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You'd think the pilots of Northwest Flight 188 wouldn't have a leg to stand on.  They admitted to violating their own company's policy by checking their flight schedules on their laptops.  Their 77-to-91 minute radio silence (depending on the source) so concerned authorities that the White House was alerted to the situation.  And yet, in their effort to appeal to the FAA, the pilots blame the controllers.

Capt. Timothy Cheney, 54, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and First Officer Richard Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore., said in documents filed Nov. 24 with the National Transportation Safety Board that controllers didn't follow rules and practices contained in the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control manual and didn't coordinate effectively with Northwest dispatchers. The documents don't offer any details on those violations.

So if we're to believe the pilots, if the air traffic controllers had done their job, they'd have stopped what the FAA described as the pilots' "frolic" through the skies.  Yeah, right.  Last I checked, tu quoque isn't a defense for things like this.

If the NTSB report is to be believed, they wouldn't have heard the controllers anyway.

The pilots said there was "a concentrated period of discussion where they did not monitor the airplane or calls" from air traffic control, though both said they heard conversation on the radio, the report said.

Neither pilot said he noticed messages sent by company dispatchers, it added. It said the men were talking about the new monthly crew flight scheduling system put into place after the Northwest-Delta merger.

So you have the pilots blaming the controllers for not making contact, when in all likelihood they wouldn't have heard the calls anyway?  Pot, meet kettle.

Originally posted to Christian Dem in NC on Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 03:14 PM PST.

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