KarlB737
Topic Author
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Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:20 am

Courtesy: Cincinnati Business Courier

Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA Over Plane Crash

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnat.../daily58.html?b=1160366400^1361048
 
B6JFKH81
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:25 am

This should be a very interesting case. I can see where Comair is coming from on this, but can also see a lot of pushback. All I hope is that the litigation does not take such a long time that it hurts the families of the deceased.
"If you do not learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it"
 
milesrich
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:41 am

It's a b.s. lawsuit. If the flight crew had checked their heading, before proceeding down an unlit runway, there would have been no accident.
 
ANNOYEDFA
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:25 am

Actually it's the FAA'S fault. This isn't the first time a jet rolled down the wrong runway at LEX, it's just the first time it wasen't caught in time and crashed. I spoke with a Captain I was flying with a few weeks ago about the insident and I wish I had written down what it's called but something that a pilot can file with the FAA to expedite a serious change needed at a airport and low and behold LEX had an issue with confusing taxi ways or something in that nature.

I believe he said that the taxi way they used or a new one wasen't even on their maps yet, but the day after the crash along came the change he said that should of been done years ago. I believe he said he was at the airport when a plane took to the same wrong runway and if not for the air traffic controller telling them to abort their take off they would of been in the field. It also wasen't the first time it happened. Remember the FAA usual waits till death comes before a change is made.

I'll never forget one year in recurrent we had a FAA cabin manager in our class because of a new instructor being trained. He began telling stories of when he flew for TWA and the F/O was so drunk the Captain threatened them not to tell and they would fly the LAS-JFK route on the L-1011 anyway. I coulden't believe what I was hearing. I mean this guy was passed out carted to the plane is what he basically said! All I'll say is he was a bit shocked at my reaction and what I had to say.....

On a final note if you only knew what a schedule could look like at a regional airline most of you woulden't make it through the first day let alone a drive, commute, 5 legs, and minimum rest for 4 days. Another thing Comair itself is big on or atleast was is stand-up overnights. You get in "rest" for about 4 hours and your back in the air.
"TWA... One Mission, Yours."
 
skyharborshome
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 9:45 am

Quoting ANNOYEDFA (Reply 3):
Actually it's the FAA'S fault.

I think many of us respectfully disagree. I have a feeling this one will be in the courts for a long time.
Fly CHD!
 
crogalski
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:06 am

Quoting ANNOYEDFA (Reply 3):
Actually it's the FAA'S fault

Everybody is at fault on this one.. the FAA, the Pilots, and the Lex Tower. It was a stupid mistake, that unfortunately costed 49 lives.
A319 A320 A321 A330 B717 B727 B737 B747 B757 B767 CRJ200 CRJ700 CRJ900 DC9 E145 E190 MD88 Q400 | AA AB B6 CO DL EI FL NK
 
lincoln
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:39 pm

Quoting Crogalski (Reply 5):
Everybody is at fault on this one.. the FAA, the Pilots, and the Lex Tower. It was a stupid mistake, that unfortunately costed 49 lives.

Don't forget to include airport management.

Virtually every major accident is the result of a series of otherwise small mistakes...

If the pilots had checked their heading, the accident may have been avoided.
If there had been two people in the tower, someone may have noticed
If the taxiway had been more clearly marked, the pilots may never have lined up on the wrong runway
If the flight was an hour earlier or an hour later, the absence of runway lighting or additional daylight may have provided sufficient visual cues.
...I could go on...

It is unfourtinate that 49 people's lives were cut short (and one suffered serious injuries) but all of the blame can't land on one person/entity.

Lincoln
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Cactus739
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 12:53 pm

Quoting ANNOYEDFA (Reply 3):
Another thing Comair itself is big on or atleast was is stand-up overnights. You get in "rest" for about 4 hours and your back in the air.

The Comair flight crew's schedule has been public knowledge since right after the incident (note the spelling..with a c, not an s). They were not on a "stand up" overnight. They were all on more than adaquate rest. I'd have to dig through the numerous threads to find out exactly, but I believe the captain flew in Friday and the co-pilot flew in Saturday afternoon with the FA. (or it could be the other way around)

Quoting Crogalski (Reply 5):
costed

Really?
You can't fix stupid.... - Ron White
 
Boston92
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:09 pm

Quoting Milesrich (Reply 2):
It's a b.s. lawsuit

I completely aggree, this is like a sports store getting sued for a gun that caused a murder.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
crogalski
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 2:58 pm

Quoting Cactus739 (Reply 7):
Quoting Crogalski (Reply 5):
costed

Really?

