “he turned his back to perform administrative duties,” Hersman said. “At that point, he was doing a traffic count.” '

Thanks for the info! I b smarter now, not much but every little bit helps.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
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TVNWZ
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:18 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 26):
Okay, and we all know how accurate this stuff is.

Overall, fairly accurate in my opinion.

So, what would a traffic count be? Maybe he was lining up the next hours departures and landings? I thought the Comair flight was the only ones to count, but I do not know.

Anyone?
 
ATCGOD
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:23 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 31):
So, what would a traffic count be?

Traffic count is a function where literally the controllers will tally (using the flight strips) their traffic count within a specified time period and the types of traffic. Such as between the hours of 0000-0600 airport X recorded 12 IFR operations, 18 VFR operations, etc. He was probably doing traffic count because of the proximity to the 0600 hour this happened. Either gathering and bundling strips for them to be counted later or actually doing the counting, seperating, and data entry.

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 30):
Thanks for the info! I b smarter now, not much but every little bit helps.

I didn't mean to call you out...really. I was just wondering if you'd actually read the article.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:27 am

Quoting ATCGOD (Reply 32):
I didn't mean to call you out...really. I was just wondering if you'd actually read the article

haha...u didn't pal, I was offering myself as the sacrificial lamb!!
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TVNWZ
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:29 am

Just what it says..got it.

So, now it begs this questions: Is it standard procedure to do a traffic count while you are directing traffic? Or would you do that after being relieved? Is there no prep/post-shift paperwork time alloted?
 
ATCGOD
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:39 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 34):
So, now it begs this questions: Is it standard procedure to do a traffic count while you are directing traffic? Or would you do that after being relieved? Is there no prep/post-shift paperwork time alloted?

Where I come from our trainees do that for us. It's not a glamorous job but an important one. But like I said in the post before it's possible he was seperating the strips or bundling the strips and not doing the actual data entry (which is probably located on a computer outside of the tower cab). But generally, yes, there is time set aside, or overtime to get the traffic count completed.
 
Spruit
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:13 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 20):
I am compassionate, but this is an aviation discussion forum, and I am trying to discuss this portion of the accident. Common everyday habits, while 99% of the time can be harmless, but that one percent, when you are alone, at an airport that is not very busy, could lead to a terrible tragedy.

I understand what you are saying but the tower controller had given his clearances and although was distracted from watching the takeoff has no blame in this incident.

The ultimate responsibility for this accident lies with the PIC and the F/O, a series of mistakes led to the loss of life!

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 24):
Bottom line is this folks plain and simple....WHY? As a pilot if I am not certain of why I don't see runway lights guess what, I'm gonna stop and ask, VERIFY.....if I am the least bit uncertain of a taxi route or construction, I'm gonna stop and ask, VERIFY! As a controller if I am not sure that a taxi route is clear guess what, I am gonna VERIFY that it is understood by the crew! All WHYs in my mind.

Couldn't agree more! All through flying training, it's drilled into you.

"If in doubt ................... SHOUT"

I just hope people learn from this accident, flying an airliner requires your total attention, not 90% of it but 100% for 100% of the time your flying! My question is the same as IAHFLYER above, WHY????
E=Mc2
 
skaggs
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 11:03 am

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:19 am

This had ZERO to do with this accident. The controller could have been playing X-Box and it would have nothing to do with this incident.

Please, at 0600 in Lexington KY, 1 controller is fine.....Im sure at 0600 it could be non-controlled with no issues.
It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:30 am

Quoting Skaggs (Reply 37):
This had ZERO to do with this accident. The controller could have been playing X-Box and it would have nothing to do with this incident.

Which happens often too!
 
tcfc424
Posts: 444
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:37 am

I agree with what most people are voicing here. I think that we all need to understand, however, that as the investigation continues, more pieces of the puzzle, and likely the chain of events, will emerge. There are still questions I have that I would like to have answered before I personally assign blame (and we all do it...regardless of what the NTSB/FAA/etc say).

1) Were notices of the construction, completion, new maps, etc distributed to these pilots? (I don't mean a flyer on a board, I mean it should have been the first thing handed to them as they prepared to file their FP.)
2) How familiar were the pilots with LEX (yes 6 and 10 times, but how many airports had they been to in between? That could be 1-2 times per year...hardly enough to become comfortably familiar)
3) Were the signs completed, lighted, visible, correct, etc?
4) What was the conversation in the cockpit? Did they verify heading? Were there questions about the heading? Was there enough light in the cockpit? Could they easily observe the lights on the active (RWY 22)?
5) Did the FL pilot in the jumpseat (everything I have read states he WAS in the cockpit) contribute to cockpit chatter? As a commuter he should have been familiar with LEX, but may not have said anything?

We all know that ULTIMATE responsibility for the aircraft and decisions made in the flight deck are singular to the PIC. That is mandated, however there are numerous checks and balances built into the system, including an FO, ATC, computers, etc. Ultimately it is the PIC, however realistically, many people share in the responsibility.

In summary, did the tower staffing actively contribute to this accident? No. Could it have prevented it? Possibly. In other words, even staffed by one, the controller was doing the duties for which he was responsible. He did not tell them to takeoff on RWY26 and he isn't mandated to follow all aircraft ground movements visually.
 
