A Jet Airways flight that was on its way from Mumbai to New York via Brussels had the aircraft drop by 5,000 feet while the pilot was on “controlled rest” and the co-pilot was fiddling with her tablet.
The cockpit crew realized that they were at the wrong level of 29,000 feet after the Turkish air control contacted the plane to find out why they weren’t flying on assigned 34,000 feet.
Here’s excerpt from Gulf Times:
A Jet Airways plane with 280 passengers on board plunged 5,000ft while the captain was allegedly asleep and the first officer was checking a tablet computer, officials and news reports said yesterday. India’s aviation regulatory body, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is probing the incident over Turkish airspace on August 8 during a flight from Mumbai to Brussels, an official said.
“The pilots did not file a flight safety report, which is a mandatory exercise to document any unusual incident during the course of a flight. We got to know of it from an anonymous phone message after which we contacted the airline,” the DGCA official said.
The captain of the Boeing 777 was taking “controlled rest,” a nap allowed by regulations when the incident occurred, the Times of India newspaper reported citing unnamed sources. The regulator is also investigating whether the first officer fell asleep as well, the report added.
The first officer was allegedly busy on her tablet checking flight information and did not notice the drop in height, the Times of India said.
Well. Maybe having a “controlled nap” inside the cockpit is not the best idea if the co-pilot is fiddling with the tablet and nobody is paying any attention to the flight itself. The Turkish airspace is quite busy now that many of the airlines are trying to avoid crisis prone areas such as Ukraine and Iraq.
It is serious that the cockpit crew didn’t do the required write up about the incident, but the Indian aviation authorities learned about it from a whistle blower call.