Northwest Pilots Clammed Up After Overshooting Airport

FAA transcript shows pair blaming silence on 'cockpit distractions'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2009 2:40 PM CST
Northwest Pilots Clammed Up After Overshooting Airport
In this image released by, the flight path of Northwest Flight 188 on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 is shown.   (AP Photo/

Air traffic controllers who sought an explanation from the pilots of the "runaway plane," which overshot the Minneapolis airport by about 100 miles last month, got little satisfaction. After being out of radio contact for over an hour, controllers asked the crew of Northwest Flight 188 for a "brief explanation" of their radio silence, according to transcripts the FAA released today. "Ah [just] cockpit distractions, that's all I can say," one of the pilots responded.

When pressed, the pilots continued: "Ah we're just dealing with some company issues here and that's all ah I can tell you right now at this time." The FAA has revoked their licenses, and the pilots, Timothy Cheney and Richard Cole, are appealing the decision, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Check out the transcripts and audio at the FAA website.
(More Northwest Airlines stories.)

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