Dear blog reader:
Remember those NWA pilots who missed the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles and 1 hour? The FAA has suspended their licenses because the pilots admit they were too busy using their PCs instead of concentrating on flying the plane!
One imagines the pilots writing emails or playing Spider Solitaire when they should have been paying attention to flying the plane–how ridiculous!
Here’s more on the story:
The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday revoked the licenses of the two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles.
The pilots – Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash., the captain, and Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., the first officer – told safety investigators they were working
on their personal laptop computers and lost track of time and place.
The pilots, who were out of communications with air traffic controllers for 91 minutes, violated numerous federal safety regulations in the incident last Wednesday night, the FAA said in a statement. The violations included failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly, the agency said.
“You engaged in conduct that put your passengers and your crew in serious jeopardy,” FAA regional counsel Eddie Thomas said in a letter to Cheney.
Northwest Flight 188 was not in communications with controllers or the airline dispatchers “while you were on a frolic of your own. … This is a total dereliction and disregard for your duties.”
A similar letter was sent to Cole.
The pilots said they were brought back to awareness when a flight attendant contacted them on the aircraft’s intercom. By then, they were over Wisconsin at 37,000 feet. They turned the Airbus A320 with its 144 passengers around and landed safely in Minneapolis.
The revocations of the pilots’ commercial licenses are effective immediately, the FAA said. The pilots have 10 days to appeal the emergency revocations to the National Transportation Safety Board. If that fails, they can apply for a new certificate after one year.
The pilots’ union at Delta Air Lines, which acquired Northwest last year, had cautioned against a rush to judgment. The pilots told investigators who
interviewed them on Sunday that they had no previous accidents or safety incidents.
Delta spokesman Anthony Black said in a statement: “The pilots in command of Northwest Flight 188 remain suspended until the conclusion of the investigations into this incident.”
And, here’s more on the original story: http://bobbiblogger.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/faa-suspends-licenses-of-pilots-who-missed-the-airport-pilots-were-using-their-pcs/