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Snoozing Pilot Mistakes Venus For Aircraft; Panic, Injuries Ensue

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the to-be-fair-they-do-look-a-lot-alike dept.

Canada 307

Cazekiel writes "In January 2011, an Air Canada Boeing 767 carrying 95 passengers and eight crew members was on route to Zurich from Toronto when its First Officer, fatigued and disoriented from a long nap he'd taken, panicked in seeing what he believed to be a U.S. cargo plane on a collision course with his aircraft. The panicking F.O. pushed forward on the control column to make a rapid descent. Only, it wasn't an aircraft he'd been looking at, but Venus. According to the article: 'The airliner dropped about 400 feet before the captain pulled back on the control column. Fourteen passengers and two crew were hurt, and seven needed hospital treatment. None were wearing seat belts, even though the seat-belt sign was on.' The only danger in this situation had been the F.O. napping for 75 minutes instead of the maximum 40, as the disorientation and confusion stemming from deeper sleep was the culprit in this mix-up. However, the Air Canada Pilots Association, 'has long pressured authorities to take the stresses of night flying into account when setting the maximum hours a pilot can work,' taking into account that North Atlantic night-flights are hardest on an already-fatigued pilot."

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Air Canada? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39717983)

Were many beavers injured?

Re:Air Canada? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718317)

just your mom's

Re:Air Canada? (2)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718595)

Beavers aside, I don't actually see what the problem is. What if the situation were reversed? Way, way worse.

Re:Air Canada? (5, Funny)

jenic (1231704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718613)

Beavers aside, I don't actually see what the problem is. What if the situation were reversed? Way, way worse.

You mean if Venus mistook the pilot for another planet?

Shame they don't have cabin video (5, Funny)

Zaelath (2588189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39717989)

then they could just show video of what happens if you don't use your seatbelt on an aircraft to that 10% of idiots that know better instead of the boring safety talk.

Re:Shame they don't have cabin video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718175)

We've all seen Castaway.

Re:Shame they don't have cabin video (5, Funny)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718233)

true enough, but have you ever been stuck in the toilet when turbulence strikes? not fun.

having to change a baby during turbulence is quite fun, but a little scary (baby was fine - i was bouncing around and the little bugger was giggling at me).

Re:Shame they don't have cabin video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718309)

Oh my god, this needs to be made into a YouTube video.

Re:Shame they don't have cabin video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718857)

Shame you don't have video of THAT! Or, do you?!?!?!?

New safety message (5, Funny)

GeneralSecretary (1959616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718005)

Mesdames et Messieurs, dans le cas d'une collision interplanétaire s'il vous plaît attachez vos ceintures ... Ladies and Gentlemen, in the event of an interplanetary collision please fasten your seatbelts...

air canada is a terrible carrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718007)

like most US carriers as well. just fly cathay pacific and let the idiots take western carriers. even emirates is better than most western carriers.

Re:air canada is a terrible carrier (5, Informative)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718243)

emirates = hot hostesses and the option to watch the front-mounted camera on the entertainment system. with all the chaos of landing, it's comforting to know you're not going to run into the terminal.

Re:air canada is a terrible carrier (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718327)

Funny you should mention that front-mounted camera; I've seen it on the overhead video screens of other eastern airlines as well (Thai, JAL for example) during takeoff and landing but never on any of the western airlines. I wonder why...

Re:air canada is a terrible carrier (4, Funny)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718665)

just fly cathay pacific

Sounds great! OK then, let me just check out the options for Zurich to Toronto on Cathay. Hmm... OK seems we've got Zurich to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong to Toronto. Only 33 hours of travel, compares to 9 hours on Air Canada, at three times the cost. Makes perfect sense.

That's no moon. (4, Funny)

Morky (577776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718033)

It's too big to be a space station. I have a very bad feeling about this.

Oh noes! (-1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718041)

That's no moon!

Re:Oh noes! (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718137)

It's a planet!

Thankfully Not... (5, Funny)

nemui-chan (550759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718043)

Luckily it wasn't in America. If it was, the TSA would stop allowing pilots through checkpoints, since they're clearly a flight risk.

Re:Thankfully Not... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718067)

100% of all planes involved in terrorist attacks, hijackings and crashes have had pilots on board! when will government make us safe from these terrors of the skies!

