American Morning

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October 27th, 2009
08:26 AM ET

How can pilots forget to land?

According to the NTSB, the two Northwest pilots who overshot their landing by 150 miles were using their laptops and lost track of time. You may be wondering – how could that happen?

In this AM original we're taking you inside the cockpit with the help of a flight simulator to see just what pilots deal with in-flight.

Read more: Report: Stray jet's pilots were on laptops

Filed under: Airline safety
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. eric

    I don't understand why everyone is focused on the actions of the pilot and not on the inaction of traffic controllers and the US Airforce. What the pilots were doing doesn't matter what matters is that they could have been being held at gunpoint (some sort of toothpaste gun i supose) and being directed to smash into the tallest building on the horizon. Why is the investigation not being focused in that direction ? is the mystery of what happened in the cock pit a smokscreen covering up the real issue of why a plane was able to fly in such a manner for so long? YES!

    October 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  2. ronvan

    Just a couple of "out of contact" pilots that have just lost their license.
    Lets just remember that their are always some "bad apples" in the barrel and how many excellent pilots are flying us around everyday.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  3. Lukas

    Did they let balloon boy take over the cockpit?

    October 28, 2009 at 4:49 am |
  4. meg

    Has anyone commented on having investigators check the hard drives to see if the pilot's stories match up? Seems pretty simple to do.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  5. Albert Ojapah

    That is unprofessional of the Pilots of the stray jet. They should have realised that they are carrying precious lives on board including theirs. They should be punished to serve as deterrent to others.

    October 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  6. David

    I want to know why these Pilots R Getting Such Grief? Did NORAD Get Harassed Like that when they waited 45 min to Dispatch Fighter jets out on 9 / 11. Why were they Not Questioned.? Why did none of them Lose there Jobs. ? Can U Answer that ?

    October 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Martin Lundström

    One thing to consider is that the pilots are pushed around from all parts.
    Less pay, less sleep and more responsibility, or in this case, more blame. When people hear lap to , they tend to think about computer games.

    The computer programs are used to calculate landing, take and flight routes. These programs has become a NECESSITY to remain competitive, saving fuel and shortening the flight routes. Yet these tool has not been integrated into the airplanes avionics.

    The main reason as I se it, having worked in this industry as a software developer, is that these tools would NEVER EVER pass an inspection. And as the report say, it is forbidden for the pilots to use them during flight. Something which is unevatable, considering the workload.

    The cause could be that the two pilots got contradicter results doing their calculations, and tried to figure out how to solve the problem.
    I do not think one should put to much blame on the pilots, when they have to work with inactivate tool, blaming them when it goes wrong and give NO thanks when they save the day.

    PS: I do no longer hold any position in this industry, thus I have no
    economical interest in this industry any longer.

    /Martin Lundström

    October 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm |