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Pilot Career: One Mistake And It's Over?  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 18236 times:

The NWA 188 event reminded me that being a commercial pilot seems to carry the risk that if you make one mistake (maybe it was your fault, maybe it wasn't), your career is over. What do you do as a pilot with a big mark on your record? You probably won't be hired by another airline. That seems like a major risk about a pilot career. Is there some sort of insurance pilots can buy in case this happens?

[Edited 2009-10-23 23:23:13 by jawed]

138 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 18206 times:

You cant insure against stupidity.

You can buy loss of license insurance, but it wont protect you against stupidity.

The careers of these pilots are over, yes, and well they should be. Yes, the career is a one mistake career; it should be. There is NO room for complacency and a lack of attention to detail in commercial flight operations.

Allegedly, they were having a discussion over a new policy at NWA/DAL, hardly a justification for being stupid and forgetting what you are there for; the flight deck is NO place for egos...



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineDogBreath From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 259 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 18109 times:

I guess it comes down to an individual's interpretation of what is a mistake or error. We are all human and therefore fall victim to acts and decisions that result in 'a mistake or error'. There are many reasons why a mistake can occur, such as stress, fatigue, overload, inexperience, etc. But in aviation there are so many systems in place that are there to assist and guide pilots to help prevent mistakes and errors.
Off the top of my head I can think of, extensive training and re-training (six monthly sim and annual line checks), Company SOP's (Standard Operating Procedures), JAA/FAA regulations, CRM courses, two pilot (or in the old days three with the Flight Engineer) flightdecks, to name a few. There is also something fundamental to how we flying an airplane and that is called 'airmanship'. Airmanship is gained with experience and is essentially an inbuilt barometer to how one conducts themselves everyday they fly, and involves self-discipline, flying skills, professionalism, tolerance, etc.

What these guys 'allegedy' did was not a mistake or error in my book. It comes down to negligence and unprofessional behaviour. That does not entitle one to keep their job.

I believe that the aircraft involved was an Airbus (which I've never flown), but certainly on a Boeing (which I do fly), it's pretty damn obvious from the Nav Display and visual warnings from the FMC that you are approaching top of descent and certainly when passing overhead your destination. I imagine the Airbus technology is similar if not better, so what were they doing? Certainly not flying an airplane.

The old axiom, Aviate, Navigate, Communicate cannot not broken or you 'will' have problems. That little gem is taught to all PPL pilots for a reason.



Truth, Honour, Loyalty
User currently offlineFlymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7085 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 18037 times:

Yep sure is like that. Being an airline pilot (even though the pay may not show it) is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Also one of the jobs with the most responsibility in the world. As a qoute I once hear.
"A pilot lives in a world of perfection or does not live at all."

There is not room for error in when being a pilot even just a private pilot. But when you have 200 lives in your hands the stakes are bit higher and just one little mistake can cost you your career that is just the way it is.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineKiwiinOz From New Zealand, joined Oct 2005, 2165 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 17968 times:

The NWA incident is not a "mistake". It's an indication that the guys involved do not possess the right character or commitment to do their job correctly.

However, can a pilot be excused for a judgement error in a critical situation? I think that's when it's a bit grey. There are many incidents in history, where, despite there being protocols, different pilots would handle them in different ways, with different results. I think pilots should be excused for failed judgement calls not covered in manuals or by precedents.


User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12397 posts, RR: 37
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 17927 times:

Leaving aside the NWA pilots, I do think that it can often be the case. I recall the case, recently, of an EK 777 pilot under training, who - while on descent to MAN - put the wrong go around info into the FMC and of course, when a GA became necessary, the aircraft flew the GA for the wrong runway. Result: so long, farewell, auf wiedersehn ...

Very punitive, when retraining or a verbal "bollicking" might have done the job. M/E airlines can be quite "fire-happy" in that regard and unfortunately, although it might have limited effect along the lines of "pour encourager les autres", it does NOT contribute to a good safety environment. Airlines - and everyone involved in aviation - MUST understand that people are fallible. The NWA case may have been negligence, but there are errors that people make every day which are not as serious; now, if you have a culture which suggests that people will be severely disciplined or even fired for minor infractions, you are going to have a culture where mistakes are hidden. Airlines with a good safety culture - the likes of BA, Cathay or Qantas - do not achieve that by having a punitive approach to errors; yes, of course, they'll get rid of people who show wanton negligence, BUT they will have internal, anonymous channels to facilitate and ENCOURAGE awareness of safety issues.