Re:Thankfully Not... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718071)

They also had wings too - OMG so do birds!

Re:Thankfully Not... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718261)

if it weighs the same as a bird... then it's made of wood!

Re:Thankfully Not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718069)

Now more than ever, but the pilots have been the biggest flight risk for a very long time.

You don't live here, do you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718173)

The TSA would only prevent them from boarding if they weren't a flight risk.

If you bring your own soda from home, YOU HATE AMERICA.

Re:You don't live here, do you? (2)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718761)

If you bring your own soda from home, YOU HATE AMERICA.

I can't wait until movie theaters pick up that line.

Re:Thankfully Not... (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718267)

I'd be more suspicious of Venus... clearly it was trying to take down a passenger aircraft, the classic cowardly maneuver of a terrorist. And it is a known hoarder of deadly chemicals used in the manufacture of WMD. Who knows how far along it's program already is, since it has never allowed IAEA inspectors beneath it's all-concealing clouds?!

radar... (1, Insightful)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718047)

Do planes no longer have this?

Re:radar... (3, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718083)

For traffic, it's TCAS..

Re:radar... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718101)

Weather radar? Yes. Traffic collision alerting system? Yes, though not much use unless the guy in the other aircraft has turned his transponder on...

Re:radar... (5, Informative)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718521)

As far as I know, commercial aircraft have never had radar to detect traffic. They do usually have weather radar, but that's for detecting bad weather, not traffic.

There is TCAS [wikipedia.org] , but I don't see how that would have avoided this. Sure, the pilot could have thought "TCAS doesn't say anything is there, so I'll just continue on", but is that really what you expect a panicked pilot to do?

Also, avoiding anyway is probably the right response: safety systems do fail, and you're not going to score any points by saying "but TCAS didn't say there was any danger" if there is a real collision, because you and your passengers will be dead.

The real story is that operating vehicles while impaired causes accidents. We know this. That's why we regulate it; there are limits on how many hours in a row you can work, how much sleep you must have had, how much alcohol can be in your blood, and more. Apparently, it wasn't enough to prevent this incident.

Is this a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718065)

Personally, I'd prefer my pilots to take evasive action when they feel its neccessary, and not pick up a habit of second guessing themselves to avoid bad PR. Yes, passengers were injured, but TFA notes that the seatbelt light was on.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718089)

I'd prefer we do long descents at 9.81ms/s followed by massive full-power vertical climbs...but maybe that's why I can't get my commercial license...

Re:Is this a bad thing? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718195)

You should apply with Zero G [gozerog.com] , there is a good chance they will find your mindset encouragable!

Re:Is this a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718179)

Yes it's a bad thing for pilots to sleep longer than they're supposed to because they're overworked, then panic because they just woke up from deep sleep and so can't tell the difference between an airplane and a planet despite being well experienced to tell the difference when awake.

The problem isn't that when the pilot thought he was about to hit another aircraft he took an evasive maneuver.

The problem is the circumstances that resulted in him mistaking Venus for an aircraft he was about to crash into.

What if his evasive actions had caused him to crash into an actual airplane that was at a lower altitude which he didn't notice because, again, he'd just woken from a deep sleep?

The whole point is that his judgment was temporarily impaired because he was fucking groggy, and you're asking "is this a bad thing?" Yes! Yes it is!

Re:Is this a bad thing? (5, Funny)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718359)

I can totally sympathize with this pilot. True story .. I was driving through Yukon a few years ago and I had been on the road for twelve hours that I could barely stay awake so I pulled off in a rest area, climbed in the back seat, and fell asleep.

At some point, another driver pulled into the rest area and his lights woke me up. All I saw were trees and I thought I had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed in the woods. I panicked. I climed out of my sleeping bag, climbed into the front seat, started my car, and pulled a 360 before I realized what the hell was going on. The other driver probably thought I was nuts.

Moral of the story ... Thank god I'm not a pilot :)

Re:Is this a bad thing? (2)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718549)

I panicked. I climed out of my sleeping bag, climbed into the front seat, started my car, and pulled a 360 before I realized what the hell was going on. The other driver probably thought I was nuts.

Oh, I thought that was just your way of saying "hi".

The captain pulled up sharply to AVOID a collision (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718367)

There was an oncoming aircraft on the same flight path 1000ft below. The FO was visually searching for that aircraft, saw venus, panicked, and put the aircraft nose-down.