My apologies for the miswording. I think you know what I meant though.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:15 pm

So let me see . . . .

ComAir is filing against the airport because their pilots lined up their plane in the dark on an unlit runway while a perfectly lit runway was crossing directly in front of them and their pilots crashed their plane and as a result 49 of their passengers were tragically killed?  crazy 

I don't dispute the Tower earns some blame for being understaffed.

But this lawsuit is akin to suing the City of Anchorage because I run a redlight that had a burned out bulb against cross traffic and had a massive traffic accident. Ridiculous.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
57AZ
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:52 pm

Quoting SkyHarborsHome (Reply 4):
I have a feeling this one will be in the courts for a long time.

Personally I doubt so. FAA's attorneys will probably get the suit dismissed on legal grounds such as lack of merit. I feel sorry for the pilot that survived as his career is practically over. Most likely his family's financial solvency will be destroyed by the lawsuits resulting from this case as many companies no longer provide legal defense for employees in the conduct of their duties. He made a tragic mistake and 48 innocent passengers and crew perished.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
wukka
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:58 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 10):
But this lawsuit is akin to suing the City of Anchorage because I run a redlight that had a burned out bulb against cross traffic and had a massive traffic accident.

Pep, you just opened a puddle of mud with that comment.

Suing the city of Anchorage? Perhaps not; but you'd be damn sure that I'd be in court claiming my innocence if the bulb was burnt out and I unknowingly entered an intersection without signal or signage.

Especially if I wasn't from the area and had no idea that there was a cross street in my direction of travel.

You'd be hard pressed to find a driver that comes to a random, blind stop without signal or signage to indicate such with the exception of the pizza guy with a burnt out tail light looking for an unfamiliar address.

I'm pretty sure I know (and agree) with your intended premise, but the analogy of the burnt out stoplight that you're proposing sucks balls.  Wink
We can agree to disagree.
 
kellmark
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:13 am

This is a normal part of the process of accident litigation. First of all, the victims (plaintiffs) attorneys will sue any and all parties. This will include Comair, the pilots, the FAA and the airport, maybe even the aircraft manufacturer if there is some basis for that. In addition, each of the defendants will cross-sue against the other defendants, as Comair is doing here. In the end, they all may share some of the blame and liability.

However, having said that, there is a doctrine in the law called "last clear chance". Whomever has the last clear chance to prevent the accident woud have the most liability. In this case, it seems to fall upon the pilots' (airline) actions as they should have known that they were on the wrong runway, simply by checking their heading and noting the lights, signs etc.

But that doesn't mean that there will be no liability for the airport and FAA as well. This will also depend on the particular state law on negligence that is applied and what it says.

Comair is simply doing what any business should do. They are protecting their interests. That doesn't mean that they won't be liable as well.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:30 am

I think I know how the NTSB accident report will read for ComAir 5191;

Cause;
Pilot Error, the flight crew lined up on the wrong runway, and failed to complete an instrument cross check prior to beginning the take off roll.
The flight crew failed to recongnise clues, such as no runway lighting, lighted distance to go signs, and runway heading, to alert them they were departing on the wrong runway.

Contributing Factors;
The departure runway was not long enough for this departure.
The FAA ATCT was not properly manned at the time of the accident.
The flight crew failed to follow the published NOTAMs for LEX.
The flight crew failed to follow ATCT ground control taxi instructions to the proper departure runway.
The flight crew failed to follow departure clearences issued by ATC.
The Pilot in Command failed to use CRM.

The only purpose for the filing of this law suit is to spread the blame, and reduce any possible pay outs ComAir will have to make.

Quoting Milesrich (Reply 2):
It's a b.s. lawsuit. If the flight crew had checked their heading, before proceeding down an unlit runway, there would have been no accident.

 checkmark 

Quoting B6JFKH81 (Reply 1):
I can see where Comair is coming from on this, but can also see a lot of pushback. All I hope is that the litigation does not take such a long time that it hurts the families of the deceased.

This action by ComAir already shows they could care less about the surviving family members. All they want to do now is reduce their own liability and responsibility for this needless crash. This suit is all about the money.....ComAir's, and their insurance carrier's money.
 
