Pilots Who Overshot Destination Claim to Have Been Busy on Laptops
According to CNN, the two commercial pilots who overshot their destination by a good 150 miles last week are now claiming that they were on their laptops in the cockpit, and just "lost track of time and location." Northwest Airbus A320 was making its way from San Diego to Minneapolis before aviation officials lost radio contact somewhere around Denver. Delta, the parent of Northwest, said in a released statement that "using laptops or engaging in activity unrelated to the pilots' command of the aircraft during flight is strictly against the airline's flight deck policies and violations of that policy will result in termination."
The pilots both passed breathalyzer tests administered upon their eventual landing in Minnesota, and neither claimed to be fatigued, or suffering from any medical conditions. The exact details of what distracted them, though, remain hazy at best. In a federal safety report released Monday, the pilots claimed to have had a "concentrated period of discussion where [they] did not monitor the airplane or calls" from air traffic control. Both admitted to hearing conversation on their radios, but neither noticed messages sent by Northwest dispatchers. The report quotes both pilots as stating that they'd accessed their laptops while discussing a new scheduling system that had been implemented since the Delta merger. Must have been riveting.
Officials hope that the cockpit's voice recording will shed some light on what exactly happened, though they're not sure how much it'll help. The recorder can only capture 30 minutes of sound, and whatever the two said while they weren't