Re: Say a prayer for those killed in the plane crash...
I *think* ATC has to confirm that an aircraft they are clearing for takeoff is, in fact, on the correct runway when they issue the "cleared for takeoff" command. Bluegrass field is pretty small and IIRC the tower has a clear view of the ends of both runways in question. So they could have easily accertained the aircraft was on rwy 26 (which was unlit) instead of rwy 22 (which is fully lighted) visually as the weather was reported as "clear". But aiport enviornments can be very confusing at night with the large number of lights, signs and other information one has to absorb, process and act on (even at a relativley small field like LEX).
OTOH, ATC may have issued clearance for takeoff while the aircraft was taxiing and ATC *possibly* didn't assure that the aircraft was in the correct position on the airfield. ATC may have also issued a clearance to take off that did not require the Pilot in Command to "taxi in position and hold" (meaning the aircraft moves onto the rwy, comes to a complete stop and waits for hte next ATC command) which isn't unrealistic since the airport would have had minimal traffic movements at that time. The PIC may have elected to roll from the taxiway onto the runway and commence the takeoff without any hesitation. Thus, the ATC would not have had time to notice the error if their attentions were elsewhere.
At the end of the day, however, the PIC has absoulte responsibity to ensure the safety of his aircraft prior to any manuver. If ATC says "dive your aircraft into the ground" the PIC can choose to ignore the command.
Rwy 26 is both unlit and is only 75' wide as opposed to rwy 22 which is 150' wide and lighted. So some visual cues, even though it was dark, were available to the crew to help them realize something was amiss. But again, it was dark, raining and there may have been other factors possibly distracting the crew all culminating in them pulling onto rwy 26 instead of rwy 22. The entry point of both rwys are fairly close to each other so it may have "seemed" like they had taxied far enough to be on the correct runway.
My guess is this accident, like most, is the result of a chain of events that culminated in the tragic loss of life. If the ATC wasn't taking a smoke break, if the co-pilot wasn't timid, if the pilot wasn't dislexic, if a flock of birds didn't distract the crew, etc etc. (that's just an example, not the facts in question).
BTW, I am NOT a pilot nor pretend to be. So I don't claim that all of the above is correct information, just my best understanding.
a super volcano of ridonkulous suckitude.
I simply don't have access to a "cares about RBI" place in my psyche. There is a "mildly curious about OBI%" alcove just before the acid filled lake guarded by robot snipers with lasers which leads to the "cares about RBI" antechamber though. - Nate
Last edited by Ltlabner; 08-28-2006 at 12:10 PM.