The Pilot and Co-Pilot Who Fell Asleep At the Controls

Airbus A319Two pilots on an overnight flight fell asleep at the controls of an airline carrying 100 passengers, it emerged yesterday. The pair were only woken - 20 minutes from landing - by frantic calls from an air traffic controller who noticed they were traveling too fast and too high.

The sleeping incident happened on a flight across the U.S. in 2004, but was revealed publicly only during a Congressional hearing on flight safety at the weekend.

The captain of the Airbus A319 admitted he was asleep as his jet approached Denver airport at twice the speed permitted. He said he and his co-pilot had nodded off during the three-hour 'red eye' flight from Baltimore.

The pilot wrote: "In the last 45 minutes of flight I fell asleep and so did the first officer. I woke up to frantic calls from ATC (air traffic control). I answered ATC and abided by all instructions to get down. Woke FO (first officer) up."

The pilot said he took the jet to a lower altitude as ordered, then landed "with no further incidents". The passengers on the flight on the 140-capacity plane were unaware of the drama and no one was injured.

Source: This Is London
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