Punishment for Pilots? NWA Pilots Fight FAA Decision

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By Minara El-Rahman on November 09, 2009 9:06 AM

The two pilots on Northwest Flight 188 who flew past their destination more than 100 miles are fighting the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) decision to revoke their licenses.

The incident occurred on October 21. The pilots claimed that they were so engrossed with their laptops looking at Northwest Airline's new scheduling policy, that they lost track of time. We outlined their behavior as well as other instances of pilot negligence in our previous post in Injured here.

The distracted pilots had their licenses revoked shortly thereafter. According to CNN, both pilots filed appeals against the FAA's decision.

However, the FAA feels that this was an example of poor professionalism from distracted pilots. FAA's head Randy Babbitt spoke about the pilots in a speech recently given at the International Aviation club.

As quoted by the Dallas News, Babbitt said: "The overshoot of Minneapolis is a very sad example. As a pilot, it doesn't matter much whether they were using their laptops, or re-enacting the Lincoln-Douglas debates -- what they did was wrong and they lost total situational awareness and that's why their Airman's Certificates have been revoked. "

Based on the sentiments above, it seems unlikely that the pilots appeal will be favorable for them.

Babbitt's speech also mentions that the pilots should have known better: "There is no substitute for situational awareness. They knew a lot better and they were trained a lot better. And they ignored it. But especially in the context of our push for professionalism, this whole incident is extremely disappointing."

Let's see if Babbitt will stick by his words or give the NWA pilots a chance.

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