Monday, August 28, 2006

A 5 Year Run Has Ended

US commercial aviation had an amazing 5 year period where there had been no major incidents. This ended Sunday morning, when Delta Connection flight 5191 crashed.

when I first heard of the event Sunday morning, my initial thought was pilot error. There have been a couple of notable takeoff accidents related to mechanical failure (Chicago DC-10 as example), but the overwhelming majority of accidents that occur at this stage of flight are going to be pilot error.

Later in the day it became clear that my initial thought was most likely correct. The plane tried to use the very short General aviation runway. From my view, hundreds of miles away, this strip was not a viable option, and was clearly used in error.

In a few weeks the NTSB will start to produce real findings. I suspect these will not be kind to the flight crew. Other factors that will no doubt be cited was the fact that the field in Lexington was repaved within the last few weeks, a dead heading pilot was flying in the jump seas (at least early reports indicate as much), and a tower with a very limited staff on duty.

The flight recorders were quickly collected, and data from those should be coming out soon, and should provide more information to see if the early indicators of what went wrong have any validity.



dancewater said...

I think your assessment of the cause of this crash is likely correct,
but the '5 year' claim is not... a plane went down in NYC in early 2002, and all died on board.

John said...

You are right, I did round it up.
AA flt 587 went down, but it was Nov 2001.

And a turboprop went down in NC Jazn 2002, lets call it 4.7 years


eric said...

the commuter jet from charlotte to greenville a few years back doesn't count?


John said...

another turboprop