PanAm747
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:38 am

Quote:
This is a normal part of the process of accident litigation.

Quite correct. It is also standard operating procedure to file any and all lawsuits before the statute of limitations kicks in.

Many, if not most, are dropped later when the causes become clearer, but it is done specifically "just in case".

It's rough, but that's the way it works.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
zotan
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:46 am

What a BS lawsuit ...

Sec. 91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
 
kellmark
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:57 am

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 16):
What a BS lawsuit ...

Sec. 91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

You are absolutely right and that will be determined by the court as far as liability.

However, you are forgetting that ATC also has a responsibility and the airport also has a responsibility to design appropriate layouts and markings.

I remember a few years ago, when Miami implemented its new runway,(8-26) they numbered it in a way that there were quite a few incidents where aircraft that were cleared to land on 9L landed on 8 by mistake, because it was to the left of 9L. Then they renumbered it to 8L and 8R and those mistakes have now been solved. And in that situation the pilots all had the proper plates etc. But the runway layout was simply confusing, as it was in LEX with the taxi layout that had been modified.

Also, keep in mind that whatever the NTSB says in their final report, (and I think that they will spread the blame where it belongs), the actual findings of probable cause are not usable in a civil court for liability purposes.

The civil case will use evidence and their own experts.
 
trvyyz
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:11 am

Sorry if it may sound strange, but I have a feeling that this accident would not have happened if it was some other airport. It was already known that the two RWYs were confusing and even more so due to the recent construction. Not a means of discount to the pilots( they made a mistake), but if one of the above was was in order , it wouldn't have happened.

The airport/authority should have forseen a possiblity of an a/c taking a wrong rwy and should have taken clear steps to avoid such a mistake.

From a safety point of view (as a electrical safety engineer myself), a single fault is always anticipated ie, a single fault should not cause any danger.
 
DCAYOW
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:37 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 10):
their pilots lined up their plane in the dark on an unlit runway while a perfectly lit runway was crossing directly in front of them and their pilots crashed their plane and as a result 49 of their passengers were tragically killed?

I have heard, but can't verify that the runway used was at a slightly different elevation that the main runway - that is its sunk a bit at the end. I was told because of a slight hump they couldn't see the other runway from end of the shorter runway, only when they crossed or came over the hump could they realize that a mistake was in progress. That does however prompt the question of why an abort procedure was not initiated.
Retorne ao céu...
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:55 am

Quoting TRVYYZ (Reply 18):
It was already known that the two RWYs were confusing and even more so due to the recent construction.

All the more reason to know what you are doing, and where you are on the airport.

Quoting DCAYOW (Reply 19):
I have heard, but can't verify that the runway used was at a slightly different elevation that the main runway - that is its sunk a bit at the end. I was told because of a slight hump they couldn't see the other runway from end of the shorter runway, only when they crossed or came over the hump could they realize that a mistake was in progress. That does however prompt the question of why an abort procedure was not initiated

Those are additional clues this crew should have noticed. Remember, this crew had flown into and out of LEX many times before the accident.
 
rongotai
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:06 am

I find it extraordinary that 16 years after the publication of Reason's 'Human Error' and at least 10 years after it's principles have been largely incorporated into crash investigation practices globally, there are still people who basically take the position that ALL the blame attaches to the flight crew.
 
xjramper
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:20 am

Quoting Rongotai (Reply 21):
I find it extraordinary that 16 years after the publication of Reason's 'Human Error' and at least 10 years after it's principles have been largely incorporated into crash investigation practices globally, there are still people who basically take the position that ALL the blame attaches to the flight crew.

Well....it does.

While everyone has agreed with the fact that there were multiple parties involved that may have been able to prevent it, there is only one real responsible party in this accident.

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 16):
Sec. 91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

No matter what ATC tells us, we as pilot in commands are ultimately responsible. Simple as that!

XJR
Look ma' no hands!
 
riyadhnurse
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:23 am

Wasn't lack of sleep and "fatigue" reported by the crew and controller in the news? That in it self plays havoc with your thought process and ability to concentrate. Very sad it happened at all.
Tongue-tied and twisted,just an earthbound misfit,I.
 
kaddyuk
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:58 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
Pilot Error, the flight crew lined up on the wrong runway, and failed to complete an instrument cross check prior to beginning the take off roll.

