Pilots flew Northwest jet 150 miles past airport or Hey you missed my stop!

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Bucksnort101, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    #1 Bucksnort101, Oct 23, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
    Here is the big story of the week up here in Minneapolis. Seems the pilots of a Northwest Airliner overflew the MPLS/St. Paul Airport by 150 miles! Pilots story is they were in a heated discussion about shop work, authorities beleive the flight crew fell asleep.

    Pilots flew Northwest jet 150 miles past airport | StarTribune.com

    The flight path of Northwest flight 188

    By JOAN LOWY , Associated Press

    Last update: October 23, 2009 - 1:20 PM


    Graphic: NWA Flight 188's flightpath


    WASHINGTON - Controllers on the ground, pilots of other planes, even a flight attendant back in the cabin tried to alert the crew as the Northwest airliner zoomed past Minneapolis at 37,000 feet. Worried about who was actually at the controls, officials asked the crew to prove who they were by executing turns after they finally were contacted.

    Officials are trying to sort out what happened aboard Flight 188 Wednesday night. The plane's cockpit voice and flight data recorders were delivered to the National Transportation Safety Board's Washington office Friday afternoon. However, the voice recorder is an older model that is only 30 minutes long, NTSB said, making it less helpful to investigators. Newer models have two-hour recordings.

    With no response from the two pilots Wednesday night, the plane flew 150 miles past its destination before turning back.

    On the ground, police and FBI agents prepared for the worst, and the Air National Guard put fighter jets on alert at two locations as the drama unfolded.

    Pilots from two other planes in the vicinity were finally able to reach the pilots using a different radio frequency, a controllers union spokesman said. A flight attendant in the cabin also was able to contact them by intercom, said a source close to the investigation who wasn't authorized to talk publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

    By that time, the Airbus A320 was over Eau Claire, Wis., and the pilots had been out of communication with air traffic controllers for over an hour. They turned back and landed safely in Minneapolis, the plane's scheduled destination.

    The crew told authorities they were distracted during a heated discussion over airline policy, said the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the incident.

    Investigators don't know whether the pilots may have fallen asleep, but fatigue and cockpit distraction will be looked into, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said Friday.

    Investigators probably will not interview the pilots until next week, he said. The pilots have been suspended from flying by Delta Air Lines, which acquired Northwest last year, while the airline also investigates.

    The plane, en route from San Diego with 144 passengers and a crew of five, passed over Minneapolis at 37,000 feet just before 8 p.m. local time. Contact with controllers wasn't established until 14 minutes later, NTSB said.

    Air traffic controllers in Denver had been in contact with the pilots as they flew over the Rockies, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. But as the plane got closer to Minneapolis, she said, "the Denver center tried to contact the flight but couldn't get anyone."

    Denver controllers notified their counterparts in Minneapolis, who also tried to reach the crew without success, Brown said.

    Officials suspect Flight 188's radio might still have been tuned to a frequency used by Denver controllers even though the plane had flown beyond their reach, said Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Union. Controllers worked throughout the incident with the pilots of other planes, asking them to try to raise Flight 188 using the Denver frequency, he said

    That was unsuccessful until two pilots working with Minneapolis controllers finally got through just before the plane turned around, Church said. Minneapolis controllers don't have the capability of using the Denver frequency, but pilots do, he said.

    After re-establishing contact with the plane, controllers asked the pilot in charge to execute a series of turns to show he was in control of the aircraft, Church said.

    "Controllers have a heightened sense of vigilance when we're not able to talk to an aircraft. That's the reality post-9/11," he said.

    Passenger Lonnie Heidtke said he didn't notice anything unusual before the landing except that the plane was late.

    The flight attendants "did say there was a delay and we'd have to orbit or something to that effect before we got back. They really didn't say we overflew Minneapolis. ... They implied it was just a business-as-usual delay," said Heidtke, a consultant with a supercomputer consulting company based in Bloomington, Minn.

    Once on the ground, the plane was met by police and FBI agents. Passengers retrieving their luggage from overhead bins were asked by flight attendants sit down, Heidtke said. An airport police officer and a couple other people came on board and stood at the cockpit door, talking to the pilots, he said.

    "I did jokingly call my wife and say, 'This is the first time I've seen the police meet the plane. Maybe they're going to arrest the pilots for being so late.' Maybe I was right," Heidtke said.

    The pilots' explanation that they were distracted by shop talk "just doesn't make any sense," said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation in Alexandria, Va. "The pilots are saying they were involved in a heated conversation. Well, that was a very long conversation."

    The FAA is updating rules governing how many hours commercial pilots may fly and remain on duty. The NTSB also cautioned government agencies this week about the risks of sleep apnea contributing to transportation accidents.

    In January 2008, pilots for two go! airlines fell asleep for at least 18 minutes during a midmorning flight from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii. The plane passed its destination and was heading out over open ocean before controllers raised the pilots. The captain was later diagnosed with sleep apnea.
     
  2. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Boy, talk about over-shooting.

    How do you make that kind of mistake?
     
  3. Bucksnort101

    Bucksnort101 Well-Known Member

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    We will probably never know for sure what happened. Indications are that this plane had a 30 minute looping cockpit recorder in it so I would suspect that the Pilots involved made dang sure they flew well over 30 munites longer so as to record over any screw ups.
     
  4. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    I could not believe it. I can hear it now, the copilot was yelling why don't you just admit that you are lost and ask for directions and the pilot was screaming, I am not lost, I am taking the short cut :twisted:

    DBII
     
  5. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    When I was in ATC in the 70's and 80's North West always made me wonder as not all of their pilots had the same limits for weather
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    LMAO!!!

    :lol:

    The pilot was a guy, and the copilot a girl.
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Nice!
     
  8. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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  9. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Wow...that's unbelievable...
     
  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Didn't a similar thing happen recently in India, where both pilots were asleep?
     
  11. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    That's funny. :lol:


    Wheels
     
  12. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Heres the FAA revocation order.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Hmmmmm...is joining the "Mile High Club" worth that?
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    :lol:
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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