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Allegedly Distracted NWA Pilots Blame Controllers

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 08, 2009 9:15 AM

The distracted pilots for NWA who overshot their destination by over 100 miles are now blaming the air traffic controllers for their alleged pilot negligence.

CNN reports that the pilots now claim that air traffic control rules were not followed when they missed their destination. Their response to the administrative judge handling case was quoted by CNN as saying, "The air traffic controller(s) did not comply with the requirements of the air traffic control manual and other relevant orders, rules, procedures, policies and practices with respect to Northwest Flight 188, nor coordinate effectively with Northwest dispatch, and such failure was a causal or contributing factor in the incident."

The allegedly distracted pilots had their licenses revoked by the FAA and were seeking an appeal of that decision. We wrote about their appeal on the Injured blog here. The distracted pilots admitted to investigators that they were looking at their laptops and lost track of time.

CNN reports that Delta Airlines (which recently merged with Northwest) issued a statement which said: "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 and violations of that policy will result in termination."

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilots on the plane for more than an hour.

The FAA told CNN: "Since this is the subject of an ongoing legal process, we can't comment."    

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