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NTSB Asks If Northwest Pilots Nodded Off Before Landing

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Pilots of a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Minneapolis International Airport Wednesday night temporarily lost radio contact with air-traffic controllers and apparently overshot their destination by about 100 miles. Flight: NWA188 (online.wsj.com) More...

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petesjet1
I belive that it is highly likely that they did nod off.How else can they both miss that many radio transmissions?Differences between flight crew should be settled during pre0flight or take-off breifings.Safety is top priority on any flight.
crk112
crk112 0
I agree that the pilots must have fallen asleep. I don't believe it's reasonable at all to consider that the pilots were so distracted by a discussion that they simply forgot about the task at hand for nearly an hour and a half.

Of course they are not going to admit they fell asleep. It will be interesting to see in the coming few days what is revealed by this investigation. It's too bad the voice recorder only records 30 minutes, that may hide some valuable clues.
MariaatWindsor
Maria Whittle 0
What's the point of a black box voice recorder if it only records the last 30 minutes of a flight?
EmeraldRocket
Keep in mind the black box measures all sorts of flight parameters - something I suspect the NTSB will be less interested in than the VCR (voice cockpit recorder) to see if these guys were arguing or snoozing. Either loss of situational awareness clearly not acceptable.
gaflyboy
gaflyboy 0
Maria, Newer CVRs (Cockpit Voice Recorders) record longer, but keep in mind that they were first installed only to assist with accident investigations. For that purpose, 30 minutes was thought to be, and is, almost always sufficient.
petesjet1
Absolutely agree Shawn.It seems as of late,pilots are making rookie mistakes.Just like the two Delta pilots who landed on a taxiway at Atlanta.Are they color-blind or what?First rule of thumb;use your head.maintian Situational awarenes!
spiceman2003
I say let this story die now, I am tired of hearing it, if they had sleep apnea or were arguing, so be it, no one was hurt and they will have to pay the piper. Stop with the tripping that everyone is fussing over!
EmeraldRocket
I would argue for a bar higher in aviation then "no one was hurt". Hardly the measure of success in Part 121 ops.
kptnsky
mikey mikey 0
The correct phrase is, "No one was hurt THIS TIME.
Nobody's going to be snoozing, arguing about seniority lists, or using computers on flight decks for a while. "A while", not "forever".
It was sheer luck that nobody was hurt. I think this is a wake-up call and we ought not be hitting the snooze button.
riterock
On long trips with 2 pilots on board , the FAA should make room for a planned snooze for safty reason
SWEATINTHSWAMP
SWEATINTHSWAMP 0
Now that everyone is safe please explain to me why it took ATC so long to think about ordering a scramble of fighter jets. This had all the indications of a hijacking. I cannot imagine ATC trying to contact a crew and getting no response with an overshot to boot and not doing SOMETHING.
Fubared
Fubared 0
The FAA does not "order (sic) a scramble of fighter jets". They advise the DOD after they have reason to believe that something is amiss. In that the flight did not deviate from it's last assigned heading, route or altitude (at least as far as we know), that was probably about 30-45 minutes after the first failed attempt to communicate with them but probably still well short of their destination.

Just out of curiosity, I would like to know how the FMS was configured. It's been a long time since I was in the cockpit as an ATC (a few months prior to 9/11), but the flight had probably been cleared to fly direct to a metering fix serving the SLC terminal area. I would have thought that once the flight reached that point , in the absence of a crewmember entering another mode or fix, the aircraft would enter holding. It is possible, but I don't think likely, that the flight was on an assigned heading.

And, yes, I agree that (a) they were asleep and (b) anyone in the aviation community who thinks that it was OK because nobody was hurt should find themselves another career.
Fubared
Fubared 0
Correction .. metering fix serving the MSP terminal area.
Fubared
Fubared 0
Correction .. metering fix serving the MSP terminal area.

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