Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Category: <span>Comair</span>

Comair Flight Returns to Johannesburg After Bird Strike

Comair flight MN-233 had to return and make an emergency landing in Johannesburg, South Africa, on February 8th.

The Boeing 737-400 plane took off for Port Elizabeth, South Africa, but had to return shortly afterwards due to a bird strike.

The plane landed safely. All passengers and crew members remained unharmed.

British Airways Jet Crash-Lands in South Africa; No injuries Reported

British airwaysBritish Airways jet crash-landed at O. R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa, on October 26.

The Boeing 737-400 plane, operating as Comair flight BA6234, was flying from Port Elizabeth, Cape Town when its left landing gear collapsed upon landing.

There were 94 passengers and 6 crew members aboard at the time; all of them remained unhurt.

An airline spokesperson confirmed the incident and said, “Comair and the relevant authorities will be conducting the necessary investigation over the coming days and weeks. As soon as more information is on hand we will be releasing it to the media.”

Comair jet struck by Air France Airbus on the ground.

What: Air France Airbus 380 en route from NY to Paris
Where: JFK, NY
When: April 11, 2011
Who: Air France Airbus passengers; and Comair passengers;
Why: A Delta/Comair Bombardier CRJ-700 (N641CA) which had just flown in from Boston was struck in the tail by the left wing of an Airbus.

There were no injuries, but a lot of inconvenience, plus damage to both planes. (The Comair left horizontal stabilizer and the Airbus wingtip.) The Air France flight was cancelled because of the damage. Both flights were cancelled, although the Air France flight hadn’t gone anywhere. The Air France passengers had to disembark and retrieve their luggage as alternatives for reaching their destination were sorted out.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Comair Flight Resurrects Spector of Tragedy

Pictured: The team lost in the 1970 crash

What: Comair flight en route from Atlanta to Charleston
Where: Lexington Bluegrass Airport
When: Mar 10, 2011
Who: passengers include 9 Marshall assistant football coaches
Why: After visiting Texas Christian University and Mississippi state, Marshall coaches reunited in Atlanta with the intent of returning to Atlanta on the same plane.

Prior to takeoff, that plane developed unknown issues and the flight was delayed as a replacement plane had to be brought in.

Then, while en route, the replacement plane developed a problem with the landing gear. The pilot diverted to Lexington Bluegrass Airport and made a safe landing.

While they apparently endured the flight with aplomb and some extra prayers, there was no outward panic, but one can only guess how the coaches felt. With two problems on two separate planes, they were no doubt remembering the fatal 1970 plane crash that took Marshall’s football team. Is Marshall University cursed or what? If I went to Marshall, or especially played football for Marshall, I’dt be thinking about alternative transportation.

Delta Diverts to Dayton

What: Delta/Comair Canadair CRJ-100 en route from Columbus, OH to Minneapolis, MN
Where: Dayton
When: Sep 16 2010
Who: 50 aboard
Why: After takeoff, the plane alerted that it developed engine problems. Pilots diverted the flight to Dayton, and made a safe landing.

A few hours later, passengers were provided an alternative flight to Minneapolis.

Comair Machinists withdraw from FAA’s ASAP

Delta Air Lines regional subsidiary of Machinists at Comair have withdrawn from the ASAP program, a 2008 initiative between the machinists union, Comair and the FAA was designed to identify potential aircraft maintenance-related safety issues and develop corrective action.

However, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) describe the ambitious program as dysfuntional, as Comair’s anti-collaborative procedure is to take action against union members who submitted voluntary reports.

The official press release is below:

Machinists Withdraw From Comair ASAP Program

Mon. August 02, 2010
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 142 today announced it has withdrawn from the maintenance Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) at Delta Air Lines’ regional subsidiary Comair.

“We have discussed the problems with this dysfunctional program with both Comair and the FAA for months.” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “We no longer have any faith that this program will ever be managed according to the regulations.”

The ASAP program, a joint initiative between the Machinists Union, Comair and the FAA in place since 2008, was designed to identify potential aircraft maintenance-related safety issues and develop corrective actions to improve air transportation safety. The program is dependant upon technicians submitting reports which are then reviewed by an Event Review Committee (ERC) comprised of FAA, Comair and Machinists Union representatives. The ERC then identifies any problems or systemic issues and develop corrective solutions to prevent a future reoccurrence.

