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Airport Overshoot Prompts Pilot-Fatigue Probe

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posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 05:19 PM
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Airport Overshoot Prompts Pilot-Fatigue Probe


online.wsj.com

A Northwest Airlines flight approaching Minneapolis Wednesday night lost contact with controllers for more than an hour and overshot its destination by about 150 miles before circling back to land. Federal safety regulators are investigating the incident as a possible case of pilots nodding off, according to government and airline-industry officials familiar with the matter.

Controllers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were able to re-establish contact with the Airbus A320, after a one hour and 18 minute lapse, before the plane, flight 188 en route from San Diego, landed safely
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 05:19 PM
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Wow, that just makes one feel secure flying in an airplane! It is no wonder we have so many plane crashes nowadays.

Assuming 300mph airport approach, 100 miles = 20 mins.......a GOOD POWER NAP?

What kind of standards do they use to make sure that stuff like this does not occur?

I would sure hate to be the pilot right now.

But it could start a great ad campaign:

Fly Northwest Airlines: We're so comfortable even our pilots fall asleep.

online.wsj.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 05:34 PM
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reply to post by Jessicamsa
 


The airlines have limits on how long flight crews can be on duty. There have been a few incidents where in flight delays put crews over the mandatory rest deadline and accidents occurred. Then again, there have been plenty of times this happened where no incident occurred.

If the aircrew on that flight was in compliance with the limits there's no reason / excuse for both of them to be asleep at the controls. It should be interesting to watch and see how the investigation turns out.

It does speak wonders for modern auto-navigation / auto-pilot systems though.



posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 05:50 PM
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Other cases like this, once ATC contacts the company (Delta/Northwest, they're in the process of merging) Dispatch canuse what's known as the 'SELCAL'...it rings a chime, should have been loud enough to wake them up...

Surprised no one in the cabin rang them, though...busy reading their magazines, I guess.



posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by Jessicamsa
 


Source:


Though the practice of nodding off midflight in the cockpit is strictly prohibited by the FAA, U.S. airlines and pilot unions say there is a growing body of research supporting the notion that so-called controlled napping can enhance safety by making crews more alert during critical, often hectic, descents and landings.


The Northwest pilots said that they were simply having a heated discussion about company policy when they overshot. And I have some ocean front property in Arizona! BTW, you can overshoot with no danger iff, you don't use up your reserve fuel!

Now my airline pilot buddy and I were talking last night (not NW
) and he said that he always visually checks the other pilot when he is groggy to make sure this type thing doesn't happen. Yes, he has caught the chief pilot "weighing the cheese" as they say in France!

OK, I'm a small plane (bush) pilot. Every pilot gets groggy when you are buzzing along hour after hour and nothing is happening. I sort of go into this relaxed trance like state that never turns into actual sleep when I'm in the cockpit. But I know there are many people that doesn't work with (narcoleptic like?) and are then dangerous. Individual thing.

I'll end by telling a story about a formerly young college age friend that was flying his J3 Cub back from the University of Arizona. It was boring flat sage brush country and he dozed off. The wheels of the plane hit the ground and tossed the plane back into the air. He woke up, pulled (gently) back on the stick and continued on home. Happy ending. Never did that again!




posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 08:02 PM
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The real irony is that in another 20 years or so sleeping at the controls / wheel will probably be a common and accepted as safe occurrence.

The UAV / FAA debate is pushing forward the technology of auto pilot / auto recovery, navigation and redundant systems by leaps and bounds. Even RC pilots are developing very small and powerful automatic flight packages with very sophisticated auto recovery routines in them.

We could have flying cars within a couple of years, the hold up is the implementation and testing of new traffic control and automatic flight systems.

I see us sleeping or reading a book while our car / plane / flying car cruises safely to our destination within that timeframe. We may even see the dawning of the "pilotless" airplane where UAVs carry passengers and ground based pilots only step in to handle certain issues.

I for one would really like to be able to travel cross country while reading, watching a movie or sleeping and do so safely. Like the movie iRobot the day of humans actually driving anything full time will probably end.



posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 08:45 PM
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I have missed a few hand-offs do to conversations (dirty jokes), at a international freight company on the long hauls 8+ hrs we would watch movies, at three am over the north atlantic it was the only way to stay awake, that and threre wasn't anone to talk to anyway. Day in the life, I guess. I was always in hurry to get home. does anyone know if NW is block-or-better on their pay? Maybe they were just creating some overtime



posted on Oct, 22 2009 @ 09:12 PM
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Well, if they were simply having a heated discussion about company policy, then the cockpit recorder should be able to put the issue to rest.



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 03:40 AM
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The FAA have the black boxes so will put this to rest - if there`s 0 sounds other than ATC urgently calling them during the 150 mile excursion , both will have a hard time keeping there permits.



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 10:48 AM
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This whole story is highly suspicious to me.

Where were the stewardesses/stewards. They had probably done this leg 100 times, so they know when it's time to land/descend. What about the passengers?
They have arrival times, connecting flights. Wouldn't they be questioning.

It wasn't a handoff, it was a landing. Big difference.



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 11:15 AM
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reply to post by jacksmoke
 



does anyone know if NW is block-or-better on their pay?


Just like ALL ALPA contracts, yes.

However, this incident is NOT how you go about it!!!



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 11:27 AM
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reply to post by Harlequin
 



The FAA have the black boxes so will put this to rest...


Not so sure about that...30 minutes, remember on the the CVR? AND there's the handy-dandy ERASE button...

