Sleepy pilot saw Venus and caused dive

Investigation into plunge of Air Canada plane points to pilot fatigue

An investigation into the 120 m plunge of an Air Canada aircraft above the North Atlantic last year has found that the cause was pilot fatigue. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada report, which describes the 46 seconds when the plane dived and then pulled back up, says that the first officer was suffering from “sleep inertia” intensified by fatigue.
The aircraft’s co-pilot was “confused and disorientated” after waking from a nap. Pilots are allowed controlled 40-minute periods of sleep, but he had slept 75 minutes. He misunderstood a radio message that a US Air Force plane was flying towards them on a collision course, and mistook bright light from the planet Venus for the other aircraft. The co-pilot then steered the plane into a dive, overriding the auto-pilot.
Of the 103 passengers and crew on board the Toronto-Zurich flight, 16 were injured. None were wearing seatbelts even though the seatbelt light was on.
As a consequence of the incident, the Air Canada Pilots Association has called for overnight eastbound flights to have a third pilot on board.
BBC / SkyNews
[pictured: Venus photographed on March 31st, 2012; photo by Professor Jimmy Westlake / NASA]

x

Check Also

Norwegian, Canada, first, launch, flights, travel, Dublin, Europe, Ireland, Toronto, airport, Hamilton

Norwegian opens its first route to Canada

The low-cost long-haul carrier has finally announced the start of its first flights to Canada – in a highly competitive market.

Air Canada, Air Chaina, joint venture, North America, flights, codeshare, China, Canada, connections

First China-N America airline joint venture signed

Air China and Air Canada joint venture provides “an unparalleled range of flights, products and services”.

Norwegian, IAG, takeover, buy, Walsh, third, offer, billion, debt, newspaper, report

Norwegian delays Canada and Argentina flights

Chief executive Bjorn Kjos says the postponement is due to engine supply delays at Boeing.

all gender restroom, trans, transgeneder, bathroom, American, United, Air Canada, rights, travel industry, LGBT

Travel trade catching up on transgender rights

Airlines and airports are slowly adjusting their practices

premium economy, business class, seating, air travel, airlines, Iberia, IAG, walsh, Air Canada, upgrade, downgrade

Premium economy: good for airlines?

Does it encourage passengers to upgrade or downgrade?

Iceland, visit, Air Canada, rouge, leisure, car hire, package, rental, sights, glacier, experience, tour

Air Canada sells Iceland packages

New brochure includes Fly & Drive packages