NTSB report praised with some exceptions

JPATTON1@HERALD-LEADER.COM, BORTIZ@HERALD-LEADER.COMJuly 27, 2007 

— Reaction to the NTSB's report was swift from several of the parties most involved.

Before the board meeting, the Federal Aviation Administration reiterated that safety enhancements were coming later this year, including "moving map" displays for cockpits and a revamping of the outdated Notices to Airmen system, or NOTAMS.

The Air Line Pilots Association said the board adopted many of the recommendations it had submitted during the investigation. But union officials said they thought the air traffic controller's inattention to the runway should have been a contributing cause.

The moving map technology recommended by the NTSB is no different than the GPS you can buy as an option in a $24,000 Toyota "that is the envy of every pilot," said Philip E. Stasik, an Orlando-based pilot for Comair and union representative.

Better runway markings can be cheaply and easily made with a can of paint and a stencil, he said. "This is not rocket science," he said.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Associations, the union that represents controllers, said it was disappointed that the NTSB did not include inadequate controller staffing as a contributing cause to the crash.

"I think they missed the boat," NATCA president Patrick Forrey said.

If a second controller had been working in the tower, he would have been responsible for performing the traffic counts that distracted controller Christopher Damron as Flight 5191 lined up on the wrong runway, Forrey said. NATCA has maintained that the accident could have been prevented if two controllers were working in the tower.

NATCA and the FAA have been involved in a nasty labor dispute.

Forrey said he is pleased the board did not personally place blame with the air traffic controller. "It is ridiculous to believe" the controller contributed to the accident, he said.

Comair president Don Bornhorst, who attended the meeting, issued a statement thanking the board for its "diligent efforts."

"Comair's commitment -- and hopefully the commitment of all parties involved in this accident -- is to acknowledge responsibility and move forward to continue to improve safety," Bornhorst said.

Blue Grass Airport released a statement commending the investigation, which largely cleared the airport.

"The NTSB has done an outstanding job of gathering and analyzing the facts under the most difficult circumstances," the airport said.comair, the unions, the faa react

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