The captain immediately assumed control of the plane and put the plane nose-up.

The planes were on the exact same flight path thanks to GPS. They were both depending on the 1000ft difference in altitude to prevent a head-on collision. A better idea is for each plane to offset right of the flight path by 1 mile.

Re:The captain pulled up sharply to AVOID a collis (3)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718527)

There was an oncoming aircraft on the same flight path 1000ft below. The FO was visually searching for that aircraft, saw venus, panicked, and put the aircraft nose-down.

Go figure, a groggy pilot's panicked reaction put the plane closer to danger.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (2)

Kagato (116051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718679)

If I was AC I'd be more concerned about the fact they flew a TATL flight with only 95 passengers on a 200 passenger plane. They were already lossing tens of thousands of dollars on the flight as is.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718185)

The airplane is equipped with a TCAS II system and if said system was not generating an RA to climb or descend then there was no need to act. Also, he wasn't the Flying Pilot, having been asleep, so he should have checked with the FP before acting.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718541)

TCAS cannot possibly fail?

Re:Is this a bad thing? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718209)

Except when the evasive action puts the plane into the path of the C-17 the pilot thought he was evading. Even after the captain had told him the C-17 was straight ahead and 1,000 feet below. Or the fact that the captain and the C-17 pilots flashed their landing gear lights to acknowledge their position. Go ahead and think its actions are okay just because someone "felt it was necessary."

Re:Is this a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718219)

Yeah I mean everyone who got hurt wasn't wearing a seatbelt sooo I mean there's a reason for that symbol.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718251)

Personally, I'd prefer my pilots to take evasive action when they feel its neccessary, and not pick up a habit of second guessing themselves to avoid bad PR. Yes, passengers were injured, but TFA notes that the seatbelt light was on.

"However, the Air Canada Pilots Association, 'has long pressured authorities to take the stresses of night flying into account when setting the maximum hours a pilot can work,' taking into account that North Atlantic night-flights are hardest on an already-fatigued pilot."

Personally, I'd prefer my safety authorities actually listen to the men and women doing the damn job, and realize they could have likely prevented this from happening in the first place.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718257)

Yes besides the fact it was the FO and not the pilot that made the maneuver, lesson here is let the awake and alert guy dodge a planet and not the groggy one.

Re:Is this a bad thing? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718427)

Personally, I'd prefer my pilots to take evasive action when they feel its neccessary, and not pick up a habit of second guessing themselves to avoid bad PR

Pilots second-guessing their instruments is a major cause of crashes.

But I think the bigger problem is that it sounds like Air Canada engaged in a systematic cover-up of this incident, and are only now admitting it because they were outed by the government report.

No seatbelts? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718075)

If the seatbelt light was on and the passengers were injured from not wearing their seatbelt, then it's their own fault. The seabelt sign IS A LAWFUL ORDER from the flight crew. They need to STFU.

Re:No seatbelts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718299)

its not a LAWFUL ORDER you fucking MORON. it a request. you can ignore it.
crew are not LEOs. they cant issue lawful orders.

Re:No seatbelts? (5, Informative)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718453)

its not a LAWFUL ORDER you fucking MORON. it a request. you can ignore it.
crew are not LEOs. they cant issue lawful orders.

Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with lighted passenger information signs and crewmember instructions concerning the use of safety belts.

So sit down, buckle your seat belt, and STFU.

Re:No seatbelts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718471)

Can't speak for anywhere else in the world but in the U.S. federal regulations compel passengers to follow all orders issued by the flight crew.

Re:No seatbelts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718825)

BZZZZZZZZZZZZT. Try again.

Sounds like the plot to a Fox or Syfy Movie. (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718087)

Emo Plilips & Pauly Shore star in "High Air"

Snoozing Pilot Mistakes Venus For Aircraft; Panic, [Injuries] Hilarity Ensues...

I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718095)

It sounds like the FO was napping, woke up and immediately put the plane into a dive based on a snap judgement, and the Captian (who we presume was not flying the plane or manning the controls) recognized the error and corrected.

