Note to self… Be wary of Northwest Airlines flights. People talk a lot of smack about US Airways, often for valid reasons, but it’s interesting comparing the memorable events in the media about both airlines. For US Airways, you’ve got the infamous case of Capt. Sullenberger and flight 1549 in New York…
For Northwest Airlines, there’s the recent case of Northwest Flight 188, which yesterday overshot its landing in Minneapolis by 150 miles and was out of contact with airport controllers the entire time.
When the pilots eventually reestablished contact, about sixteen minutes after they should’ve landed the plane, they said they’d become distracted by a “heated discussion over airline policy” and had “lost situational awareness.”
So they were talking enthusiastically and didn’t notice they missed their landing. They didn’t hear the repeated attempts from air traffic control to talk to them. And they finally happened to look up and pay attention 16 minutes later, realized their error, and turned the plane around.
Uh huh. They certainly didn’t fall asleep in the cockpit.