Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pilots Needed Apply Inside ... Literacy Optional

Comair Flight 5191 departing Blue Grass Airport Lexington, Kentucky crashed yesterday morning killing all 47 passengers and two of the three crew members on board, only the flight's first officer survived but sustained critical injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that the control tower did not have the required amount of personnel inside, as mandated by the FAA, to safely operate. What's worse is that a review of the recorded airport radio communications revealed that flight 5191 was cleared for takeoff on runway 22 and the pilot, again required by law, repeated his clearance for runway 22 back to the controller ... yet somehow attempted to depart on runway 26. Obviously the screening process for pilots is not nearly as rigorous as it is for the passengers. As if missing the taxi signs that indicate which runway you're about to enter weren't enough, the ace pilot also missed the painted numbers on the runway, the fact that the runway lights were not even lit signifying a closed runway, never bothered to check the compass heading (which would coincide with the runway number), and must have been too busy to listen to the airport ATIS before takeoff. It's comforting to know that commercial airline passengers are forbidden from packing even they're basic essential toiletries in the name of homeland security, and the people at the stick and rudder can't even read.


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