Cathay, for example, employs the "Reason model" - better known as the "Swiss cheese" model, which means a focus on latent threats to air safety. It recognises that in any crash or accident, there are several causal factors which an airline can identify long before they become a threat. For some carriers, a culture like that would not be possible, and those which maintain a refusal to accept the realities of the human condition are more likely to become involved in accidents.

Here's a useful analogy; what would happen to a wing if it didn't bend or flex?


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 914 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 17789 times:



Quoting KiwiinOz (Reply 4):
The NWA incident is not a "mistake". It's an indication that the guys involved do not possess the right character or commitment to do their job correctly

Innocent until proven guilty. Yeah, I know, my first reaction was " asleep, sack em" and "lying B.........s" but hey, its only fair to wait untill investigation is complete. Suspension is the right thing at this time. If investigation finds that they lied, and were asleep, or "wernt with it" etc etc, goodnight chaps!!



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineNWAESC From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 3380 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 17766 times:



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 1):
The careers of these pilots are over, yes, and well they should be

You sure? It's kinda early to say that, don't you think?



"Nothing ever happens here, " I said. "I just wait."
User currently offlineRabenschlag From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 1005 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 17734 times:

I strongly believe that when responsible behavior is a must, a strict but forgiving error culture is a must.

When errors result in consequences that threaten the existence of those who committed them, they will do the best they can to cover up these errors. So nobody learns from the errors. That is why I believe that a more lenient alcohol policy is actually better than having a policy where the first incident makes you loose your job.

Errors occur. It's human. And just with accidents in aviation in general, human error itself is caused by multiple factors. I think it is dangerous to make an easy inference from errors to the character or personality of the pilots. That underestimates the power of the situation.

Also, I have the feeling that there is some hypocrisy is involved in these issues. In the thread on the NWA incident (and the TAP incident, which was similar), some pilots suggested that taking naps happens on a regular basis. And it is probably the same with other rules. As long it goes well, nobody cares.


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 914 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 17707 times:



Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 8):
Also, I have the feeling that there is some hypocrisy is involved in these issues. In the thread on the NWA incident (and the TAP incident, which was similar), some pilots suggested that taking naps happens on a regular basis. And it is probably the same with other rules. As long it goes well, nobody cares

hmmmmmmmmm, both of them at the same time????? Nah, if I knew that was a regular occcurrence I wouldnt be flying any more, plus the fact, it would be totally unprofessional, wouldnt it??



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlineDispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17702 times:

According to the NTSB, the pilots were “in a heated discussion over airline policy” and “lost situational awareness" when they overflew the airport.

I'm sorry, but this does still rule...

Quote:
Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.

— Captain A. G. Lamplugh, British Aviation Insurance Group, London. Circa early 1930’s

I could accept a mistake - like they misprogrammed their MCDU somehow, or was troubleshooting a problem in the air and got task-fixated like the UAL DC8 crew did in PDX back in the 70s. I could even accept a landing at the wrong airport; sorta. But, the first rule in aviation is FLY THE DAMNED PLANE.

According to the ground track, they started their turn back to MSP north of Eau Claire. I'll have to dig in the Airbus books, but wouldnt the MCDU start to gripe when you start going off the magenta line and miss your top of descent. They didnt just go off the magenta line...

I would however, love to know what they thought when their heads were back in the cockpit, when they realized that they just screwed the pooch bigtime. That is a CVR I would pay to listen to, but I think that in future CRM classes, we just might be able to...



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineAffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 350 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17693 times:

One quality that a pilot must possess is multitasking. In this incident the two pilots got too caught up in what they were discussing that they forgot their task at hand. In my book there's no excuse for this behavior. Given also that these guy are more likely senior pilots because of the layoffs it's quite embarrassing, not only for the pilots but also for the airline. I see no reason why they should be allowed to keep their jobs. Unprofessional behavior like this has no place in a cockpit of a flying plane. Differences in opinion and arguments shall be solved when on the ground, BASTA! I think that the FAA will strip these pilots of their licenses for grave neglience, or at least I hope so.


I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlineRabenschlag From Germany, joined Oct 2000, 1005 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17598 times:



Quoting TN486 (Reply 9):
hmmmmmmmmm, both of them at the same time????? Nah, if I knew that was a regular occcurrence I wouldnt be flying any more, plus the fact, it would be totally unprofessional, wouldnt it??

