If you learned upon landing that your plane's pilots had overshot the airport by 150 miles because they fell asleep at the controls, what would you feel?
I'd feel a mix of the above. In this week's latest hit to the airline industry, a Northwest flight to Minneapolis overshot its destination and pilot fatigue could be to blame. Of course, the pilots are saying they were in an argument at the time and that's the reason for the blunder (not that I'd like to see my pilots so distracted over a "debate" that they still overshoot the runway!).
Fatigue among pilots has been a recurring theme this year, punctuated earlier this year by the deadly crash near Buffalo that was partly blamed on fatigue (that crash was blamed on pilot error).
The Federal Aviation Administration is rewriting its rules that govern flight time for pilots and their required rest periods in order to reduce the chances of fatigue. It will be the first update to the rules in decades and will utilize research that wasn't available before.