Just in time for Christmas travel comes a disturbing report about the Northwest Airlines flight that flew 100 miles past its destination earlier this fall.
The National Transportation Safety Board released documents Wednesday that, while coming to no direct conclusion about the cause of the incident, reveal how exceedingly easy it was for the Northwest pilots to fly while distracted.
Capt. Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor and First Officer Richard Cole of Salem say they got wrapped up with trying to figure out a new pilot scheduling system on their laptops.
Company policy prohibits laptop use, but that was the least of the pilots’ offense. Pilots are paid to monitor the plane and other air traffic, not to become absorbed in gripes over personnel issues. They failed to put the safety of their passengers first.
But what is most startling about federal investigators’ findings is not that pilots are indeed human beings capable of bad judgment, but that they could check out for so long without anyone being able to rouse them.
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