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NTSB Preliminary Report


On August 27, 2006, about 6:07 a.m., Comair flight
5191, a Bombardier CRJ-100, (N431CA) crashed upon takeoff
from Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. Of the 47
passengers and 3 crewmembers onboard, 49 were fatally
injured and one (the first officer) survived in critical
condition. The following is an update of factual information
developed during the Safety Board's investigation.

Washington, DC --The Safety Board has completed the on-scene
portion of the investigation. All of the investigative
groups will be completing factual reports, which will be
released to the public when the public docket is opened in
the next several months.

Accident Sequence
Flight 5191, from Lexington, Kentucky to Atlanta, Georgia,
was the third of three airplanes scheduled to take off in
the early morning. The previous two departures took off
without incident from runway 22. Flight 5191 was also
cleared to taxi to runway 22 and subsequently cleared for
takeoff; however, the airplane attempted to take off from
runway 26. According to recorded information, the aircraft
began its takeoff roll, accelerated to a maximum of about
137 knots, ran off the end of the runway through the airport
perimeter fence, and impacted trees on an adjacent horse
farm. The entire sequence took about 36 seconds. The
airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash
fire.

Aircraft Wreckage
Witness marks on scene indicate that all three landing gear
were on the ground as the airplane exited the runway. The
main wreckage was located approximately 1,800 feet from the
end of the runway. Both engines were examined at the
accident site and no evidence of pre-impact failure was
noted and the thrust reversers were stowed. The flaps were
found in the takeoff position and no problems were noted
with any other airplane system or structure. The wreckage
from flight 5191 has been moved to a storage facility in
Georgia.

Recorders
The flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice
recorder (CVR) were recovered immediately and have provided
valuable information. Investigators are continuing to
extract data from the flight recorders, the air traffic
control tape recordings and airport video surveillance
cameras. FDR data indicate that the airplane stopped near
the end of runway 26 for about 45 seconds before the flight
was cleared for takeoff. The airplane was cleared for
takeoff and 6 seconds later started to taxi onto runway 26.
It took about 36 seconds for the airplane to taxi onto runway 26
and complete the turn before power was increased to initiate
the takeoff. FDR vertical accelerometer data indicate that
the airplane departed the end of the runway about 32 seconds
after the takeoff was initiated. The FDR recording ended
about 4 seconds later. Time correlation of those data
continues.

Operations/Human Performance
Operations/Human Performance group has completed initial
follow-up interviews at Comair headquarters in Covington,
KY. The group conducted airport observations under day and
night conditions; a simulator observation of Comair taxi and
takeoff procedures; and interviews with multiple persons
including: ramp personnel, flight instructors, check airmen,
and several pilots who had flown with the accident flight
crew. These interviews provided investigators with
information about procedures and techniques used by pilots
for taxi and takeoff runway identification and information
about the accident flightcrew. Additionally, the Director
of Corporate Safety for Comair and FAA personnel responsible
for oversight of the Comair certificate were interviewed.
The group gathered relevant documents pertaining to the
accident flight, flight crew training and evaluation,
operations of the CRJ100, and oversight of the airline.
Investigators are now reviewing interview summaries and
documentation to identify areas for further investigation
and evaluation. The group continues to evaluate the pilot
actions that led to the attempted takeoff on runway 26.

Airport Information/Survival Factors
Runway 22 is 7003 feet long, 150 feet wide, and is lighted
for nighttime use. Runway 26 is 3500 feet long, 150 feet
wide but marked to 75 feet wide, and is not lighted and is
restricted to daytime use only. In order to take off from
runway 22 it is necessary to taxi across the end of runway
26. An airport construction project, begun in 2004, was
still underway at LEX at the time of the accident. The
project was intended to mill and repave runway 4-22 and
upgrade the safety areas at both ends of runway 4-22, the
main runway. This project necessitated changes to some of
the taxiways and signage. The group continues to evaluate
the airport taxiway and runway markings, lighting and
signage as well as additional information that was available
to pilots. The Airport/Survival Factors Group will also be
documenting the factors that may have contributed to the
loss of lives in this accident.

Air Traffic Control
At the time of the accident, there was one air traffic
controller in the tower. After handling several aircraft at
the beginning of his shift, there were several hours without
aircraft movements. In the 20 minutes leading up to the
accident, there were three departures, including Comair
5191, from LEX under his control. The ATC group has
interviewed several Lexington control tower personnel and
FAA air traffic personnel. The controller on duty at the
time of the accident relayed the following information to
investigators: he cleared the accident flight crew to take
off (from runway 22) and to fly runway heading (220
degrees); after providing takeoff clearance for flight 5191,
he turned away from the window to perform an administrative
task (traffic count); he did not witness the accident, but
heard the crash, turned around and saw fire, and immediately
activated the emergency response. As in all investigations,
the group will review the controller's workload and duty
schedule and the tower staffing level.

Toxicological Test
Toxicology testing performed on specimens from both pilots
did not detect any illicit substances or alcohol. An over
the counter decongestant, pseudoephedrine, was detected at a
low level in the first officer's blood.

Post Accident FAA Action
On September 1, 2006, the FAA issued a Safety Alert for
Operators (SAFO), titled, "Flight Crew Techniques and
Procedures that Enhance Pre-takeoff and Takeoff Safety."
This alert highlights existing FAA aircraft ground operation
guidance and reminds flightcrews that maximum attention
should be placed upon maintaining situational awareness
during taxi operations.


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