FAA Is Checking Whether Flight Crew Fell Asleep
We've heard about airline pilots falling asleep in flight before, but this report is even stranger than usual -- it was 9 o'clock in the morning, and the flight was a 45-minute hop from Honolulu to Hilo. Local TV station KGMB9 said it obtained a radar track of the flight, which showed it stayed at 21,000 feet and flew past the Hilo airport about 15 miles out to sea before turning around and returning to descend. The FAA confirmed that it is checking into the incident. Air traffic controllers reportedly tried to contact the pilots for 25 minutes and got no response. The airplane, operated by Go! Airlines, landed without incident.
Pilot fatigue has been a growing concern among safety advocates. The NTSB said recently that it has found at least six flights where pilots fell asleep at the controls, including one in which both pilots nodded off on a Frontier Airlines flight from Washington to Denver in 2004. The safety board named pilot fatigue as one of its "most wanted" list of needed safety improvements.