It turns out that the Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their destination by 150 miles were using laptops.
The incident involving a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320, raised fears of a possible hijacking and there were 2 fighters ready to take off as all ATC (Air Traffic Control) attempts failed.
The 2 pilots, both of which have now been suspended, whose Northwest Airlines plane went 150 miles further than it should have on Wednesday, said they were using their laptop computers. The federal agency (FAA) investigating the incident quoted the pilots as saying they had “accessed their personal computers during the flight” and “had lost track of time” as they discussed staff rostering. The was no ATC contact with the Northwest Airlines for more than an hour before it landed in Minneapolis.
The initial speculation was that they had fallen asleep, but the initial rumour was that they got into a heated discussion and lost track of where they were.
They admitted that during their discussion, they did not monitor or respond to calls from air traffic control via voice and to messages relayed to the in-flight systems via text.
What I can’t understand is how 2 trained pilots could disregard ATC. If you start ignoring this, then you might ignore or be slow to respond to onboard alerts from other systems such as TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System).
Could they have been asleep but covered it up with this – a less alarming story?