Air Safety Regulators: Pilots Just Won't Stop Falling Asleep

It’s always nice to keep things in perspective.

Flight delays or cancellations are a pain. And paying for in-flight soda is also irritating. But they’re better than flying on a plane manned by a sleeping pilot:

WSJ: Safety experts and regulators have long been concerned about the dangers of exhausted, overworked or downright sleepy pilots. But the problem is intensifying as financially strapped airlines try to squeeze more productivity out of pilots, who by most measures are logging more hours per month and flying more gruelling schedules than at any time since 2001.

…But critics say new regulations are necessary to prevent incidents like one that unfolded in February. A flight operated by commuter carrier Go!, en route from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii, encountered a serious problem as it flew over Maui: Both pilots were fast asleep.

Cruising at 21,000 feet with 40 passengers aboard a Bombardier regional jet shortly before 10 a.m., the pilots for 18 minutes failed to respond to frantic calls from air-traffic controllers. The jet overshot its destination, crossed the big island of Hawaii and headed southeast over the Pacific. After travelling 26 nautical miles beyond its destination, the flight crew finally responded, reversed course and landed safely, according to the NTSB.

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