Comair Urges 'Extreme Caution' In Ky.

This aerial view of Blue Grass Airport taken Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, in Lexington, Ky., shows a short runway crossing the longer runway at the airport.
AP Photo/Al Behrman
Comair has begun warning pilots to use "extreme caution" when navigating runways at the airport where a crash killed 49 people last month, saying some diagrams aren't accurate, according to an e-mail obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

A Comair jet crashed after taking off from the wrong runway at Lexington's airport on Aug. 27, killing 49 people.

Late last week, the company updated its dispatch information for Blue Grass Airport cockpit crews with a warning that some runway diagrams don't accurately reflect all the current signs and markings. Comair chief pilot Steve Briner sent an e-mail to pilots Monday pointing out the change.

"Exercise extreme caution during all ground operations," it said. "Utilize high threat taxi procedures. If unsure of position or taxi clearance, clarify with (air traffic control)."

A week before the crash, an airport repaving project changed the taxi route leading to the 7,000-foot runway that Comair Flight 5191 should have used. Instead, the jet headed down the wrong runway, which was too short and crashed into farmland less than a mile away.

The dispatch warning also includes specific takeoff instructions at the airport. A new taxiway is under construction at the airport, but until it is ready, pilots must taxi to the long runway, turn right and make a U-turn to head in the correct direction.

Stan Chesley, a Cincinnati attorney who is representing the families of victims in a lawsuit against Comair, called the notice too little, too late.

"This is the best example of shutting the barn door after the horses are out, except we're talking about 49 people that died," Chesley said.

Also Monday, a Kentucky judge granted Chesley's request to let plaintiffs inspect the wreckage of the plane and ordered that documents pertaining to the crash must be preserved.