Of course not both at the same time voluntarily. But if you have enough incidences of planned "one-pilot-naps", the chances for an unplanned two-pilot-nap are increasing. It's a matter of chance.


User currently offlineTN486 From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 914 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17532 times:



Quoting Rabenschlag (Reply 12):
the chances for an unplanned two-pilot-nap are increasing. It's a matter of chance.

IMHO, this would then highlight a totally unacceptable problem with Cockpit Resource Management.



remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 6982 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 17512 times:



Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 10):
But, the first rule in aviation is FLY THE DAMNED PLANE.

Unfortunately, these pilots work for a large legacy carrier where their skills at computer management is more valued and appreciated than their actual flying skills.

Early autopilots maintained level flight, current autopilots attached to FMC's can - depending on where you are flying from and to - be given control of the a/c soon after take off, the pilots basic task, and longest function for which he makes the majority of his funds is to sit and watch the computer screens, actual flying is getting less and less, something will eventually have to be done to "stimulate" the brain and keep the pilots motivated. Especially on long haul flights, as pax we demand TV, radio, magazines or sleep, with the current level of computerization, maintaining half hour checks with stations on the way is the only other task besides monitoring the computers. This requires huge mental discipline which pilots are not credited for as we rush to the bottom of compensation.

I know the investigation is not complete, my initial thoughts were that they missed their target due to non-technical and procedural means, they knew the CVR was on a 30min loop so they used that time. A heated discussion in a sterile cockpit for such a long period of time should demand a OSHA investigation of DL itself as if true, they obviously have huge problems which their personnel due to the merger, crew integration and cost savings due to the merger will be more dangerous.


User currently offlineAirNZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 17438 times:



Quoting Flymia (Reply 3):
Yep sure is like that. Being an airline pilot (even though the pay may not show it) is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Also one of the jobs with the most responsibility in the world. As a qoute I once hear.
"A pilot lives in a world of perfection or does not live at all."

Sorry, and with sincere respect, I think you need to come down a little bit toward reality there. Whilst it is assuredly a skilled and responsible job, having been a military combat and civil airline pilot for 30 years, I can safely say it it also not one of the "toughest jobs in the world". Military pilot, perhaps yes and most certainly ranking up there among the toughest jobs if actually in combat.....but there is nothing inherently tough about flying a civilian airliner, and I'm sincerely curious how you think it is. I think you're confusing a few things (particularly as you mention pay and obviously thinking it's not high enough!) and there is most assuredly no disrespect meant toward pilots, but you strike me as one of those who seek to put pilots on some sort of fantasy pedestal where they simply don't belong. In think the vast majority of pilots, being honest, will agree.


User currently offlineFxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7172 posts, RR: 86
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 17409 times:
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In some cases, one mistake will cost your career in aviation. Asleep at the wheel, yes; a first DUI, probably not. The burden of responsibility is very high in this industry.

Quoting Dispatchguy (Reply 1):
The careers of these pilots are over, yes, and well they should be.

The Captain on the NW flight will probably lose his job; the FO might be able to keep his with some 'time off'. The pilots on the DL flight that landed on the taxiway will both probably end up getting fired, but the union might be able to help them both in the long run.  twocents 


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13005 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 17280 times:

The severity of the incident, if people are injured or killed, publicity of it that calls for someone to get fired for their poor decision making especially where they are combinded as factors can lead to an end of a career. We have seen pilots nailed for or attempting to fly while under the infuence of alcohol and drugs but allowed to return if they go to rehab. We have also seen after certain incidents that upon investigations that other factors that led to the bad decision making meant the pilot didn't have to get fired. Improved training, improved monitoring (CVR and FDRs), CRM policies, have also improved that information needed to make the sharp line decision to fire and end a career.
Airlines make major investments in training and in general as to pilots, so firings can be very costly as well as set them up for lawsuits if any issue like race, age, gender or personal issues are involved in that decision. Problem is that now there is a far less tolarance by airlines to keep pilots who have caused or may cause a serious liability problem due to the changes in the industry, general attitudes toward employment security and the current economic situations.
We also need to have a central record keeping facility to make sure poor pilots cannot bounce around from airline to airline until they do 1 flight too many.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 17243 times:



Quoting TN486 (Reply 6):
Innocent until proven guilty. Yeah, I know, my first reaction was " asleep, sack em" and "lying B.........s" but hey, its only fair to wait untill investigation is complete. Suspension is the right thing at this time. If investigation finds that they lied, and were asleep, or "wernt with it" etc etc, goodnight chaps!!

