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Tiredness turns planet into aircraft for pilot

Jonathan Warren

17.04.2012

News

Jonathan Warren
A report released yesterday (April 16th) explained the circumstances that led to the injury of sixteen people on board an Air Canada flight in January 2011. According to Canada's Transportation Safety Board, the flight from Toronto to Zurich on January 13th was disrupted because the pilot was confused due to tiredness. It is unsurprising that in the cabin beds104237240 are not far from pilots' minds, especially on flights such as the one in question, where the body clock is disrupted by the long periods of darkness that characterise a night-time eastward flight across the Atlantic. The pilot sent the Boeing 767 into a sharp dive when he mistook the planet Venus for another plane, and then thought an aircraft was descending towards them. He believed his actions would save the passengers and crew from a full-blown impact, but in fact the drop only succeeded in lifting some flyers out of their seats and into a collision with the cabin fixtures, leaving them injured. The report said that although the pilot got eight hours of sleep the night before, his rest was interrupted by his children. He took a scheduled nap just before the incident, but was still groggy, which caused him to wrongly perceive a threat in the airplane's flight path. Canada's Transportation Safety Board said: "To counter fatigue, some pilots will try to nap before a night–time leg. While this can be helpful in some cases, it cannot prevent fatigue in all pilots."

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Jonathan Warren

Jonathan Warren

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