FAA Tells Controllers: No Naps

September 8, 2006
By Jeffrey McMurray

LEXINGTON -- Two people related to passengers who died aboard Comair Flight 5191 said investigators told them one of the pilots called out the wrong flight number and city before the crash in Lexington last week.

National Transportation Safety Board officials told families that in talking to the control tower when the pilots were about to take off, one of the pilots gave the wrong flight number and said "Toledo."

The commuter jet was bound for Atlanta when it crashed Aug. 27 as it tried to take off from the wrong runway at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. The pilots also initially boarded the wrong plane.

Kyra Frederick's husband, Bart Frederick of Danville, was one of the passengers who died. She said there were a series of mistakes that were the beginning of a bad flight.

The crash killed 49 of the 50 people aboard.

Frederick and Charlie Scales attended NTSB briefings last week in Lexington and said they learned of the apparent "Toledo" mistake then. Scales' brother-in-law, Gregory Threet of Lexington, also died aboard Flight 5191.

FAA Says 'No Naps' The federal government has begun enforcing a rule that suspends air traffic controllers who are found napping on the job. Federal Aviation Administration workers were notified of the stricter enforcement on Saturday -- less than a week after the Kentucky Comair crash that killed 49 people on board.

The control tower operator working at the Lexington airport at the time got only two hours of sleep between shifts on the day leading up to the crash.

The rules also say workers aren't allowed to nap during their breaks.

Union representatives say the policy seems ambiguous and punitive.