Pilots May Have Dozed Off Before Landing
Feds open investigation after plane overshoots airport by 150 miles
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 3:47 PM CDT
In this April 15, 2008, file photo, Delta and Northwest Airlines planes taxi before takeoff at Logan International Airport in Boston.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file)
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(Newser) – Travel regulators suspect the pilots of a Northwest Airlines flight fell asleep in the cockpit yesterday. First clue: Controllers lost contact with the plane for more than an hour as it overshot its destination by 150 miles. The jet, en route from San Diego with 147 passengers aboard, finally turned and landed safely at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The pilots claim they were in a "heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness," says the NTSB, which is investigating with the FAA.

"The pilots have been relieved from active flying pending the completion of these investigations," says Northwest parent Delta, as noted by the Wall Street Journal.