It sounded like nobody was flying the plan (autopilot presumably), but that the FO, who was napping, was actually on the controls. It sounds more like a problem with pilots sleeping while they should be awake and alert. The article was so light it was impossible to actually tell, through.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (4, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718215)

How I read it was that the FO woke up, Captain was in control. They were communicating with a C-17 that was ahead of and below them. The FO, still groggy, saw Venus directly ahead and misidentified it as the C-17, immediately diving. The Captain was, I guess, able to exert more power on the controls which brought the plane back up out of the dive. And for the record, the nap the FO was taking is in fact legal. But I think it would have had to be the Captain's aircraft while the FO was napping. A pilot always has to be awake and at the controls even with autopilot activated.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718333)

I can see where I might have the same reaction. You are dozing, you start to drift toward consciousness and begin hearing the radio patter about a C-17 being ahead. You open your eyes and see what appears to be headlights and react instinctively.

While driving at night, I've certainly been fooled by two motorcycles' headlights into believing it was a car that was nearer or farther than the actual motorcycles.

What I really don't like is the whole sleeping in the cockpit game. If it is legal, it shouldn't be.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718417)

I know that when I am dozing or kind of drifting off, I will almost get a sort of vertigo where I feel like I'm falling. Unfortunately this happened to me mostly in class. It's always interesting to suddenly jerk upright in the middle of a lecture :)

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718499)

On a 10 hour or longer flight I would personally rather one of the pilots take turns sleeping than both try to stay awake at the same time. The latter is just asking for them to both fall asleep at the same time: the former keeps one of them awake and fully aware at all times (which, if you notice, very much helped in this case). Obviously, both of them shouldn't be asleep at the same time (also, there are generally 3 people in the cockpit, if I am not mistaken, so 2 should be awake at all times).

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718563)

If it is a long haul where they need to sleep, then it should be done in separate crew quarters. Or have two crews scheduled.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718587)

I think the subtlety here is "asleep in the cockpit". It's a good thing pilots sleep on long flights. It would be even better if they only entered the cockpit once they are suitably awake again.

Re 2 vs 3 people: you may be thinking of the "2 pilots and a flight engineer" crew that planes used to have. As far as I know, it is largely just 2 pilots now (on long flights, there may be multiple pairs).

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718571)

I think you really nailed it in the last line. Sleeping in the cockpit should be illegal. it's just not a good idea. I have no problem with the flight crew taking alternate naps while the other is in control. but don't sleep while at the controls themselves, go somewhere else. Some long haul planes used to have a bunk for that purpose, or even use a different seat (one of the flight attendant ones? or a jump seat? or a spare first class seat? or whatever else, just not one with a yoke in front of it!

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718735)

All the big planes (777, 747, A-340, A-380) have a significant amount of space for crew rest quarters. They're not just for the flight crew, but also for the cabin crew.

On something like a 767, each airline handles it differently, but it's usually a couple of seats with a heavy curtain to keep light out.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718755)

I think you really nailed it in the last line. Sleeping in the cockpit should be illegal. it's just not a good idea. I have no problem with the flight crew taking alternate naps while the other is in control. but don't sleep while at the controls themselves, go somewhere else. Some long haul planes used to have a bunk for that purpose, or even use a different seat (one of the flight attendant ones? or a jump seat? or a spare first class seat? or whatever else, just not one with a yoke in front of it!

If the other pilot has control of the plane, why shouldn't the other pilot be able to sleep in the cockpit for a short nap? The FO was at the controls, but he wasn't in control of the plane, the Captain was. Have you ever seen or sat in a jumpseat? They are extremely uncomfortable. Often times there aren't any available first class seats (although in longer hops sometimes a seat is blocked off for crew use). And as far as I know, only the 777, 787, (maybe 747), and the Airbus equivalents have actual crew rest quarters.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718649)

This is a super-common cause of car crashes - drifting off to sleep could kill you, but suddenly re-awaking with your car halfway off the road and swerving to get back on the road is what normally kills you.

Re:I read tfa and Im still not sure what happened (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718621)

Maybe read the report [tsb.gc.ca] (which was linked in the article) instead of just the news article?

Close call (2)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718097)

Thank goodness he missed the planet by 67 million miles..

Re:Close call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718167)

Thank goodness he missed the planet by 67 million miles..

Indeed, and thank goodness he also managed to miss Earth by a much narrower margin....