Unfortunately, such sound reasoning is incompatible with many things, none the least of which is the "news cycle". I'm sure those two NWA pilots must feel that they each have a Sidewinder locked-on to their butts...  Wow!


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4895 posts, RR: 16
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 17185 times:

There's human error, carelessness, incompetence, and breaking rules. Everyone makes mistakes of the first kind, but you can't condone the other three. It seems to me the system is quite forgiving - the worst that can happen is losing your license?

As for the job itself, a pilot holds the fate of hundreds of lives in real time - unlike a surgeon. Unfortunately, junior pilots also seem to have the same hours, fatigue and low pay of surgical interns. Interns do have a clear career progressions, unlike pilots who start at the bottom of the rung every time they change employers.

In the Military, you do get fed, housed, and paid but the mission is different. You are superbly trained to be ready at a moments notice, to go on grueling sorties but are not usually responsible for other souls sitting in the back. Simplistically, you make a mistake, you are the only person that pays the price (unless you bail out).

The mission of an Air Transport Pilot is to move people safely and comfortably from A to B in three dimensions. Compared to a Bus Driver (two dimensions) - avoid other traffic and stay on the road - it's a safer job. A Train Operator (one dimension) has it easiest - his job is to avoid cows and cars at crossings and stay off the texting. But Bus Drivers and Train Operators don't have to T/O, Land and deal with the complexities of safe flying.

We really need to take care of our pilots better.


User currently offlineATCtower From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 538 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 17184 times:



Quoting Fxramper (Reply 16):
In some cases, one mistake will cost your career in aviation. Asleep at the wheel, yes; a first DUI, probably not. The burden of responsibility is very high in this industry.

The Captain on the NW flight will probably lose his job; the FO might be able to keep his with some 'time off'. The pilots on the DL flight that landed on the taxiway will both probably end up getting fired, but the union might be able to help them both in the long run. twocents

In an industry where we are responsible for hundreds of lives at a time, or in our instance thousands, mistakes are not generally acceptable. As humans we are not infallible. Mistakes can and will happen. The gravity of the mistake and outcome will often be the deciding factor whether or not it is a career ending one.

In ATC we have operational deviations and operational errors (OD's and OE's). An operational deviation can be anything missing a hand-off to clearing a plane incorrectly and will not generally result in much more than a slap on the wrist. An OE (or 'deal' as most know them) is generally losing separation minima and allowing endangering the flight. Both happen throughout the system multiple times per day, but the end result of a first infraction will not usually be a career ender. Even when the error ends in fatalities through an egregious error on the controller's behalf, we are not let go unless a patter persists.

On the other hand, a single, solitary DUI, DWI, DWAI, etc. can be a career ending mistake should the AME not see us fit to receive a medical certificate. I would presume it is the same with pilots since we have the same reporting requirements. It is not particularly common for a controller to lose their job on a first infraction, but should other charges be filed in conjunction with your DUI, the AME will report that as well.

Should these pilots be fired for "falling asleep" should that be the outcome? I would from the depths of my heart like to say yes. I can, however, see how this could happen. The obscene hours and demand of the profession to travel to pick up an assignment, fly six legs, and deadhead somewhere else would inherently play a very difficult role in one's life. With any luck, this may shed some light on "why" these pilots were asleep, and not as large of a role as they "were" asleep. The pilots who landed on a taxiway in ATL is far beyond me. Both morons should be fired immediately for gross incompetence. Approach lights don't normally lead one to a taxiway, and they solely endangered the lives of everyone on board. We can only be thankful that it did not become a Tenerife like incident.

My $.02



By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.
User currently offlineMD88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1330 posts, RR: 20
Reply 21, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 17028 times:

Neither of these crews will get fired IMO. Doesn't happen much. Some time off without pay is most likely and then retraining with punitive letters in their file (setting up a firing for the next slip up). The NW crew might be in a more tenuous position if it is found that they are lying and were indeed asleep. The mantra of military pilots has always been "deny, deny, deny" but that isn't a great idea in the era of voice recorders that can hear you snore. This incident is much harder for me to comprehend, while landing on a taxiway is a "there by the grace of God go I" incident.