The ASAP program is designed to take place without the reporting technician having to fear any punitive or disciplinary actions. Comair has taken actions against Machinist Union members who have submitted voluntary reports, contrary to the letter and spirit of the FAA’s ASAP program. Additionally, Comair has failed to provide a collaborative environment needed for an effective program to work.

“We should not have to wait for an accident to occur before addressing safety issues,” said Higginbotham. “We are disappointed that Comair failed to take this program, which is effective and runs well at over 35 other carriers, seriously.”

IAM District 142 represents 530 Comair Mechanic and Related employees in Cincinnati, OH; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Greensboro and Raleigh-Durham, NC and Detroit, MI. More information about the IAM at Comair is available at www.iamdl142.org.

Comair fined $275,000

Violating regulations on bumping passengers from overbooked flights has landed Delta’s subsidiary Comair a $275,000 fine from the Department of Transportation.

Federal rules require that overbooked flights seek volunteers to give up their seats for compensation, and if no volunteers are found, a written statement must be provided, along with financial compensation.

Comair filed inaccurate reports regarding how many passengers were denied boarding.

Buffalo: Comair Icing Problem

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Frank Robitaille

What: Delta/Comair Canadair CRJ-100 en route from New York City to Buffalo
Where: Buffalo Niagara International Airport
When: Mar 14th 2010 11:45 a.m.
Who: 53 passengers
Why: While en route ten minutes before landing, the flight crew reported their left engine anti-ice system had developed a problem. They landed safely.

Is “anti-ice” system a synonym for pitot tubes? If so, please note that this non-fly-by-wire plane managed to land safely in spite of whatever problems developed.

Emergency Landing in S.C.

Pictured: Delta Connection (Comair) Canadair CL-600-2C10 Regional Jet CRJ-701ER over Atlanta. This one is purely a guess on my part since the info is sketchy (so far) and no registration # yet. But this jet is both Comair and Delta and CRJ, and south, so we’re probably not too far off.
Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Agustin Anaya

What: Delta ComAir CRJ en route from New York to Charleston
Where: Myrtle Beach
When: Jan 29
Who: 17 passengers
Why: While en route, the plane developed smoke in the cockpit and made an emergency landing in Myrtle Beach, about 100 miles north of Charleston.

Comair Crash: Kentucky 2006-Findings

Lexington: U.S. District Judge Karl Forester ruled that two pilots who took off on the wrong runway were negligent in the August 2006 Comair crash.

A jury is deciding if punitive damages will apply.

On August 27, 2006, about 0606:35 eastern daylight time, Comair flight 5191, a Bombardier CL-600-2B19, N431CA, crashed during takeoff from Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Kentucky. The flight crew was instructed to take off from runway 22 but instead lined up the airplane on runway 26 and began the takeoff roll. The airplane ran off the end of the runway and impacted the airport perimeter fence, trees, and terrain. The captain, flight attendant, and 47 passengers were killed, and the first officer received serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 and was en route to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed.


1) The captain and the first officer were properly certificated and qualified under Federal regulations. There was no evidence of any medical or behavioral conditions that might have adversely affected their performance during the accident flight. Before reporting for the accident flight, the flight crewmembers had rest periods that were longer than those required by Federal regulations and company policy.

2) The accident airplane was properly certified, equipped, and maintained in accordance with Federal regulations. The recovered components showed no evidence of any structural, engine, or system failures.

3) Weather was not a factor in this accident. No restrictions to visibility occurred during the airplane’s taxi to the runway and the attempted takeoff. The taxi and the attempted takeoff occurred about 1 hour before sunrise during night visual meteorological conditions and with no illumination from the moon.

4) The captain and the first officer believed that the airplane was on runway 22 when they taxied onto runway 26 and initiated the takeoff roll.

5) The flight crew recognized that something was wrong with the takeoff beyond the point from which the airplane could be stopped on the remaining available runway.

