N66NJ Lear 35 cleared for take-off on closed runway.


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Sent: October 2, 2007 3:41:53 PM
********************************************************** National Transportation Safety BoardWashington, DC 20594 October 2, 2007 ************************************************************ NTSB INVESTIGATING INCIDENT INVOLVING CORPORATEJET TAKING OFF FROM CLOSED RUNWAY AT DULLES AIRPORT ************************************************************ The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident involving an aircraft taking off from a closed runway at Washington Dulles International Airport. On September 12, 2007, about 3:13 a.m. EDT, the Dulles tower controller cleared a Learjet 35 (N66NJ) for takeoff from a closed unlit runway. Earlier in the evening, runway 19R was closed for surveying and the runway lights were turned off. The tower controller instructed N66NJ to taxi into position and hold, then cleared it for takeoff. The departure controller at Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control, located in Warrenton, Virginia, noticed the radar target depart runway 19R and asked the tower controller if the runway was open, and was told no. The closure was advertised on the automated terminal information service and the tower controller placed an X on the tower’s ground radar display as a reminder of the closure. The closure also was annotated on the tower status display. There were no injuries or damage to the aircraft. At the time of the incident, there was one tower controller in the cab; the second controller assigned to the shift was on break. The FAA has classified the incident as an operational error. This is considered a runway incursion as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization.


Wow! Flashbacks of ComAir 191 all over again! Lucky the runway was long enough and nobody (surveyors) reported injured/killed.


WHY DO PEOPLE TAKE OFF ON RUNWAYS AT NIGHT THAT HAVE NO LIGHTS ON??? God, I can’t even fathom doing that, especially in the aftermath of Comair 5191. Then again, that was a National Jets airplane… :unamused:


You know, to err is human, but all of this was completely avoidable.

Good ole fashion cones, or under construction, or even a closed sign in front of the runway entrance would have been as cheap a fix as it gets?

I can’t imagine a stop, do not enter signage and a few sandbags to hold the sign in place to be that expensive? After all, somebody had to be physically out at the end of the runway to put the yellow X on the pavement or lighted signs I am seeing of late.

Just toss the signage on the back of the truck place it in the taxiway entrance that feeds into the runway and that’s all she wrote.

Or am I thinking the bleeding obvious???