The taxiway landing crew probably has a little more in the way of protection. Along with the standard fatigue, the LCA was sick in the back and an emergency declared - the mitigating circumstances are there. Combine that with the fact that the Captain under training isn't qualified yet and there are at least some out-of-the-ordinary factors. It was a scew up no doubt. It should never happen but it does every few years. In the favor of this crew was that they were undoubtedly trying to do it right and made a human mistake. They will not get fired.


User currently offlineAirNZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 17009 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 19):
Simplistically, you make a mistake, you are the only person that pays the price (unless you bail out).

Hmmm! sorry to get personal, but I and a lot of friends families would catagorically disagree with you on that!!!!!!!!! I personally have lost seven colleagues to such 'mistakes' by the USAF in friendly fire 'mistakes'. Please don't tell me such is "simplistically".....especially when those responsible have paid no price at all!!!!


User currently offlinePlainplane From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 837 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 16836 times:

There was one story told to me about a pilot that was forced to show up for a checkride while sick, and he threw up in the simulator. The FAA then revoked his medical.

What about incidents where it wasn't even the pilot's fault?


User currently offlineBigSaabowski From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 147 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 16742 times:



Quoting ATCtower (Reply 20):
The pilots who landed on a taxiway in ATL is far beyond me. Both morons should be fired immediately for gross incompetence. Approach lights don't normally lead one to a taxiway, and they solely endangered the lives of everyone on board

The approach lights were not on as 27R is not a normal landing runway and the tower didn't think fast enough. The localizer for the runway has also been out of service for months. Yes, they should've picked out the blue edge lights in the darkness, but it sounded like there was too much going on with the sick pilot.


