I haven’t commented on the unbelievable story that a Northwest Airlines flight overflew it’s destination because, frankly, the explanations have been unbelievable.
How you could fly through some of the most congested airspace in the world without noticing that you’d passed the airport or fail to respond to dozens of radio messages just boggles the mind. Even with my minimal hours in the air I know that radio chatter is almost constant. That’s in a little Cessna. In a big Airbus on instrument flight it’s probably non-stop. Not to mention that the autopilot knew they were at the end of the route and probably started firing off warnings left and right.
Yet, through all this, the pilots say they were “distracted” because they had their laptops open (breach of company policy) and were having a discussion about the new crew scheduling system. Well, you’ve already been suspended and will probably be fired so I don’t think that crew scheduling is something you’re going to have to worry about in the future.
The NTSB and FAA are still investigating so hopefully we’ll get the truth on this bizarre event sooner or later.
Having said my piece, let’s turn it over to David Letterman and his Top Ten Northwest Airlines Pilots Excuses:
10. Bunch of fat guys seated on the right side of the plane made us vector east.
9. We get paid by the hour.
8. Mapquest always takes you the long way, am I right, people?
7. Tired of that show-off Sullenberger getting all the attention.
6. You try steering one of those airplanes after eight or nine cocktails.
5. Wanted to catch the end of the in-flight movie.
4. Activating autopilot and making occasional P.A. announcements is exhausting.
3. According to our map, we only missed our target by half an inch.
2. For a change, we decided to send luggage to the right city and lose the passengers.
1. Thought we saw balloon boy.