Why Did Pilots Pick Wrong Runway in Kentucky?

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We are still getting many e-mails about our show with Steve Centanni, his brother Ken, Olaf Wiig and his wife Anita, and our Jennifer Griffin. Many ask if we are going to re-air the hour-long interview in which they all tell what happened with the kidnapping and the ultimate good news: the release of Steve and Olaf. Assuming the world does not collapse in the next few days causing us to change our plans, we will re-show that interview on Monday night at 10 p.m. ET.

As you know, on Sunday we were expecting to fly to New Orleans but got diverted to Lexington, Kentucky, to cover the airline crash that occurred hours earlier there. While the NTSB has not issued its final decision (that is months away), everyone believes the cause was the runway used by the pilots. The runway used (2-6) was simply too short. The pilots should have used the longer runway (2-2.)

So naturally the question is: Why? Why did they pick the wrong runway? How could that happen? I have posted some pics today to give you an idea of how those runways in Lexington are marked (marker alongside the runway.) You can see that the pics show rather standard runway markings. We took pics from a plane and thus got a close-up for you. Consider one factor in looking at our pics: It was early morning and we took our pics midday with lots of light. Also posted is an aerial pic of the airport that gives you a better idea of the intersection of the runways with access ramps.

In Lexington I asked a pilot how a pilot knows which runway to use at any given airport and he showed me charts of airports that all pilots have. Pilots subscribe to a service which sends these airport charts and the charts get updated all the time (I think he told me monthly.)

I took some pics of those charts of the Lexington airport and have posted those pics so you can see what they are. In the chart pics you can see the two runways (2-2 and 2-6). It is plainly marked in these charts (and you can see in our posted pics) how long each runway is. Of course pilots are — or should be — familiar with their aircraft and their runway needs.

One factor that may play into this accident is that on August 20 there was a change to the entrance to runways 2-2 and 2-6. That change should not have made any difference in that the pilots still should have seen the markers and, of course, been attentive to their jobs. They should also have known that there were two very different runways at this airport: one clearly long enough for their aircraft and one grossly deficient.

By the way, the pilot in the plane who showed me the charts showed me how in his jet (a private jet), the steering wheel has a clip put there to attach charts so that the charts are always visible to the pilot. The chart is literally clipped and in the pilot's lap (see the pic attached showing this.) I don't know if all planes have this feature or if it is just a feature of this particular private jet.

Now for some e-mails (and I answer the criticism that I am hard on the Boulder DA):

E-mail No. 1
People should give Mary Lacy a break. She thought she was doing the right thing and good people make mistakes. Look at the judges and attorneys who are lenient on child predators. If she didn't act on bringing Mr. Karr to the U.S., people would be outraged, say she should be "tarred and feathered" and call for her resignation! She was damned if she did and damned if she didn't.
Molly Hoover
Pittsburgh, PA

E-mail No. 2

Just now heard you and Jim talking about the reasons behind Ms. Lacy bringing J. Karr back from Thailand and it changed my outlook on the case — getting one more pedophile off the streets is worth the cost. Any money anyone attempts to make from his story should go to pay for the cost of bringing him back, the balance should go to a charity for child victims of abuse. I think Ms. Lacy's action should improve the United States' reputation for bringing him home instead of leaving him there to do his "thing" in a foreign country. I applaud Ms. Lacy for her convictions! I just wish ALL other foreign governments would have her convictions and take their criminals back home!
Nancy Leip
Washington State

E-mail No. 3

I think the media is hopeless. You were all on the John Karr story like maggots on a dung heap. Including you, Greta. Now that the story has not panned out, you blame the DA and the judge and anyone else you can find to crucify, just to save face. You guys jumped too soon and jumped too hard and you landed with a splat. Next time, do your research and your homework, and exercise some common sense judgment and stop falling in line with everyone else for a scoop and the ratings. It's always the almighty buck, isn't it? Honor is a forgotten virtue, I guess.
Ron Wentzell

E-mail No. 4

I would love to see you interview Mary Lacy one on one.
Mitch Jenkins
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

ANSWER: I would like to interview her.

E-mail No. 5

Hey Greta,
Don't be so hard on the Boulder DA, my god. As a father, husband and grandfather I want to kill the guy (that's a sick joke). America has had a rich education about how serious these freaks are. The audio we had to hit the mute button on, we are aware that these people exist, but the audio, I think gave American's something they have never heard but needed to hear. Lacy did America a great favor by exposing this problem.
Bob Davis

ANSWER: I would like not to be hard on the Boulder DA, but I really don't think this is a close question. She should seek an arrest warrant when she has probable cause to believe a crime has occurred in her jurisdiction (not in Thailand) and by the person named in the warrant. If there is no evidence placing the person in her jurisdiction at the time of the crime, if the person seems to have a wild imagination and his statements can't be corroborated by any known evidence... if some preliminary investigation or forensic testing could have provided some important guidance, etc. What was she thinking? And what no one wants to confront is the judge. Judges are not just to rubber stamp what prosecutors ask for. If that were the job of the judge, we don't need a judge but just someone to sign a name. That judge should have asked probing questions. This was expensive and law enforcement resources are not unlimited. We need to be smart about how money is spent.

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