25 OPNLguy : Could have been worse--he could have thrown up ON the FAA guy, but then he'd have lost his certificate in addition to losing his medical... Any simil
26 Srbmod : Let's use the Go! incident in Hawaii in February of 2008 as an example since that incident to an extent mirrors the NW incident. The FAA temporarily
27 YYZYYT : It's more than just "lives are in the balance". There are lots of jobs where mistakes can kill, from "bus drivers" who fall asleep and run a bus full
28 SSTsomeday : Yeah I'm surprised about this attitude of complacency regarding unscheduled naps in the cockpit. I just can't see how this is acceptable with all the
29 Post contains links Fxramper : Sully offered his opinion on minimum nights when he was in AUS yesterday. article I know and fly with a retired NW 744 Capt that stayed on the sick li
30 Planemaker : The above is just one of the reasons why we will eventually have, first, a single-pilot cockpit, and then no-pilot cockpit airliners. Ditto first ans
31 Kaiarahi : Try this thread for info: "WSJ: Naps In The Cockpit"
32 OPNLguy : With all due respect, you're missing an essential point here....and (IMHO) it's leading you (and others that have also missed the same point) to an i
33 FlyPNS1 : But in reality, they were (or should have been) leaving the enroute environment and should have been entering the terminal. Had they just been cruisi
34 Ikramerica : This is hardly the only profession where negligence can kill others and will get you fired. Or imprisoned for that matter.
35 Peachair : Couldn't agree more. With 144 lives in your hands - this is inexcusable. Also - I have a hard time believing they were'nt asleep. There was no respon
36 Bennett123 : IMO, as a non expert, it should not be one mistake and your out. However, if they can be out of the loop to this extent, then I am glad that they will
37 OPNLguy : Sigh... I guess neither one of you have ever been driving down the freeway, daydreaming or conversing with someone else in the car, and unintentional
38 Planemaker : Certainly never missing an exit and driving for so long past it without realizing it! But better to ask a bus driver that question... they are gettin
39 Post contains images OPNLguy : I give up. You're all correct. They should be both be terminated wth extreme predjudice...   I'm outta here....[Edited 2009-10-24 09:47:01]
40 FlyPNS1 : But the scale here is what is striking. I'm sure many pilots have missed an ATC handoff and some have been a little late in making transitions, but t
41 OPNLguy : Given the differences in speeds between the two modes of transportation, time-wise it's closer overall to being the same than one might think....
42 Dl767captain : I think it's more "one big mistake" and your career is over, not just 1 mistake. Pilots make little mistakes often and they are never a big deal, but
43 SEPilot : My version is that airplanes are very forgiving, but you run out of that forgiveness very abruptly. I certainly think we need to wait for the facts t
44 Pink77W : I was riding on a city bus in Los Angeles the other day and the driver went right passed his freeway exit! He freaked out, but luckily no one wanted o
45 Cytz_pilot : But remember that public opinion is not a substitute for an internal investigation. They'll have their chances to explain themselves before it comes
46 ATCtower : Thats the main problem here... Fatigue has been adressed a number of times and the outcome has not been favorable enough to reduce the occurrance of
47 Peachair : We will obviously find out in the investigation what took place, but I respectfully disagree. If all pilots were allowed a mulligan for "daydreaming"
48 Rabenschlag : I started thinking about the factual consequences in case they will be fired. Assuming that they have no "loss of licence" insurance: What would they
49 FlyDeltaJets87 : Busting the alcohol policy is not a "mistake" - it's a conscious decision. "I'm going drinking tonight". It's a pretty simple rule to follow. As Air
50 Stabako : Hi all, I read through this thread pretty quickly but didn't see anyone mention the possibility that the pilots continued past MSP intentionally? One
51 413x3 : Never will society completely trust computers, you are living in a fantasy perpetuated by movies
52 A346Dude : Missed an exit? Sure, that's understandable. Missed an exit and not noticed it for over an hour? When the destination was 15 minutes after that exit?
53 PGNCS : I have no idea what the investigation will reveal in this case, but I could not appreciate OPNLguy's sentiment more that the investigation should act
54 Post contains images Barney Captain : Draw and quarter 'em I say. Then burn down their house. Unbelievable. Lets pretend for a second that they did fall asleep. Rather than shoot first and
55 Par13del : Too complicated and expensive an issue, imagine: NTSB revisits and attempts to set new pilot hours for rest and flying NTSB revisits down time after
56 Barney Captain : I can't tell if your being facetious or not, but in case you are serious, I believe this is a current hot item for the FAA. September 17, 2009 Securi
57 Max777geek : I wouldn't marry the theory they both fell asleep. How long did this nap last ? one hour AFTER the destination and began exactly before the top of des
58 Texan : It depends on the mistake or error the pilot commits. The FAA will review the case and decide if a punishment is appropriate. If so, the FAA could ta
59 Mir : I do believe in forgiveness for pilots who make honest mistakes, even stupid honest mistakes (I'm willing to give the NW pilots and the DL pilots the
60 Peachair : Very intersting theory and PLAUSIBLE! If they woke up and realized they screwed up - just fly for 30 minutes as normally as you can - nobody will eve
61 Kaiarahi : Like the UN black helicopters, which were probably the cause of this.
62 Soaringadi : This is just my 2 cents to the topic in general..... well it may end up being a nickel or a quarter..... Let me start off by saying...... no one gives
