Jan. 28--CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A post-incident critique of the response by emergency personnel to last week's aborted takeoff of a U.S. Airways Express regional jet at Charleston's Yeager Airport shows that while there were no major flaws by responders, several lessons can be learned from the incident.
According to an after-action report prepared by the Yeager Airport staff, initial reports of the incident to Metro 911 indicated that the aircraft "was off the runway and stuck in the mud, which led to the seriousness of the incident not being realized immediately."
In fact, after the pilot of the Bombardier-Canadair 200 regional jet, with 31 passengers and three crew members aboard, aborted takeoff at 4:18 p.m. on Jan. 19, the aircraft skidded 1,927 feet down the main runway and came to rest 128 feet into the airport's Engineered Materials Arresting System.
When the 130th Airlift Wing's fire department arrived at the scene, smoke was seen coming from overheated brakes on the aircraft's starboard main landing gear. Within six minutes, the passengers and crew, all uninjured, had been evacuated down a stairway, and the emergency alert level was downgraded.
According to the report, most passengers walked to the airport terminal building, while some were transported in an airline tug vehicle or an ambulance. Within a short period of time, all were released from a temporary holding area in the airport's restaurant and pursued alternative travel plans with assistance from the airline.
Before the aircraft was removed from the EMAS area, personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration retrieved its "black box" flight recorder gear and began clearing away crushed EMAS material. An Air National Guard tow vehicle was used to pull the aircraft to the airport's general aviation area.
According to a "Lessons Learned" section of the report, the prompt downgrading of the emergency alert level led to the loss of personnel and equipment that could have been put to good use in the recovery phase of the response. A mobile command vehicle that was never sent to the airport and could have helped better coordinate the freeing of the aircraft from the EMAS was cited as an example. Also cited were the early dismissal of Charleston Police units working perimeter security, who had to be replaced by Kanawha County sheriff's deputies.
The critique showed that the response of KRT buses, brought in to transport passengers from the aircraft to the terminal, was too slow, because "KRT does not have extra drivers and buses ready to go at a moment's notice." The critique recommended that the airport "should look into obtaining a bus for use during emergencies and special events."
According to the critique, airline and FAA officials "chose not to take statements from passengers. It would be a good idea to have a record of each passenger and their observations. The airport police will be in charge of taking statements in the future."
Reach Rick Steelhammer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5169.
-- Jan. 28--Read about lessons learned from incident critique CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Repairs to Yeager Airport's EMAS safety area, damaged last Tuesday during the aborted takeoff...
-- Jan. 21--CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The safe stop of a US Airways Express flight in a bed of lightweight concrete at the end of Yeager Airport's main runway on Tuesday was the sixth save...
-- Mar. 31--CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Yeager Airport's runway extension project could be delayed if the Federal Aviation Administration does not sign off soon on a planned in-pavement approach...
The Detroit-bound flight crew "opted to discontinue its takeoff due to an engine problem" and the plane skidded when the pilot applied the brakes.