Washington, D.C. Pilots blame air traffic controllers for mistake FAA revoked pilots' licenses

By Joan Lowy

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) § The Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot Minneapolis have blamed air traffic controllers in part for the incident, saying controllers violated procedures.

Capt. Timothy Cheney, 53, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and First Officer Richard Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore., said in documents filed Nov. 24 with the National Transportation Safety Board that controllers didn't follow rules and practices contained in the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control manual and didn't coordinate effectively with Northwest dispatchers. The documents don't offer any details on those violations.

The pair is appealing the Federal Aviation Administration's revocation of their pilots' licenses. The pair were out of radio contact for 77 minutes on Oct. 21 as their plane flew more than 100 miles past Minneapolis. The Airbus A320 was over Wisconsin before controllers were able to re-establish contact.

The pilots' appeals will be heard by an NTSB administrative law judge. No date has been set, but both pilots have asked for at least 90 days to gather information.


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