Not sure whether to laugh or be scared….

So yesterday evening a Delta A320 was flying from San Diego to Minneapolis and lost communication with ATC and flew past the airport when this happened (via the NTSB):

At 7:58 pm central daylight time (CDT), the aircraft flew over the destination airport and continued northeast for approximately 150 miles. The MSP center controller reestablished communications with the crew at 8:14 pm and reportedly stated that the crew had become distracted and had overflown MSP, and requested to return to MSP. 

That part is pretty scary, especially when we’re talking about a mainline aircraft. The part that’s kind of funny (sort of) is the pilots’ reasoning:

The crew stated they were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness.

I’m sure this had nothing to do with the recent merger. ;)

Comments

  1. says

    I admit I was a bit nervous a few months ago flying LAX-IAD, listening on Ch 9 and ATC kept calling for our pilot to acknowledge instructions. Nothing. And then just to communicate. Nothing. This went on for about 8 minutes. It felt like an hour. Ultimately no harm, no foul.

  2. Keith says

    150 miles past the destination airport? That means they cruised past the point they were supposed to initiate the descent, which is about 90-100 miles before the airport… That would mean they were 250 or so miles out of position before they were turned around. Doing some quick math in my head, time-distance; they were in a heated discussion for over an hour????? I doubt it…

    I bet they fell asleep. I bet the NTSB is going to be asking for some Voice Recorders… I bet they lose thier jobs too…

  3. Monty says

    Probably also gave various fighter aircraft crew a chance to practice their scramble/intercept procedures.

  4. Sam says

    I would have loved to have been “a fly on the wall” of the CockPit for that one to hear what they were REALLY talking about… I mean, come on, “a heated discussion over airline policy” is the best they can come up with???

    As Lucky points out, to a certain degree this is kinda Hilarious, but also as Lucky points out, this is actually very very Scary…

    I don’t know why but it reminds me of the CO plane that crashed & killed everyone on board this year. That was Very very Sad! Fortunately this one didnt have a similar outcome, but in both instances it seems like the Pilots both had a lack of experience and/or “Situational Awareness”….

  5. Kevin says

    Talking about airline policy wouldn’t distract me, it would put me to sleep.

    I kind of wish there was vidoe recording to in the cockpit to see this heated discussion and the reaction when they realized where they were.

  6. RDimperio says

    With only a 30 minute recording on the cockpit voice recorder, is it possible these idiots knowingly flew past their destination by enough time so as to force the recording of their ‘heated discussion’ to be overwritten? I think the go! pilots were fired after their Asleep-At-The-Wheel incident so these two may have thought they were going to be fired so why not come up with a more creative excuse than fatigue.

    Perhaps had the pilots chosen a career with United and enabled Channel 9, their passengers could have intervened much earlier and saved them some embarrassment.

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