6) Because the accident airplane had taxied onto and taken off from runway 26 without a clearance to do so, this accident was a runway incursion.

7) Adequate cues existed on the airport surface and available resources were present in the cockpit to allow the flight crew to successfully navigate from the air carrier ramp to the runway 22 threshold.

8) The flight crewmembers’ nonpertinent conversation during the taxi, which was not in compliance with Federal regulations and company policy, likely contributed to their loss of positional awareness.

9) The flight crewmembers failed to recognize that they were initiating a takeoff on the wrong runway because they did not cross-check and confirm the airplane’s position on the runway before takeoff and they were likely influenced by confirmation bias.

10) Even though the flight crewmembers made some errors during their preflight activities and the taxi to the runway, there was insufficient evidence to determine whether fatigue affected their performance.

11) The flight crew’s noncompliance with standard operating procedures, including the captain’s abbreviated taxi briefing and both pilots’ nonpertinent conversation, most likely created an atmosphere in the cockpit that enabled the crew’s errors.

12) The controller did not notice that the flight crew had stopped the airplane short of the wrong runway because he did not anticipate any problems with the airplane’s taxi to the correct runway and thus was paying more attention to his radar responsibilities than his tower responsibilities.

13) The controller did not detect the flight crew’s attempt to take off on the wrong runway because, instead of monitoring the airplane’s departure, he performed a lower-priority administrative task that could have waited until he transferred responsibility for the airplane to the next air traffic control facility.

14) The controller was most likely fatigued at the time of the accident, but the extent that fatigue affected his decision not to monitor the airplane’s departure could not be determined in part because his routine practices did not consistently include the monitoring of takeoffs.

15) The Federal Aviation Administration’s operational policies and procedures at the time of the accident were deficient because they did not promote optimal controller monitoring of aircraft surface operations.

16) The first officer’s survival was directly attributable to the prompt arrival of the first responders; their ability to extricate him from the cockpit wreckage; and his rapid transport to the hospital, where he received immediate treatment.

17) The emergency response for this accident was timely and well coordinated.

18) A standard procedure requiring 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91K, 121, and 135 pilots to confirm and cross-check that their airplane is positioned at the correct runway before crossing the hold short line and initiating a takeoff would help to improve the pilots’ positional awareness during surface operations.

19) The implementation of cockpit moving map displays or cockpit runway alerting systems on air carrier aircraft would enhance flight safety by providing pilots with improved positional awareness during surface navigation.

20) Enhanced taxiway centerline markings and surface painted holding position signs provide pilots with additional awareness about the runway and taxiway environment.

21) This accident demonstrates that 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91.129(i) might result in mistakes that have catastrophic consequences because the regulation allows an airplane to cross a runway during taxi without a pilot request for a specific clearance to do so.

22) If controllers were required to delay a takeoff clearance until confirming that an airplane has crossed all intersecting runways to a departure runway, the increased monitoring of the flight crew’s surface navigation would reduce the likelihood of wrong runway takeoff events.

23) If controllers were to focus on monitoring tasks instead of administrative tasks when aircraft are in the controller’s area of operations, the additional monitoring would increase the probability of detecting flight crew errors.

24) Even though the air traffic manager’s decision to staff midnight shifts at Blue Grass Airport with one controller was contrary to Federal Aviation Administration verbal guidance indicating that two controllers were needed, it cannot be determined if this decision contributed to the circumstances of this accident.

25) Because of an ongoing construction project at Blue Grass Airport, the taxiway identifiers represented in the airport chart available to the flight crew were inaccurate, and the information contained in a local notice to airmen about the closure of taxiway A was not made available to the crew via automatic terminal information service broadcast or the flight release paperwork.

26) The controller’s failure to ensure that the flight crew was aware of the altered taxiway A configuration was likely not a factor in the crew’s inability to navigate to the correct runway.

27) Because the information in the local notice to airmen (NOTAM) about the altered taxiway A configuration was not needed for the pilots’ wayfinding task, the absence of the local NOTAM from the flight release paperwork was not a factor in this accident.

28) The presence of the extended taxiway centerline to taxiway A north of runway 8/26 was not a factor in this accident.

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