Runway's Lack of Lights May Have Caused Confusion

It was unclear Monday just when the pilots might have realized they were on a runway too short for their plane.

The Patriot News in Harrisburg, Pa., reported last November that the FAA sent a directive advising smaller airports to schedule two controllers on the midnight shift. An FAA spokeswoman Monday denied the existence of such a directive.

But David Katzman, the Michigan pilot and attorney, said that a single controller on duty essentially would be doing the work of three people - communicating with other air controllers, coordinating movements on the taxiways, and directing airspace around the airport.

It would be easy to become distracted, Katzman said.

According to FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen, Lexington once had two controllers working the weekend overnight shift. But the FAA reduced that to one four or five months ago after an unexpected drop in air traffic at Lexington, she said.

Bergen said the FAA will return to a two-controller overnight shift at Lexington this weekend. She declined to say whether that is because of Sunday's accident.

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