Once they knew they'd....ummmm....'frakked up'....well, that would certainly cross my mind, after getting to the gate.

Here's the thingie about this thingie....

Post 9/11 it should be (but not mandatory) to monitor the Emergency frequency on the #2 Comm, even Domestically. That way, ANY ATC facility within line-of-sight can get in touch, and/or any airborne flight when requested by ATC.

Missing a 'hand-off' frequency change is fairly common...AND having a protracted conversation (or, as alleged, dozing off) can result in leaving the range of the previous frequency.

IF you aren't asleep, but suddenly realize no one has called you for a while, and/or you keep hearing OTHER airplanes talking, but never hear the GROUND talking...then you catch on, and all of our Enroute charts have frequencies that you can use to call "in the blind" (as it's called) in your general vicinity, until you find someone on the ground who can hear you, and then they give you the proper frequency for your sector and altitude.

Finally, as I mentioned above, Dispatch can either SELCAL, or nowadays use the ACARS to send a text message...either way, you get a chime...depends on the set-up...ACARS might just be a 'bing', or a 'bing-bong' one time...SELCAL usually keeps 'binging' until you cancel the call, and 'pick-up'.

Point is, and I think this is important for the 9/11 "CTs" you think that NORAD is called out on EVERY Domestic airplane that loses ATC contact....even today, we see it's not the case. Not now, and certainly not in September, 2001.
_______________________________________________________
Guess it's best to add some snippets from an actual news report, instead of just speculating:


The pilots didn't become aware of their situation until a flight attendant contacted them on the intercom, said a source familiar with the investigation.



Score one point for the Cabin Crew. Now, an anecdote: I wish I had a dollar for every flight when, after you already TOLD the Cabin how long the flight is, and they were ONBOARD for the take-off (meaning, just add the time of take-off to what we told you, should be able to figure it out) and almost without exception, we'd get a call about 45 minutes out, asking "How much longer?" Made you wanna tear out your heair, some days....


Now, about NORAD:


The FAA notified the military, which put Air National Guard fighter jets on alert at two locations. As many as four planes could have been scrambled, but none ever took to the air.








[edit on 23 October 2009 by weedwhacker]



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 11:52 AM
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It's not the first time it's happened and it probably won't be the last, unless the FAA revises its rules.

NTSB confirms go! pilots were asleep on flight to Hilo


pacific.bizjournals.com...



posted on Oct, 23 2009 @ 11:55 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Yeah....I remember that from last year. Shake my head at it, though, because the Inter-Island flights are all so short!!! Even I could stay awake for that!!!

___________________________________________________

(There was a FedEx crew, Westbound to LAX that went about 45 minutes out into the Pacific, until SELCAL woke them up. Didn't make the news, though --- I think. Was known within the industry, though).

[edit on 23 October 2009 by weedwhacker]



posted on Oct, 24 2009 @ 01:41 PM
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both pilots asleep


sorry but I don't believe it.

I can understand one pilot falling asleep but not both of them, they are professionals don't forget.

and I find it strange that the passengers did not notice the delay.

When I fly I'm constantly checking my watch.

I guess this is another of those incidents that will fall under the veil of "National Security" and we are not to know the truth.



posted on Oct, 24 2009 @ 01:49 PM
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reply to post by Jessicamsa
 


9/11 is actually looking more plausible now. At least the part about planes being in the air without contact for over an hour and no one seems to think about maybe getting an escort up there to see what is happeneing.

Seems like WeedWacker already beat me to this train of thought.


Originally posted by weedwhacker
Point is, and I think this is important for the 9/11 "CTs" you think that NORAD is called out on EVERY Domestic airplane that loses ATC contact....even today, we see it's not the case. Not now, and certainly not in September, 2001.


[edit on 24-10-2009 by Nutter]



posted on Oct, 24 2009 @ 01:50 PM
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reply to post by Stevo_Devo
 


Please see phage's post just above...yes BOTH asleep in Hawai'i (of all places). ALSO, as I mentioned, there are other incidents that don't always make it to the evening news.

No, there is not some "gov't cover-up" here...just two very embarassed pilots, in very deep doo-doo now, both with the FAA and their employer.

Usually what happens in similar incidents (unlike in Hawai'i where they had no Union) there will be discipline imposed by the Company. The type will likely be up to a Union-arbitrated agreement. Generally it could be as little as a letter of reprimand in the personel file, to time off without pay. Severe cases, the Captain can be forced to 'down-grade' to First Officer for a set period of time, again as a punitive financial punishment. The F/O may get MORE time off w/o pay...OR the Union might help them avoid too much penalty.

The FAA, on the otherhand....well....they can suspend or revoke the Airman's Certificates. So, again...that will either co-incide with the Company's punishment (if any) or be in addition to...

Either way, the loss to personal pride may be the most cutting of all....



posted on Oct, 24 2009 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by weedwhacker
 


thank you WeedWhacker, I just read up on that Hawaii flight.

that story is even more bizarre apparently Flight 1002 took off from Honolulu at 9:20 a.m. It was scheduled to land in Hilo at 10:05 a.m.

that is a very short flight to fall asleep on, don't you think? and both pilots again! wow what are the odds of that?



posted on Oct, 24 2009 @ 02:21 PM
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Originally posted by LiquidLight
Well, if they were simply having a heated discussion about company policy, then the cockpit recorder should be able to put the issue to rest.


Unless they pulled the fuse, or the equivalent circumvention - I bet if it was common practice they would know how to do that.



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