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    « Book Review: Highest Duty – Captain Sully Sullenberger, American Hero | Main | Video Shows a How a Laptop Blocks Instruments on Airbus »


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    I can see "losing situational awareness" when having a heated conversation about company politics - briefly. But for 78 minutes?! It just doesn't make sense to me that you could so thoroughly lose track of your surroundings.

    On the other hand, they *must* have known that the cockpit recorder would be checked, so it seems a stupid lie.

    I'm very interested in what comes out of this.


    I'll be curious to see the outcome of the investigation, but don't think the voice recorder will tell anything. The last time I saw one, it had an erase button that flightcrews habitually punched when they left the cockpit.


    The voice recorder only had 30 minutes of data on it, so it sounds like it will be pretty useless. By that time they would have already been in contact, and on their way back to MSP.

    While I agree this incident needs to be investigated, why is it getting so much more press than the much more serious incident of a Delta 767 landing on a taxiway in Atlanta? That one had the potential to be a major catastrophe. In the Northwest case, there were many opportunities for the pilots to be awakened (from their sleep or whatever other condition caused them to be uncommunicative). Eventually, two of those worked - the flight attendants reached them as did ATC, as outlined above. So although the mistake was serious, the safety systems worked appropriately to correct the mistake and the plane landed fine with no danger to anyone.

    But in the Delta case, the pilots apparently missed multiple cues they were lined up with a taxiway, and continued on to a complete landing. It was only a massive dose of luck that there were no planes waiting there (though I understand if they were there, they might have been visible to the crew and altered the outcome). The safety systems of aviation did NOT work right here, and that is the incident that deserves the outrage of the media, not the Northwest incident.

    Douglas Leamon

    I cannot defend the crew of NWA 188 regarding their actions while airbourne' however, by all accounts they were very cooperative with the FAA, NTSB, and their employer. After the FAA announced the revocaton of their certificates pilots around the country are asking, "Why cooperate? It is apparent that there is nothing to be gained in doing so." What would you do??

    Jim FitzGerald

    Fall asleep? Come on guys. When I fly IFR I don't get the least bit nervous when I hear no talk on the radio for 74 min. Switch radio frequencies - no, just leave it on 121.5. Nor do I keep an eye on the GPS to get that warm feeling that I know where I am at the moment.

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