The flight crew failed to recongnise clues, such as no runway lighting, lighted distance to go signs, and runway heading, to alert them they were departing on the wrong runway.

The first is not an FAA required procedure. Nor is it a mandated company procedure. If they're not trained to perform such an action then you cant expect them to perform it...

The second is a situational error and not necessarily fault of the pilots. Again unless their procedures tell them to check for these things, you cant expect them to perform such actions...

This is from the article for those who neglected to read it yet still pass judgement...

Quote:
The administrative action against the FAA is "a required procedural step" to any claim for damages against the United States based on the agency's actions, Comair said in a news release.

You only have a certain period of time to file against whoever. This is before the official reports are concluded. So they file, wait for the result and if they can... persue the claim, if not it is dropped post haste...
Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
 
oldtimer
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:25 am

I have never read a such a bunch of bull in all my life. Not one of the experts condemming the poor flight crew, with one exception has an a/c related job. We all have our ideas on what happened here. Non of you experts. including of all people an attorney who should know better, have the faintetest idea of what really went down here. Pilots do not just take off the wrong way, there is a reason for it. The Capt. handing over to the FO, expected to be home for his dinner that night too.
Lets wait for the official NTSB report. Your guesses may be correct, but at the moment they are still guesses.

Kellmark, you at least spoke sense and even with your qualifications, you do not claim to be an expert. You are on my respected users list
Oldtimer
Oldtimer, I should have known better!
 
redflyer
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:00 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 6):
If the pilots had checked their heading, the accident may have been avoided.
If there had been two people in the tower, someone may have noticed
If the taxiway had been more clearly marked, the pilots may never have lined up on the wrong runway
If the flight was an hour earlier or an hour later, the absence of runway lighting or additional daylight may have provided sufficient visual cues.

You forgot one: if the pilots had not been so complacent.

Quoting TRVYYZ (Reply 18):
The airport/authority should have forseen a possiblity of an a/c taking a wrong rwy and should have taken clear steps to avoid such a mistake.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful to you; however, your argument would have some merit if the runways were on the same compass heading, as is the case with airports that have parallel runways. The runway the Comair flight took off on has a compass heading that is 40 degrees more to the West (260 degrees) than the runway they were supposed to use (220 degrees). A simple check of their compass before they throttled up would have avoided this mess entirely.

Do you also realize that there are many commuter flights into non-towered airports? Who would be left to blame had this accident occurred at one of those?

In the final analysis, the pilots were the ones that directly caused this accident.
My other home is in the sky inside my Piper Cherokee 180.
 
trvyyz
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:17 am

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 26):
I'm not trying to be disrespectful to you; however, your argument would have some merit if the runways were on the same compass heading, as is the case with airports that have parallel runways.

Ok, i am not an aviation guy other than being a spotter. But my question is, Is the Compass Check mandatory before all take-offs? Is it there in the checklist? sorry about my ignorance about this?

In my field (product safety), I have to assume the worst case taking all the possibilties of mistakes.
I am just trying to compare the scenario with my profession (may be apples and oranges).
 
redflyer
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:45 pm

Quoting TRVYYZ (Reply 27):
But my question is, Is the Compass Check mandatory before all take-offs? Is it there in the checklist? sorry about my ignorance about this?

Can't speak for commercial flying, but as a private pilot I do look at the compass as I line up on the runway. Why? Not because it's part of a "checklist", but because that is what I was taught in flight school. I remember distinctly being taught that, if for no other reason, to ensure I was on the correct runway at an airport with DIVERGENT runways. I emphasis "divergent" because checking the compass does no good if you're at an airport with parallel runways since both will give you the same compass heading (roughly). LEX had divergent runways.
My other home is in the sky inside my Piper Cherokee 180.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:02 pm

Quoting Wukka (Reply 12):
Pep, you just opened a puddle of mud with that comment.

Suing the city of Anchorage? Perhaps not; but you'd be damn sure that I'd be in court claiming my innocence if the bulb was burnt out and I unknowingly entered an intersection without signal or signage.