So dont fly those long hours (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718125)

You have a union, use it. Stop flying. Oh wait, this is Canuckistan, where the government has to do everything.

c'mon, think about the alternative! (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718151)

Everyone is piling on this guy now, but think about what would have happened if he'd actually HIT Venus - nobody would have survived that! Think, people, THINK!

Re:c'mon, think about the alternative! (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718199)

I'm picturing something like the steamroller scene in Austin Powers only much, much longer...

Re:c'mon, think about the alternative! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718599)

Monty python [youtube.com] did it first. And so so good!

Re:c'mon, think about the alternative! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718315)

I think that the Canadians being the first to get to Venus in a commercial spaceflight would be of even more importance than him avoiding it.

Must have been drunk too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718157)

Venus is a babe. Nobody sober could ever mistake her for an aircraft.

Venus was incidental (5, Informative)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718177)

The media reports are all harping on the idea of "crash dive to avoid Venus", but that's incidential. There was an oncoming aircraft (but not on a collision course) and the FO erred in thinking it was going to collide. Source - TSB report [tsb.gc.ca] .

Re:Venus was incidental (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718307)

Mod parent up. Venus had nothing to do with it.

First officer saw Venus, alerted captain. Captain pointed out that was Venus, pointed to actual oncoming aircraft. First officer misinterpreted altitude of actual oncoming aircraft, dived.

It could have been worse (1)

aaronwormus (716976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718227)

at least he didn't dive to avoid hitting Uranus

Re:It could have been worse (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718263)

at least he didn't dive to avoid hitting Uranus

Think what he might have done if someone had projected goatse on his windscreen when he woke up.

Re:It could have been worse (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718341)

That would definitely be a different kind of pitch excursion.

Re:It could have been worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718345)

You are, presumably, aware that you cannot see that planet without a telescope?

And before you ask, no... I don't have a sense of humor.

Re:It could have been worse (1)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718443)

I can't wait until 2620 when astronomers will rename Uranus to end that stupid joke forever...

Uhm... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718245)

The only danger in this situation had been the F.O. napping for 75 minutes instead of the maximum 40

And all the people not wearing seatbelts.

A little bit of context... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718249)

This is just part of the propaganda wars between Air Canada and the pilots' union. The federal government removed the right to strike, and so members of the union are coming close to wildcat strikes (which are extremely uncommon in Canada, and illegal, I hear they're "the way things work" in the US... big difference in mentality I think). So Air Canada management is trying to paint them in as poor a manner as possible. I haven't read the article(this being Slashdot and all) so I can't tell which side this story is telling, but I'd take it with a grain of salt either way.

Re:A little bit of context... (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718615)

This is an actual official transport canada incident investigation report with no spin whatsoever concluding the facts of an actual aviation incident in which people were injured. The timing to coincide with the labour dispute is purely coincidence.
The article goes further than that however and quotes how the pilot's union is pushing for better regulations. so basically the Union has grasped on to this report as an excuse to spin for their agenda.
As for ""coming close to wildcat strikes" they have actually been ruled by a judge to have already participated in illegal strike action through fake sick calls. so they've already crossed that line.
Nothing in this article on the management point of view.

Did Gary Larson Predict This? (3, Funny)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718277)

The real story here is Air Canada's failure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718283)

Air Canada has treated its employees so poorly for so long its employees treat their customers in due kind and what should be a pleasant experience (getting out and moving about our wide country) has become as loathsome as riding the Greyhound across the prairies (suicide will enter your mind at least once).

AC's flight and ground crews have been screwed over by management and government time and again, and they all work too hard for too little (like so many of us, where has our grandparent's Canada gone?). This incident shows what happens when people work too long, for too little.

But fuck it, West Jet is cheaper anyways...

Re:The real story here is Air Canada's failure. (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718799)

West Jet is cheaper anyways...

Hey there you Anonymous Coward, lemme know how WestJet works for you the next time you want to fly Zurich to Toronto non-stop.

Re:The real story here is Air Canada's failure. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718829)

Air Canada has treated its employees so poorly for so long its employees treat their customers in due kind

Weird. I've flown Air Canada many times and never had any complaint about the people on the plane. Being stuck on board for three hours while they changed a wheel, yes, but even when I've been flying cattle class rather than business they've been fine.

almost empty (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718297)

95 passengers on a 767 means room to stretch out! Unlike the cattle cars I usually have to fly, packed in like kippers. *shakes tiny fist at Delta, Frontier, etc*

Bus Drivers in the Sky (1)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718329)

Could have happened to anyone.

