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