Uncovering the Mystery of Flight 5191

Comair Flight 5191 was a regional jet flight operated by Comair under the Delta Connection brand. The flight became involved in a tragic accident on August 27, 2006.

Key Details:

  • Date: August 27, 2006.
  • Airline: Comair (Delta Connection).
  • Flight: Comair Flight 5191.
  • Aircraft: Bombardier Canadair CRJ-100ER.
  • Route: Lexington Blue Grass Airport (LEX) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Timeline of Events:

  1. Early Morning Departure:
    • Comair Flight 5191 was a scheduled early morning flight from Lexington, Kentucky, to Atlanta, Georgia.
  2. Runway Selection Error:
    • The aircraft taxied to the wrong runway, Runway 26, which was too short for a commercial jet departure. The appropriate runway for the CRJ-100ER was Runway 22.
  3. Takeoff Attempt:
    • At 6:07 AM, Flight 5191 attempted takeoff from Runway 26. The aircraft failed to become airborne and overran the end of the runway.
  4. Fatal Crash:
    • Flight 5191 crashed in a field less than a mile from the end of Runway 26. The impact resulted in a post-crash fire.
  5. Casualties:
    • Of the 47 people on board, 49 died, including the entire flight crew and all but one passenger. The only survivor was the first officer.

Investigation Findings:

The investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed several contributing factors:

  • Crew Fatigue:
    • The flight crew had not gotten sufficient rest before the flight, contributing to lapses in attention and judgment.
  • Cockpit Procedures:
    • The cockpit crew did not complete the required checklists and failed to recognize the incorrect runway.
  • Lack of Crew Coordination:
    • The crew did not effectively cross-check each other’s actions, and the first officer did not catch the captain’s mistake in selecting the wrong runway.
  • Airport Lighting:
    • The approach lighting for Runway 22 was not operating, which might have contributed to the crew’s confusion.

Legacy and Changes:

  • The Comair Flight 5191 accident led to increased awareness of the importance of proper crew rest and fatigue management in aviation.
  • It prompted discussions about runway safety and the need for enhanced procedures to prevent runway selection errors.
  • The tragedy also highlighted the significance of effective crew communication and cross-checking during critical phases of flight.

The crash of Comair Flight 5191 was a devastating event, and the findings from the investigation contributed to improvements in safety procedures within the aviation industry. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to enhance aviation safety and prevent similar accidents in the future.

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