Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 in flight

Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 in flight

Last December we reported on a Go! Airlines flight where the pilots fell asleep and missed the airport. Today a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 flight missed their destination of Minneapolis by 150 miles.

The flight crew said they became engrossed in a conversation about airline policy (and honestly, who couldn’t?) and lost track of their location. However, the FAA is investigating if pilot fatigue played any roll in this event.

The flight from San Diego to Minneapolis had 144 passengers onboard and none of them were aware of what happened, until the aircraft was swarmed by police once they finally arrived. The police kept all passengers onboard until they were allowed to question the flight crew.

The FAA lost contact with the aircraft while it was traveling at 37,000 feet and they notified the Air National Guard, who then put two fighter jets on alert. They were never given the order to take off.

Andrea Allmon, a passenger who had been traveling from San Diego on business, stated, “When I do my job, I do my job. These guys are supposed to be paying attention to the flight. The safety of the passengers should be first and foremost. (It’s) unbelievable to me that they weren’t paying attention. Just not paying attention.”

She is right. No matter if they were awake having a heated debate, they should have still been paying attention to their flight and of course the radio. The FAA is investigating the incident and the two pilots have been suspended from flying. Hopefully it is not found that the pilots fell asleep during flight.

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Source: Minnesota Star Tribune Image: AV8NLVR

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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10 Comments
Reginald Blue

Unfortunately, Delta doesn’t play that! Those two pilots will never see the front of one of their aircraft again, except to get their belongings. ” Heated debate” lol, i’ve never heard such BS. The debate was probably over who would get the axe first. Just admit you were sleep on the job and leave the company with a little pride. I hear DHL Cargo is hiring.

If I was DHL, I wouldn’t want them flying my cargo. Sure no people to lose their lives, but a very pricey plane, cargo, and reputation.

They were getting it on in the cockpit.

Check out that planned route vs. the flown route. Anybody else see catastrophe written on that?

I’ll bet those pilots are scared $ hitless someone’s going to rewind the tapes and hear snoring. Then again, they may not have been sleeping. After looking at that actual flight path diagram vs. planned flight, I’d say these boys were celebrating the new reefer reform legislation.

NWA = Now Where? Airlines

We have been working diligently on a solution to this problem and whipped up a prototype today. http://bit.ly/Of46E

Haha! That is perfect Edgar, I own a 1973 VW Camper 🙂

brad -dublin ireland

Edgar you are the man & the faa should put you on retianer to install you plan on all planes. not just for sleepy pilots but also for those incessant anouncements that the airlines always present in flight or if the food is crap(always) or if there is turbulance (fly around for christache)or if your in a holding patern or any other reason to motivate the crew

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