63 Planemaker : It is very logical. There is an oversupply of pilots... if there wasn't, then airlines would have to pay more to attract them. As for pro athletes, I
64 AirNz : Okay, so please explain to me how, with all the same information and facts (I assume you weren't one of the pilots in the cockpit) we are all WRONG a
65 Mir : There are grey areas. Some people are clearly fireable. Others you would clearly want to keep around. And then there are those where judgement calls
66 Par13del : Well NASA did commission a study years ago to see if controlled naps in the cockpit would be beneficial, despite the results the FAA was not swayed,
67 OPNLguy : I don't "know" with absolute certainty exactly what happened, but 30 years of airline operational control experience over here afford me more than a
68 DocLightning : I would like to point that someone doesn't accidentally fall asleep on purpose. I have fallen asleep in mid-sentence during residency. It's not the s
69 Luv2cattlecall : IMHO, their excuse, or the plausible truth - sleep - are both grounds for not flying pax again. I'm usually a person who says aircraft are generally
70 Apodino : As far as the DL pilots who landed on a taxiway in ATL, I have no doubt they will keep their jobs. I say this based on the fact that the CO pilots who
71 Mir : It's that "done correctly" that makes all the difference. Flying is less forgiving than all of the other professions you named, and yet the accident
72 Barney Captain : Sorry, but that's a typical comment from someone who hasn't spent any real time in the industry. Anyone who claims to have the experience outlined in
73 BrouAviation : Wow, you are fast! You should join the FAA or NTSB with your skills. I know a senior flight captain and instructor on the B777 on one of the largest
74 AirNZ : Yes, in my opinion he should have. It's all very easy for you to come in with 'revisionist history' now that you can look back on the incident and us
75 Kaiarahi : So in your world, AirNZ, there would be no doctors. Every doctor would have been fired for falling asleep during their residency because they were in
76 TN486 : Sir, (and I am not being facetious), you will note from my profile I have no background in civil aviation ( just a more than passing interest - so an
77 Par13del : Both valid points, however, in our world it is much easier to pinpoint a "human" over the "industry". Who is the industry, the management of the airl
78 Kaiarahi : Then you better not take any flights in Europe, where EASA (regulator) allows napping, in accordance with the evidence that, if managed properly, nap
79 TN486 : Cant argue with that. Are systems in place to record and control?? Does this approval occur in other parts of the world?? I would expect though in a
80 Kaiarahi : Certainly not both at the same time. There's information on the thread "WSJ : Naps in the Cockpit".
81 TN486 : Thanks for that, very interesting comments, and some quite funny. Still, a very hard sell for pax,if they knew, and I am sure a lot dont.
82 NorCal : So it's pretty cut and dry for you then right? Pilots fall asleep = they get fired. If you really were a pilot you would understand the concept of co
83 BrouAviation : Let me say he was flying a cargo 727, to make that clear. The question asked should be here: Does he really proves to be incompetent.. OR? is this ju
84 LTBEWR : I think one other issue in situations like the DL landing at ATL on the taxiway and the NW over flight, is that today we have a far more senationalist
85 AirNZ : I think you really need to re-read and, perhaps more importantly, actually understand what I was commenting on instead of the gratification of lookin
86 ATCtower : What everyone seems to be missing in the little pissing match is WHY they fell asleep. This would mean more to me than any instance of them actually
87 BrouAviation : How many times a day does it happen pilots take the wrong taxiway at an airport they are not familiar with? Dozens of times. Should these people be fi
88 Post contains links Rightrudder : The ASRS: The Case for Confidential Incident Reporting Systems Since this thread is on whether the pilots are going to be let go or not, my thought ar
89 NorCal : So the pilots are incompetent and irresponsible when scheduling makes trips with short overnights? (an 8 hour overnight typically results in 5-6 hour
90 Planemaker : The horrible Tenerife accident has absolutely no bearing with this thread. The pilot did NOT take the wrong taxiway as you assert.
91 OPNLguy : "Ding!"
92 Post contains links FlyDeltaJets87 : The DL 764 landing on the taxiway was a combination of events leading up what thankfully was not a disaster, but was still a huge difference than two
93 Mir : Unless there is company policy prohibiting it, which would provide incentive to try and tough it out - that rarely works well. We know the FAA isn't
94 NorCal : Neither pilot planned on falling asleep, in matter of fact they legally can't. Jump seaters aren't even allowed to sleep. They fell asleep accidental
95 Bennett123 : FlyDeltaJets87 I think that you are taking my comment, (reply 36) out of context. Barney Captain I know about the financial situation, but surely if t
96 Planemaker : Missing the taxiway is different than taking the wrong taxiway... which is what was originally asserted - and there is a difference. Furthermore, the
97 FlyDeltaJets87 : Missing the correct taxiway would kinda lead to taking the wrong one, yes? I didn't bring up Tenerife initially and I wasn't trying to relate it to t
98 NorCal : No of course not, truckers and doctors are two professions I can think of off the top of my head that have sleep issues. If a doctor or a trucker fal
99 CosmicCruiser : Usually inserting the approach has the miss attached. Never heard of loading them seperately.
100 Planemaker : You didn't "correct" anything as missing a taxiway is NOT the same as taking the wrong taxiway... and certainly NOT in the context of Tenerife and th
