Working On Their Laptops, Wayward Pilots Say

The Northwest Airlines pilots who flew their jet past its Minneapolis landing by 150 miles could lose their jobs -- and their licenses.

Captain Timothy Cheney and First Officer Richard Cole told investigators they were engrossed in a complicated new crew-scheduling program on their laptop computers while air traffic controllers, other pilots and the airline itself tried to contact them.

Delta Airlines, which owns Northwest, says using laptops or engaging in activity unrelated to the pilots' command of the aircraft during flight is strictly against the airline's flight deck policies. The airline says violations of that policy will result in termination.

Delta has suspended the two pilots pending an investigation.

There are no federal rules that specifically ban pilots' use of laptops or other personal electronic devices as long as the plane is flying above 10,000 feet. But a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration says "it depends upon how it's being used."

The FAA has warned the pilots their licenses could be suspended or revoked.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by just saying on Oct 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM
    I think that there's a little more to this story that not getting told. Mile high orgy?
  • by Tony on Oct 27, 2009 at 08:43 AM
    Isn't a laptop in the sky the same as texting while driving a car. DANGEROUS
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 06:06 AM
    Okay, what were they doing that entranced them so much NEITHER realized they were WAY OFF TRACK? Must have been porn. Nothing else grabs the attention of a man that long unless its the real thing.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 05:26 AM
    I'll bet they were Facebooking!
  • by Kimo Location: Belhaven on Oct 27, 2009 at 04:22 AM
    When you start switching stories about what happened, you start losing credibility - big time!!! Both of these clowns need to become ex-commercial pilots post haste. And if there was anyone else in the cockpit with them, that person should likewise be history.
  • by Retired 747 Capt. on Oct 26, 2009 at 10:32 PM
    They should be punished, even if the lappy was for work, one should be in control of the plane at a time.I'm sure they won't fly passenigers again.
  • by FACT DOG Location: NC on Oct 26, 2009 at 07:45 PM
    The pilots should be fired and their licenses revoked forever.They did not do their job ;of flying the plane and the people onboard.
  • by George W on Oct 26, 2009 at 07:17 PM
    I would guess it was porn. At least I hope so.
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