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10-23-09, 06:12 PM #1
NW Jet overflies airport by 150 miles
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain sleeping.
Northwest jet overflies Minnesota airport by 150 miles
The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 3:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 6:05 p.m.
MINNEAPOLIS - Federal officials said Thursday they are investigating whether pilot fatigue was a factor in a Northwest Airlines jet overflying the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles before crew members discovered their mistake and turned around.
The plane landed safely Wednesday evening, and none of the passengers or crew was hurt, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Northwest's parent, Delta Airlines Inc., said the jet carried 144 passengers and five crew members.
The NTSB said Northwest flight 188, an Airbus A320, was flying from San Diego to Minneapolis and lost radio contact with controllers just before 7 p.m. CDT when it was at 37,000 feet.
The jet flew over the airport just before 8 p.m. and overshot it by 150 miles before communications were re-established at 8:14 p.m, the NTSB said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew told authorities they became distracted during a heated discussion over airline policy and lost track of where they were.
But NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said the agency will also look into whether fatigue played a role in the incident.
"We will look into fatigue issues," Holloway said. "We don't know" if the crew fell asleep, he said, calling that "speculative."
Holloway said NTSB investigators as of Thursday afternoon had not yet examined the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, which were being sent to the board's lab in Washington for analysis. He said the agency was also seeking to interview the pilots, but hadn't yet scheduled a meeting.
Northwest spokesman Anthony Black said the two pilots have been suspended from flying while the airline conducts an internal investigation.
He refused to name them or give further details on their background or what happened in the air. He also would not answer questions about the pilots' schedules Wednesday and the day before, citing the internal investigation.
"We're in cooperation with the FAA and NTSB on the investigation. We are conducting our own internal investigation," Black said. "Beyond that the pilots have been relieved from active flying pending completion of the investigation."
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said air traffic controllers in Denver had been in contact with the pilots as they flew over the Rockies. But as the plane got closer to Minneapolis, she said, "the Denver center tried to contact the flight but couldn't get anyone."
Denver controllers notified their counterparts in Minneapolis, who also tried to reach the crew but without success, Brown said. Controllers were able to re-established audio communication with the flight crew at 8:14 p.m. when the plan was over Eau Claire, Wis., said Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesman in Chicago.
"Radar controllers were the whole time trying to make audio contact with that plane," Molinaro said.
Wednesday's incident comes as the Federal Aviation Administration is updating decades-old rules governing how long commercial pilots can fly and remain on duty.
The NTSB also cautioned government agencies this week about the risks of sleep apnea contributing to transportation accidents. The agency earlier this year had recommended that airline pilots, among others, be screened for it.
The board cited an incident in January 2008 when two go! airlines pilots fell asleep for at least 18 minutes during a midmorning flight from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii.
The plane passed its destination before controllers raised the pilots, who returned and landed safely. The captain was later diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Associated Press writers Martiga Lohn and Brian Bakst contributed to this report from St. Paul, and David Koenig from Dallas.
10-23-09, 06:19 PM #2
But they said they got into a heated arguement...
10-23-09, 06:23 PM #3
10-23-09, 06:24 PM #4
10-23-09, 06:35 PM #5
10-23-09, 06:41 PM #6
10-23-09, 06:42 PM #7
10-23-09, 08:58 PM #8
Apparently the pilot lives right down the road from me about 50 or 150 miles whatecver
10-24-09, 05:56 AM #9
The FAA will review the "Tapes" If there was any heated arguments in the cockpit the Tapes will reveal it. I call BS on their story.
10-24-09, 10:28 AM #10
10-24-09, 11:18 AM #11
It is hard to fly a plane and get a handjob from a hot stewardess at the same time. Give the guys a break.....
10-24-09, 11:24 AM #12
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