101 Luv2cattlecall : That's a good point. I know that, though not quite allowed, it's not uncommon for pilots to take 30 minute naps..and to be honest, I'm ok with that.
102 NorCal : What's the point of a company giving sick time if you get interrogated when you try and use it? Do you go to the doctor every time you get the flu or
103 CosmicCruiser : First let me say that I'm not supporting nor condeming any particular incident cited on this post but having said that: having read 1000s of safety r
104 AT : I can understand reprimanding or placing on an unpaid X week probation, but firing a pilot for a single mistake is a bit much (in my opinion), UNLESS
105 AT : Also, a somewhat tangential question: do pilots have insurance against job loss for health related issues? For example, what if you suddenly develop a
106 NorCal : If they flew around for more than 30 minutes then whatever they were talking about or all of their zzzzzs would be recorded over. I think they should
107 ATCtower : As far as I am aware, there is no insurance regarding pilots losing physical abilities to perform duties. If the AME says you are not cleared to go, y
108 Dispatchguy : Actually, they probably wouldve contacted their ALPA Union Safety Hotline, answered 24/7, who would put them in touch with a Union attorney at no cha
109 CosmicCruiser : There's also a policy thru ALPA/Harvey Watt that will make up the diff between LTD and reg pay. But the downside is that if you go on LTD this policy
110 NorCal : I have no idea what they did or didn't do in terms of a schedule. All I'm saying is that when the investigation is done if it is determined that cont
111 CosmicCruiser : Latest off Yahoo... crew says they were on laptops working on schedules.
112 NorCal : Here is what the NTSB has found so far: From NTSB interviews with crew ************************************************** ********** NTSB ADVISORY ***
113 Post contains images Luv2cattlecall : I'm at a loss for words...... Reminds me of this picture though
114 DocLightning : Or if their schedule was so abnormal that even alone and in a quiet hotel room, they suffered from insomnia, then it wouldn't be their fault. There i
115 Kaiarahi :
116 NorCal : Holy crap! Who are those clowns? I hope they aren't flying anymore.
117 SSTsomeday : Ditto. Though I must say the laptop scenario is hard to believe; that they would remain out of touch and without situational awareness for THAT long
118 FlyDeltaJets87 : If a doctor is performing an operation or procedure in which my life is on the line and they fall asleep, I hope they're fired on the spot. Now while
119 Luv2cattlecall : You raise an excellent point that places a gaping hole in their explanation. The only plausible excuse is that they were looking at a spreadsheet or
120 Mir : They were probably doing neither of those things. The autopilot handles the course changes, and position reports are not required when in radar cover
121 Pilotpip : Both airlines I have flown for ban any non-company materials from the cockpit. If you want to induce fatigue, read my POH or GOM. A good conversation
122 Mir : I'm completely on board with the importance of proper button pushing and good crew teamwork and crosschecking - I was just trying to be technical abo
123 NorCal : The guys on the computers are just as likely to miss something as the guys that fell asleep, we saw that with this NW flight. They might as well have
124 ATCtower : Correct me if I am wrong as I am just a controller and recreational pilot, not a commercial pilot, but isn't there an audible alert when the flight pl
125 Pilotpip : Most aircraft do not. When you reach the end of a flight plan (a great example would be the last fix on an arrival where it says "expect vectors to t
126 NorCal : In answer to your first question, most don't. The engineers that design these planes expect us to be professional and not overfly airports. Who said
127 Burnsie28 : Then I would say the two Delta pilots that landed a 767 on a flippin taxiway should be fired immediately... seeing how they put their passengers in a
128 DocLightning : And I hope not. In fact, it has happened. Firing the doctor doesn't fix the problem that he's probably a resident whose program is in flagrant violat
129 NorCal : While I've never had to work a schedule like you just described when you were a resident I have had some pretty rough days and what you just posted a
130 FlyDeltaJets87 : Then I would have told the person calling me unprofessional to "F*** OFF", because you made the right decision. I've made the decision to skip Air Fo
131 BrouAviation : I just used it as an example to make my point about minor and major errors! Why are you reacting so hypersensitive on that? That's exactly what I mea
132 NorCal : It looks like justice has been dealt swiftly: Washington (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the licenses of the two Northwest Ai
133 FlyDeltaJets87 : If I'm the passenger riding in the back of the plane, I really don't care if the reason BOTH pilots are asleep is A) because they're tired from party
134 Mir : It was the right decision, but that's not going to help when you get fired from an airline as a result of making those decisions. It's very hard to g
135 BrouAviation : In this specific case, with the pilots playing around on their notebooks, there indeed is no one else to blame.
136 NorCal : Yes I understand that but honestly that view is a little short sighted. Firing the pilots in scenario A would solve the problem, firing them in scena
137 DocLightning : Wait, if it's not your fault when you didn't kill anyone, then if you did kill someone, it's still not your fault. If you show me your firearm and I
138 Planemaker : Simply pointing out that Tenerife has no bearing on this thread is not being hypersensitive... it is just being factual.
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