The captain of an SAS plane flying between Copenhagen and Stockholm fell asleep last week, as the first officer was using the lavatory. Apparently the first officer had to “buzz” the cockpit several times after a bathroom break. The captain claims to have only gotten four hours of sleep the night before, and it was his fourth flight of the day.
The most interesting part of the story is no doubt this:
A manager at SAS told VG that, while having a pilot fall asleep midflight is unusual, the airline wasn’t planning to take any disciplinary measures against the pilot.
It’s “unusual?” Is that really all SAS has to say?!?
What did we learn? First of all, the first officer has a small bladder. This was less than an hour-long flight. Second of all, unlike with US airlines, there don’t always have to be two people in the cockpit (at US airlines a flight attendant goes into the cockpit when one of the pilots takes a bathroom break). Lastly, falling asleep at the controls in Scandinavia is (apparently) no big deal — not only did the captain admit to it when he could have probably come up with an elaborate excuse, but the company isn’t taking any disciplinary actions against him.
(Tip of the hat to Online Travel Review)