On October 21 a Northwest Airline Airbus A320 en route from California overshot its destination in Minnesota. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board has revealed that they were not asleep at the controls, but busy on laptops.
The pilots said that they were aware of frequent radio calls trying to ascertain what was going on but were instead analysing future work schedules on their laptops in "a concentrated period of discussion".
"Both said they lost track of time," investigators said, according to AFP.
What was so engrossing was apparently the details of changes caused by the merger of Northwest and Delta.
Delta chief executive Richard Anderson said: "Nothing is more important to Delta than safety. We are going to continue to cooperate fully with the NTSB and the FAA in their investigations."
From a personal standpoint, based on more than a few years covering the airline industry, for a pilot to ignore the radio for that long something's got to be really riveting. Can the merger really be so engrossing?
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