How to End your Flying Career


Path of Northwest Airlines 188, overflying and returning to KMSP

Former Hornet driver Neptunus Lex notes two unfortunate (and in one case, unfathomable) occurrences from the world of commercial aviation:

  • Delta Flight 60 from Rio de Janeiro to Atlanta landed not on the assigned runway 27R, but on parallel taxiway M.  (See the layout of Atlanta/Hartsfield Intl Airport [KATL] aerodrome here.)  The aircraft touched down at 0605 Eastern Time and there were no injuries, but the night lighting for runways and taxiways was active—runways are lit with bright white lights, taxiways are lit with blue lights.  NTSB is investigating.  For those in the know, Atlanta is Delta’s major hub in the eastern United States, so it’s hard to imagine how both pilots might be unfamiliar or unaware enough to mistake the taxiway for the runway.
  • Northwest Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis remained at cruise altitude (FL370) and overflew its destination by 150 miles, out of contact with air traffic controllers.  The aircrew claimed they were having a vigorous discussion of airline policy and completely missed the TOD (top of descent) marker on their ND (nav display), the repeated calls from air traffic control, and so on.  NTSB has claimed the FDR and CVR for its investigation, but since the CVR only retains the last 30 minutes of activity, I doubt whether they will recover much more than the sounds of a crew in touch with ATC, getting clearances and vectors for their approach, and so on.
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