FLIGHT 5191 RECORDINGS COULD BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK

Lexington Herald-Leader
October 6, 2006
By Janet Patton

WASHINGTON - The final conversation between the pilots of Comair Flight 5191 and the lone air traffic controller on duty at Blue Grass Airport may be made public as early as next week.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which owns the recordings, usually releases such recordings along with a transcript after the National Transportation Safety Board releases them from its investigation.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said yesterday that there was not yet a firm timetable for release but that it would not come before midweek.

The NTSB is conducting the investigation into the Aug. 27 accident that killed 49 people. The plane crashed on a nearby horse farm when it attempted to take off down the wrong runway, which was too short for the commercial jet.

The NTSB has said the pilot, Jeffery Clay, taxied the jet to the end of Runway 26, but that both he and the unnamed air traffic controller both referred to Runway 22, the correct runway. Co-pilot James Polehinke, who piloted the jet during takeoff, was the only survivor. Polehinke reportedly does not remember the crash.

Polehinke, who suffered massive injuries, was released on Tuesday from University of Kentucky Hospital to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington. Doctors amputated his left leg and surgically implanted hardware to stabilize his back. His spine was broken and he has suffered some paralysis.

On Sept. 25, the NTSB released an update on its investigation indicating that toxicology tests had not found alcohol or "illicit substances" in either the pilot or the co-pilot.

Neither tapes nor transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder, which was recovered from the burned wreckage of the plane, have been released by the NTSB.