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.Minnesota Star Tribune Image: AV8NLVR