Thursday, April 24, 2008

go! Airlines fires pilots accused of passing their destination while asleep

go! Airlines CRJ-200 aircraftTwo go! Airlines pilots whose aircraft overshot their destination while they both were allegedly asleep on the flight deck have been fired, and may face FAA sanctions, according to a news article in the Honolulu Advertiser. The article quotes Paul Skellon, vice president of corporate communications for Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group, go!'s parent company, who confirmed that the unnamed pilots were fired.

The incident that prompted the firing, as well as investigations by the NTSB and the FAA, happened on February 13, 2008, during a scheduled passenger flight from Honolulu to Hilo. The crew failed to respond to air traffic controllers 11 times during the inter-island flight. By the time the pilots responded, the aircraft, a CRJ-200, had passed its destination airport by about 15 miles. The crew ultimately reversed their course and landed safely at Hilo. On board go! Airlines Flight YV1002, in addition to the pilots, were 40 passengers and a flight attendant.

Today's Honolulu Advertiser article quoted an FAA spokesman, who said findings from his agency's investigation will be released in a few weeks. Possible FAA sanctions against the pilots could range from a warning letter, to suspension, to revocation of the pilots' licenses.

Another Honolulu newspaper, the Star-Bulletin, quoted an attorney for the Air Line Pilots Association, the union representing the go! pilots, who said that ALPA has filed a grievance with the company on behalf of the pilots. He said the pilots had been terminated 10 days ago. Both pilots had been suspended since the day of the incident.

[Photo Source]

UPDATE May 1, 2008: A reader sent in the link to this YouTube video -- part of a broadcast on Honolulu TV channel KGMB -- that includes portions of an ATC recordings from the incident described above, and another about a month later. go! Airlines flight loses communication.

UPDATE Aug. 4, 2009: Fatigue caused go! Airlines pilots to fall asleep during flight, says NTSB