Distracted NWA pilots have licenses revoked


The Federal Aviation Administration revoked the licenses of the two pilots in charge of the Northwest Airlines flight that overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles last week. The pilots admitted to investigators that they had been using personal laptops in the cockpit, which is prohibited. The pilots also stopped communicating with air traffic control for more than an hour. At least they had the guts to admit their ridiculously stupid mistake.

The National Transportation Safety Board said pilots Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., the first officer, and Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash., told the same story when interviewed this weekend. The use of laptops during flight is against airline policy.

They didn't realize where they were until a flight attendant contacted them on the intercom minutes before they should have been landing in Minneapolis. Both pilots said they were discussing flight crew scheduling and "lost situational awareness."

FAA Revokes Pilot Licenses

The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the licenses of two Northwest Airlines pilots who overflew their destination airport on October 21, 2009 while operating Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis.

The pilots were out of contact with air traffic controllers for an extended period of time and told federal investigators that they were distracted by a conversation. Air traffic controllers and airline officials repeatedly tried to reach them through radio and data contact, without success.

The emergency revocations cite violations of a number of Federal Aviation Regulations. Those include failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly.

The revocations are effective immediately. The pilots have 10 days to appeal the emergency revocations to the National Transportation Safety Board.