Brief History of Runway Incidents

Investigators probing the fiery crash of Comair Flight 5191 want to know why it tried to take off from a runway considered far too short for commercial passenger planes.

This is not the first time that aircraft have run into serious trouble by heading down the wrong runway:

• January, 2002: A China Airlines Airbus A-340 took off from a taxiway in Anchorage. The pilots averted tragedy by lifting off nearly 1,000 feet sooner than normal. The jet's tires struck a snow bank at the end of the taxiway, but the plane was not damaged

• October, 2000: A Singapore Airlines 747 crashed Oct. 31 in Taiwan, killing 82 people. The crash was caused by the pilot's attempt to take off on a runway shut down for construction

• September, 1999: Workers moving a United Airlines 767 accidentally taxi in front of a Delta Air Lines 727 taking off at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The Delta jet takes off over the other jet, missing it by 200-300 feet. The National Transportation Safety Board cites confusion over construction work as a cause

• August, 1998: An air traffic controller mistakenly sends a commuter plane to a runway closed for maintenance at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. The plane takes off over vehicles parked on the runway

• May, 1996: A commuter plane lands on the wrong runway at Los Angeles International Airport. Construction crews working on the runway clear out of the way. A collision is averted by about a quarter of a mile

• December, 1995: A Delta MD-80 took off from the wrong runway at Cleveland Hopkins Airport. "Investigation has revealed a number of wrong runway departures" in Cleveland, an FAA report said. Cleveland has since redesigned that area of the airport

• November, 1994: Two people in a small charter plane were killed when they struck a TWA Boeing MD-80 on a runway at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The NTSB found that the pilots of the small plane had attempted to take off on the wrong runway. The crash prompted changes in the way controllers and pilots communicate about runways

• January and March, 1989: Within two months, pilots of two airline jets accidentally take off from the same runway closed for construction at Houston's William P. Hobby Airport. In both cases, the jets strike equipment, but pilots manage to avoid a major collision, and no one is hurt

Source: National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration