WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Northwest Airlines flight from San Diego, California, overshot the Minneapolis, Minnesota, airport by about 150 miles Wednesday evening, and federal investigators are looking into whether the pilots had become distracted, as they claimed, or perhaps fell asleep.startclickprintexclude
Air traffic controllers lost radio communication with the Airbus A320, carrying 147 passengers and an unknown number of crew, when it was flying at 37,000 feet, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
There was no communication with the airplane for more than an hour as it approached the airport, the board said. An FAA spokesman said the agency was tracking the airplane on radar, so it knew the aircraft's position during the period without radio contact.
The aircraft flew over its intended destination -- Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain Airport -- and continued northeast for approximately 150 miles over the next 16 minutes. The airport's controllers then re-established communication with crew members, who said they had become distracted, the safety board said.
"The crew stated they were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness," the board said in a news release.
A federal official, who asked not to be identified, told CNN that air traffic controllers in the Denver area had communicated with the pilot, but during a subsequent communication the pilots were "nonresponsive." The plane was handed off to controllers in Minneapolis as a NORDO, the designation for "no radio communications."
wow guys, wow. it really has been a weird year for aviation, A330 goes into the Atlantic, if im remembering right it was a 320 (maybe 737?) that went into the Hudson. Dash 8 crashes in Buffalo. this 320 goes WAY off course. And i know of atleast one other "incident" in which some pilots fucked up pretty badly and almost lost a Saab at Detroit.