Pilots distracted due to laptops?!?

Remember that Delta/Northwest flight from San Diego to Minneapolis that overshot the airport by, oh, about 150 miles? Well, the story just got weirder. I totally expected them to have been asleep, but check out the latest news on the topic:

Instead, Cole and Cheney told investigators that they both had their laptops out while the first officer, who had more experience with scheduling, instructed the captain on monthly flight crew scheduling. The pilots were out of communication with air traffic controllers and their airline for more than an hour and didn’t realize their mistake until contacted by a flight attendant, the board said.

I’m trying my best to wrap my head around this. Let’s be honest, pilots “cheat,” but at the same time the rules are meant to be broken. Many times they’re talking when the cockpit is supposed to be “sterile,” while other times they no doubt use their laptops during flights. But how can two pilots with a combined total of over 30,000 hours of experience forget to do their jobs for over an hour while they’re fully awake?!?

I want to believe it, but I just can’t. There’s gotta be more to this….

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. yeah something definitely doesn’t add up, why would they change their stories like this, but i guess all the airline has to do is take a look at the log records in the scheduling program. How are they getting internet on the plane anyways, was a plane with gogo?

  2. It doesn’t make sense because it’s obvious (to me, at least) that they were asleep. No one who has been in the cockpit of even the tiniest 4-seater can believe that any conversation would make you miss 90 minutes of air traffic messages, many of which seem to have been voiced quite urgently. Occam’s Razor…

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