Not Venus, sensationalism at its best (5, Informative)

sunfly (1248694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718371)

He did not take evasive action to avoid Venus, but did point to Venus and briefly discussed if it was an aircraft when he first woke up. He later made the evasive maneuver when he misjudged the position of another aircraft. The two events are only connected by the fact the pilot was entirely too exhausted.

Re:Not Venus, sensationalism at its best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39718637)

The way I heard it, he told the captain "I'm gonna hit Uranus" and the ensuing struggle caused the plane to jostle around a bit. What happens in the cabin STAYS in the cabin.

Cockpit Voice Recorder (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718833)

Obi-wan voice: "That's no moon! Its a ..."

Serves the injured passengers good (1)

acid06 (917409) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718449)

The "fasten seatbelt" lights are on for good reason: if the airpline suddenly loses altitude, you won't crack your skull on the roof.
You should avoid spending any time at all without your seatbelts in an airplane because, in some rare occurrences, these drops will happen without any warning at all.

How about a separate bunk? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718529)

Why not have the pilots take their naps in a separate bunk near the crew compartment. It gives them better rest, and the act of climbing out of the bunk and walking to the cockpit gives them time to help shake off the grogginess.

Or is it better to have them sleep in their seats so they are immediately ready to step in if needed?

Re:How about a separate bunk? (1)

evalf (931500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718639)

Lots of long haul airliners have a separate bunk, however they are only useable for flights with more than two crew members, as at least two pilots have to be in the flight deck at any time. Most flights under 8 hours only have two pilots, in which case the only option is for the pilots to take turns to rest in their seat if they are too exhausted.

Venus is very bright right now (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718543)

Considering that Venus is right now very very bright this is not that surprising. Also Venus is standing unusually high in the sky in evenings.

Common sense should let people keep their safety belts on anyway.

Mandatory sleep information (2)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718695)

We cannot have laws against sleeping, as it is a natural need. However we could improve safety by giving customers more information.

For instance, a law could force airlines company to tell customers how many hours a week the pilot worked, and how many flight he did in a row. That would help us avoiding pilots made dangerous by insane airline work policy.

Re:Mandatory sleep information (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718795)

a law could force airlines company to tell customers how many hours a week the pilot worked,

Right. I think I'll be getting off this plane now. Just pull over right up ahead and I'll catch another ride.

Please read the actual report. (5, Informative)

colonel (4464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718831)

Please, please, please -- there are tons of very well-considered safety points in the real report, and the linked articles are very very very wrong.

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/2011/a11f0012/a11f0012.asp [tsb.gc.ca]

To quote:

At 0155, the captain made a mandatory position report with the Shanwick Oceanic control centre. This aroused the FO. The FO had rested for 75 minutes but reported not feeling altogether well. Coincidentally, an opposite–direction United States Air Force Boeing C–17 at 34 000 feet appeared as a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) target on the navigational display (ND). The captain apprised the FO of this traffic.

Over the next minute or so, the captain adjusted the map scale on the ND in order to view the TCAS target 5 and occasionally looked out the forward windscreen to acquire the aircraft visually. The FO initially mistook the planet Venus for an aircraft but the captain advised again that the target was at the 12 o'clock position and 1000 feet below. The captain of ACA878 and the oncoming aircraft crew flashed their landing lights. The FO continued to scan visually for the aircraft. When the FO saw the oncoming aircraft, the FO interpreted its position as being above and descending towards them. The FO reacted to the perceived imminent collision by pushing forward on the control column. The captain, who was monitoring TCAS target on the ND, observed the control column moving forward and the altimeter beginning to show a decrease in altitude. The captain immediately disconnected the autopilot and pulled back on the control column to regain altitude. It was at this time the oncoming aircraft passed beneath ACA878. The TCAS did not produce a traffic or resolution advisory.

overcompensation? (1)

dango8yababy (1000720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39718855)

Is it just me or does is sound like the PIC's action of pulling back so rapidly was a bigger problem than the initial mistake? In his correction, he overshot the assigned altitude by as much as the initial descent went under it. It really just sounds to me like everyone was just having a bad night. Any flight you can walk away from, though...
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