Skip to comments.FAA revokes licenses of wayward Northwest pilots
Posted on 10/27/2009 5:39:04 PM PDT by SloopJohnB
The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday revoked the licenses of the two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles.
The pilots Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash., the captain, and Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., the first officer told safety investigators they were working on their personal laptop computers and lost track of time and place.
The pilots, who were out of communications with air traffic controllers for 91 minutes, violated numerous federal safety regulations in the incident last Wednesday night, the FAA said in a statement. The violations included failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly, the agency said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
And, why the delay on reporting something was amiss to the military.
I thought the military WERe alerted.
Someone dropped the ball along the way. There was a lapse. That is the bigger story.
I've thought about this a bit. I know these guys don't have Islamic sounding names. But I think this was a test of some kind.
I haven't flown in a while, but when I was flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) which is the way every airline flight must fly, you had to have your radio on, and tuned to your assigned Air Traffic Control (ATC) frequency all the time. This is because ATC might at any time, amend your clearance (assigned route) and give you a different one; or tell you to switch to a different frequency. They may tell you to go higher, or lower, go off in a different direction, or enter a rather precise holding pattern. You cannot just turn the radio down or off because you find it annoying.
As soon as you deviate from your clearance, ATC lets you know it. I still remember making a mistake one day and flying away from some point on a 205 degree heading instead of the 250 degree heading I was assigned. It didn't take two minutes before the got on my case and got me back to where they wanted me to be.
And while you're listening to the radio, you hear the same thing happening to other flights being worked by ATC. Most of the time it is a commercial airliner that deviates because they see something on their weather radar and I guess they're afraid if they ask it they can deviate, they will be denied. So you hear ATC scold them and the pilot says something like "We're getting right back to it (The assigned flight path)."
I suppose this deviation could have been instigated by the FAA, or the FBI, to test the response of whatever systems they have in place to handle another aircraft takeover.
But this was a test.
Of course their tickets should be revoked. What I don’t get is how come they weren’t listening to ATC communications? Did they have their headsets off? I recall that if I didn’t respond to an ATC communication soon enough due to being busy with another cockpit task, they WOULD get my attention. Questions, questions.....
That was what I heard as well. NORAD was responsible for not launching those fighters. Something smells.
Very, very interesting point! Never thought of that.
The likely story is they were sleeping. Laptops my eye!
Are these guys union?
If so, I bet they get back in.
Sleeping with their headsets off?
Could be. Hadn’t thought of that. The sleeping thing, the laptops, none of that makes any sense.
Pilot friend of mine says it’s really simple. “They fell asleep and tried to cover their sorry a$$es.”
It takes about 15-20 minutes to travel the 150 miles they overshot. Some of that time would have been spent trying to contact the crew. If you want to hang ATC on the basis of that timeline go ahead but the fact is nothing happens instantaneously in the real world even if armchair generals wish otherwise.
The Union can’t do a thing if the FAA revokes their license which the FAA has done. Their career is over. Maybe working the aisles at Lowes.
And to make matters worse they changed their story on what happended. Lying to the FBI might have consequences?
The article-and every story I’ve seen- says “out of contact for 91 minutes”.
Correct, and even if one did, which is HIGHLY unlikely, how about the other guy. This is just inexplicable.
Or if they are fatigued enough.