SANFan
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:47 am

Let's not forget the incident at SEA/TAC some months ago when, in the middle of the night, 2 arriving a/c were unable to raise the single controller on duty in the tower for permission to land. More "admin. duties"? Thankfully, in those events, no one was injured.

Gulp!

bb
 
gh123
Posts: 645
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:13 am

Quoting Spruit (Reply 36):
"If in doubt ................... SHOUT"

Exactly - they might seem simple but they save lives.

I was always taught:

Checklist, Checklist, Trim.

Anyone else have any others?
 
SkepticAll
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:21 pm

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:27 am

Working solo in an air traffic control tower during less than peak hours was in the past anyway, quite common place. During those periods when I worked alone, the workload was such that I never felt distracted from my primary duties of making sure airplanes didn't touch each other and landed/took off from the surface I intended. I'm not even going to speculate on what distractions took place in the tower at Lexington that morning that precluded the controller from making sure the aircraft he cleared for takeoff actually departed from the correct runway. I guess the point of this post is to make sure that folks know that in spite of what happened here, single controller operations, at least till now, have never been a really big deal.
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:44 am

Quoting SkepticAll (Reply 42):
I guess the point of this post is to make sure that folks know that in spite of what happened here, single controller operations, at least till now, have never been a really big deal.

I disagree somewhat. Even in my military days you were always required, even when wing flying was down, to have two controllers. One line controller and one watch supervisor. I've never heard of a controller doing all the duties that this one was doing solo. From what I can tell, he was covering CD/FD, ground, local, approach, and departure. Does that make it unsafe? Probably not, I highly doubt based only on what I know about the accident, that this wasn't controller error. But a second set of eyes may have helped...we'll never know.
 
User avatar
TVNWZ
Topic Author
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:57 am

But, it did violate the FAA rules. I assume those rules were established for some reason, and possibly to ensure what happened in Lexington would not happen. But, the powers that be decided to take a chance--go with the odds--after all it has never been an issue. Is now.

I agree with all the posts that say, check, double check, when in doubt shout. And I am sad the FAA just did not do what they encourge others to do: follow the book. Was it the cause? Probably not. Could it have prevented it? Maybe. And that maybe helps make this such a senseless and tragic accident.
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:02 am

Quoting TVNWZ (Reply 44):
But, it did violate the FAA rules.

 yes 
 
YULWinterSkies
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:45 am

Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 2):
And this prevented the flight crew from cross-checking because...?

Well, this is another mistake that probably happened...
You usually don't get an accident because of one mistake but because of two or more...

See, another car runs towards your car because the driver's not paying attention. You are careful enough, everything is fixed on your car, your speed is good, most of the time there is no accident and everyone is fine, you just say "thank god is saw him". You do the same mistake for whatever reason, the other driver is awake and, again, everyone is safe, and right after you realize, oh sh!t, maybe i should be a little more careful. When both you and the other driver facing you screw up something at the same place and same time, then... crash...

I'm sure tired and busy experienced ATCs forget to check whether a/c are lined up on the right runway all the time, however, the crew normally realizes something is not right. And I'm sure tired and busy experienced F/O AND captains ALSO forget to check they are on the right runway all the time, but normally ATCs catch them up. However if both fail at the same time at the same place, well... This does not change any of the respect and admiration I have for all the categories of people I mentioned for doing such a job, with so much responsibility in their hands... But humans are humans, so they are not perfect.
When I doubt... go running!
 
nkops
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:56 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 11):
This is that "Coffin Mentality" I speak of so often when it coems to the FAA....They do nothing or enforce nothing until people die....

It's typical government action.... to be reactive instead of proactive (it seems thats the way they do traffic lights around here!!) The question I have is if the FAA breaks their own rule, who punishes them?

And I hope that aministrative duties doesn't turn out to be pouring a cup of coffee or something like that!!
:evil:
 
starrion
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RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:58 am

New reports also show that the crew not only lined up on the wrong runway but also powered up the wrong aircraft before boarding began.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/30/plane.crash/index.html

It certainly seems like this crew was having a bad day that got worse.

As far as the tower staffing goes, there are untowered or uncontrolled airports all over the country. I'm sure some of them have some commercial activity. Regardless of whether the controller was doing traffic counts, getting a cup of coffee or playing X-Box, it is not his responsibility to make sure the planes are following instructions. It is the PIC's responsibility. When I wasn't sure I was on the correct taxiway, I called and asked. These pilots did not cross check their heading, did not notice the runway width was half what it should have been, did not double-check the chart when confronted with a V intersection. They made an awful mistake. Unless a sign can be produced that shows 22 pointing at 26 or another smoking gun, then 100% of the responsibility lies with the guys up front.

As a pilot who loathes "pilot error", that's what it is. Leave the controller alone.
Knowledge Replaces Fear
 
ATCGOD
Posts: 517
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:24 am

RE: FAA Rules Violation In Lexington Tower

Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:03 am

Quoting Nkops (Reply 47):
The question I have is if the FAA breaks their own rule, who punishes them?

I'd say it's more likely than not the facility manager will be reprimanded in some way for this.