Category Archives: Commercial Aviation

Stow-A-Way Falls From Jet

Jay Rollins to CBS4 in Miami about man falling from aircraft.

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United Airlines Captain Arrested Drunk

London Police say they arrested Captain Erwin Vermont Washington out of the cockpit, as he prepared United Flight 149 at London-Heathrow Airport for the non-stop to Chicago.


Reports say a co-worker noticed the smell of alcohol and called police, who discreetly removed Captain Washington, age 51, from the sight of his 124 passengers and administered a breathalyzer test.

He failed.

United canceled the flight, and issued the following statement:

Safety is our highest priority and the pilot has been removed from service while we are cooperating with authorities and conducting a full investigation… United’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation of this well-established policy.

The incident is the latest in a series of airline misadventures over the past few weeks raising questions whether the level of professionalism in the cockpit may be declining dangerously. However, actual statistics indicate pilot infractions have actually declined significantly over the past two years.

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FAA’s Stinging Rebuke Sent to Northwest Pilots

Copy and paste the following web address to see the scathing revocation letter sent by the FAA to “distracted” Northwest Airline pilots after they overshot the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, according to (see related blogs October 23, 26, 27, 30 below for more background information).

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Fresh Perspective on Northwest Pilots’ Misadventure

My good friend and fellow airline pilot, Mike Preihs, forwards this tongue-in-cheek final insight on the professional mindset at Northwest Airlines:

It’s hard to understand how the Northwest Airlines pilots got that incredibly distracted on their recent attempt to fly directly to MSP…especially after a long restful San Diego layover.
As is obvious in this typical Airbus cockpit photo, there is enough going on to keep the pilots quite busy, and hardly any way to explain away their inattention…falling asleep or otherwise.


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Northwest Incident Explained – Kinda!

Forget about texting-while-driving! In the ultimate “distracted-driving” incident, safety investigators now say the two pilots of the Northwest flight, which overshot its landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul by 150 miles, were busy using their personal laptops to learn new crew scheduling procedures (see related blogs below).

Reports say Northwest pilots are disgruntled with the new procedures put in place since their recent merger with Delta Airlines. In this incident, investigators believe the two pilots became so engrossed in learning the new system, they completely forget about navigating the airplane.

Now late word is the FAA has revoked the licenses of the two pilots, and I say “good”!

The whole situation is unconscionable. Airline policy forbids pilots to do ANYTHING that might distract them from their primary responsibility to fly the airplane. At my airline, you couldn’t even read a magazine while flying the airplane; only materials related to safely operating the aircraft. Part of the captain’s pre-flight briefing is to clearly designate which pilot makes flying the plane their PRIMARY responsibility to the exclusion of everything else. So where do these pilots come off getting so sloppy as to fool around in their laptops to the point they fly 150 miles off-course?

No, methinks the “Feds” got it right on this one!

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Senate, Airlines Work to Limit Tarmac Delays

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Jay Rollins with a video update on US Senate addressing excessive airline delays and United Airlines incident.

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