Lets take an "interesting intersection" for instance . . . how about Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road. If I'm traveling West on Lake Otis, and want to travel straight through the intersection, but I see no light and cross traffic, what's the safest assumption to make? That a) the RED light must be burned out and b) since there is cross traffic I probably oughta stop. It's not the cities fault, or the fault of the cross traffic, or the fault of the lady down the block, if a say screw it and barrel on through. Not to mention, it's in the Drivers handbook that in the event of a lack of a traffic control device, it is to be considered a Stop sign.  wink 

Quoting Wukka (Reply 12):
I'm pretty sure I know (and agree) with your intended premise, but the analogy of the burnt out stoplight that you're proposing sucks balls.  wink /quote]

 rotfl  It was late, or early depending on your hemishpere, I coulda ddone better.  biggrin 



[quote=DCAYOW,reply=19] I was told because of a slight hump they couldn't see the other runway from end of the shorter runway, only when they crossed or came over the hump could they realize that a mistake was in progress.

I would call BS on that . . . here's why:

Look at the link. Look how close together the ends of 26 and 22 are. And I'm very familiar with that airport. It's not a couple hundred feet at best one point to the other. No way they could have missed a lighted RWY 22. Hell you can see the ends of both 22 and 26 from the US Airways gate area inside the terminal. No way the flight crew could have missed that.

http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0610/00697AD.PDF

Quoting Riyadhnurse (Reply 23):
Wasn't lack of sleep and "fatigue" reported by the crew and controller in the news?

Crew was well rested. More than a day in LEX before the crash. ATC was on 2 hours sleep, but he had the required amount of time off between shifts, he simply failed to rest.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
robsawatsky
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:35 pm

Quoting Xjramper (Reply 22):
Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 16):
Sec. 91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.

(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

No matter what ATC tells us, we as pilot in commands are ultimately responsible. Simple as that!

If that is true, then the passengers' families should only be suing the surviving pilot and the estate of the deceased pilot. Your interpretation of the regulation you are quoting for the purposes of determining ultimate civil liability is far beyond its scope.
 
wukka
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RE: Comair Sues Lex Airport, Files Against FAA

Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:53 pm

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 29):
how about Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road. If I'm traveling West on Lake Otis, and want to travel straight through the intersection, but I see no light and cross traffic, what's the safest assumption to make? That a) the RED light must be burned out and b) since there is cross traffic I probably oughta stop. It's not the cities fault, or the fault of the cross traffic, or the fault of the lady down the block, if a say screw it and barrel on through. Not to mention, it's in the Drivers handbook that in the event of a lack of a traffic control device, it is to be considered a Stop sign.

I completely understand what you're saying... but I still think that your analogy is flawed. However, the more flawed it is leads to an even more interesting discussion.

You're assuming that you know the roadway and the road systems around you... hell, in your analogy, you even know the street names before you get there.

Look at the other side.

Let's say that some kids stole the stop sign at one intersection of a two-way, and I'm the driver of a family of 5, unfamiliar with the local roadways, and we are on our way home across the country at midnight in our '77 Ford LTD station wagon on a 55 mph rural route.

That intersection isn't lit, nor does it have signage since the kids have stolen it.

I enter a completely unlit, unmarked (no stop sign since the kids stole it) at 45 (10 under the posted speed limit) and get myself and my entire family killed by a lumber rig at the cross. He sees no stop, and I see no stop... and now there's a bunch of non-living people that the local authorities get to clean up.

The blame can go to the kids stealing the sign for manslaughter, it can go to me for "failure to yeild", the municipality for not putting up a "stop ahead" sign (and/or flashers or overhead lighting)... hell, you might even be able to blame the lumber rig for being over maximum gross if he was carrying one too many logs.

It's mud.

I'm sure that my dead body would probably be cited with not seeing and stopping my 77 LTD station wagon cruising along at 45 in the 55 (because I'm not familiar with the area) before that oh-so-very brief split in the double yellow that crosses the intersection.

That's fine. Cite me. I probably won't care because myself and my fictional family are dead.

The only ones to pursue now are the kids that jacked the stop sign.

What I'm getting at is that although I may have been in the wrong as far as the driving handbook is concerned, and killed my entire family in the process; is it really *really* totally and entirely my fault?

You're a law enforcement officer... who do you blame when that deer runs out in front of someone, gets hit, and impales a passenger in a car? Were there "DEER XING" signs posted on that stretch of roadway?

Thank you for upholding the law to the best of your ability *at that particular moment*. We need people like you as a society, and for that, I give you much respect.

Outside of that, the rest is left to jurisprudence.

That's why I claim that your original argument is clear as mud.
We can agree to disagree.