Distracted US pilots get their licences revoked
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 08:55
Washington: Two US pilots who overshot their destination by some 240 kilometres last week while talking and consulting their laptops have had their licenses revoked, aviation authorities said.

"The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the licenses of two Northwest Airlines pilots who overflew their destination airport on October 21, 2009 while operating Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis," an FAA statement said.

The story of the two distracted pilots made headlines and drew attention for days as FAA investigators got to the bottom of the high-altitude blunder. The two men initially said they were involved in a heated discussion as the plane drifted off course.

FAA investigators, however, found that the pilots were merely having a "concentrated discussion" about new work schedules under their company's merger with Delta, which now owns Northwest. They were also using their laptops against company rules.

During their talk, the pilots even ignored calls from their airline and air traffic control. They were made aware of their blunder by a flight attendant who, over the intercom, asked when they were going to land.

The level of distraction came as a surprise given the pilots' extensive flight experience and clean work and medical records. The pilot is 53, and the co-pilot, 54.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 08:55

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