Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comments on the NTSB Release of Transcripts Related to the Flight 5191 Crash (Revised)

By Alex Constantine

The media are diverting attention from the glaring contradictions in the NTSB data – not to mention the fact that airport has violated the law by refusing to release documents related to the crash – stone-walling – by focusing on the conversation in the cockpit ... as if this explains everything.

But most of the chatter took place several minutes before take-off, and there was NO idle talk as the plane taxied on the runway.

Blaming the pilots and making excuses for the controller – whose story has changed over time – constitute a pattern.

"The pilots tried to board the wrong plane" (they didn't), as the press reported, appears designed to suggest that the pilots were incompetent. Both pilots were in fact capable and had clean records.

It was reported that one of them shouted out the wrong destination: "Toledo!" This didn't happen, either ... but the Mockingbird media tried to make the case that the pilots were confused about their destination, and the newspapers were forced to retract.

In November, media stenographers claimed that another "Plane almost used wrong runway." Happens all the time ... unfortunately for the government's stenographers, the pilot later DENIED it out of hand.

How much of the official story can be believed? Very little of it. More essential details will drop in time, no doubt, so don't become too attached to them.

There have been substantial changes in the public record of the Flight 5191 crash. The evidence is flawed, if not cooked, and it is apparent that the NTSB is not levelling with the public.

All along, the press has stated that the flight controller in the tower turned to do paperwork – while managing three aircraft, two of them having taken off a few minutes before – and did not see the plane taxi on the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport.

But according to transcripts released by the NTSB this week, there is no substance to this at all. The essential "facts" have changed.

James R. Carroll of the Louisville Courier-Journal now reports that the "lone controller in the Blue Grass tower was handling TWO OTHER FLIGHTS while directing Comair Flight 5191, according to the transcript. At the same time that he cleared the Comair jet to taxi to Runway 22, he was directing an American Eagle flight FOR TAKE OFF and talking to a SkyWest plane that was leaving, the transcript says."

There was, according to airport officials, ONE active runway at Blue Grass on the morning of August 27. So Comair Flight 5191 was taking off, and the controller turned – not to do "paperwork," after all – but to guide the American Eagle ... but according to press reports in late August, this plane was ALREADY IN THE AIR ...

The Herald-Leader on August 31: "Two flights, one by United and another by American Eagle, LEFT during the four minutes and 37 seconds BEFORE Flight 5191 BEGAN its takeoff, both properly using Runway 22."

The other two planes were ALREADY in the air, according to the August account.

In January, we learn that the planes were ON THE GROUND and the controller was "directing" the Eagle "for take-off."

Which version is true?

A controller's primary responsibility, according to FAA and union regulations, is planes on the runway. Flight 5191 was his priority, not planes that had already taken off.

Did he not look out the WINDOW in the general direction of runway 22, the only functional airstrip, while talking to a third plane that was "leaving?" (in August, this plane, too, was reported by the NTSB to be in the air, according to the citation above) ... since he wasn't doing "paperwork," after all? ...

We've heard all along that the controller wasn't looking out the window at the runway. He was engaged in filling out forms. How could he possibly guide the American Eagle that was taking off, or had already taken off, depending on the version you believe, not to mention the other that was "leaving," since he wasn't doing "paperwork," after all, AND NOT LOOK OUT THE WINDOW AT THE ONE OPERATIONAL RUNWAY? He now states that he was looking the other direction ... "doing the traffic count." While talking to the pilot of the third plane who was heading off the gate ... This takes multi-tasking to new heights – monitoring three airplanes taking off while simultaneously counting traffic ... at the busy hour of 6:00 am ...

The Herald-Leader reported Two flights, one by United and another by American Eagle, left during the four minutes and 37 seconds before Flight 5191 began its takeoff, both properly using Runway 22.

None of this adds up. NOW, in the revised account, we have two planes headed for the one lit runway at the very same time ... one veers into the dark, the wrong runway ... but the controller is on the line with a plane that is approaching the good runway ... and another is taking off on the one good runway – the one the Comair jet is SUPPOSED to be on – but is looking elsewhere ... or possibly doing "paperwork" at the same time ... and there is no way this makes a bit of sense.

The transcript of the black box recording can't possibly contain the data that was stored in the device.

The Courier-Journal reports: "Moments before the crash as the plane ran down the wrong runway, Polehinke commented that it was 'weird' the runway lacked lights, the transcript says.

“'Dat is weird with no lights,' copilot James Polehinke said at 6:06:16 a.m., according to the transcript.

"'Yeah,' the pilot, Jeffrey Clay, replied at 6:06:18 a.m.'Whoa,' Clay said at 6:06:31 a.m.The sound of impact is less than two seconds later."

The jet, we've been told by the FAA, requires 3700 FEET of runway to take off. But runway 26 is only 3500 FEET long. The plane should have shot off the end of the runway – but it was already AIRBORNE, just lifing off, according to the two eye-witnesses, before the fatal impact.

And the pilots said NOTHING about the fact that that they'd just taken off from a runway that was 200 feet shorter than necessary for flight, had nothing to say about the FENCE they struck, no comment on striking the ground twice before going airborne, not a word on the TREES they hit, as reported by Bill Giltner, Jr. (II), the only witness quoted in the press (another has surfaced in documents released by the FBI – see, and one of them only said, "whoa," before slamming into the ground – less than two seconds before impact?

This is completely implausible. The Cincinnati Enquirer informs us: "... [the] pilots appeared to be conducting routine takeoff procedures as late as 1.8 seconds before the impact. ... "

Draw your own conclusions. If there is any other conclusion other than cooked evidence possible, I'd like to hear it. Please post comments if these facts make sense to anyone.

The full story Courier-Journal is here, with transcripts:

I'll probably have more to say about the transcripts, but these are my initial impressions. Trying to be fair and unbiased (but it isn't easy). That controller badly needs to be cross-examined because "pilot error," passing the buck, obviously doesn't cut it.

– Alex Constantine

PS: Bill Giltner, Jr. (I), the 9/11 truth activist (not the Comair crash witness of the same name), has announced that he now believes the NTSB and will be explaining why this panel has been entirely up-front with the public. This will take some doing, but I am receptive to opinions on this score and anxiously await Mr. Giltner's analysis of the contradictory data.

BTW, Mr. Giltner has entertained in a previous comment the notion of "attacking" me. He wasn't clear why this was necessary, but "attacks" are irrelevant unless directed at the data itself, something I welcome. Personal smears will be deleted, not because I care how complete strangers view me, but because we deal in facts here. So keep it factual, "attack" the fascists who are killing us all, and concentrate on the information. I, too, have a sharp, fast tongue, and can flame like a bastard. That serves no purpose, however, so forget about "attacks." We respect one another and loathe fascism, presumably, so deal with the data.

Mr. Giltner, we await your defense of the NTSB. And you will not be insulted if we happen to disagree with you. It's your data we're interested in. By the same token, save the attacks for 9/11 chat rooms, where you are outnumbered by shills and have a reason to dial in the "attack" mode. Here, all we want to know is what you have to say about the data I've posted.