Jet Dives 5,000 Feet As One Pilot Sleeps, Other Uses Tablet

A Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Brussels last Friday lost almost 5,000 feet in altitude as the captain slept during a scheduled rest period, and the first officer used her tablet computer.

Air traffic controllers in Ankara were forced to issue an emergency because the Boeing 777-300ER with 280 on board descended to the same altitude as a nearby aircraft. The Times of India reported that the female copilot didn't notice the change in altitude, because her attention was focused on using her tablet. Both pilots were removed from duty following the flight, for what the Director General of Civil Aviation calls a "serious incident."

Indian aviation isn't known for its safety. In 2011, fourteen Air India pilots were discovered to be flying with fake licenses. The licenses for 4,000 pilots licensed by the country had to be checked and verified for authenticity. Between 2009 and 2011, 57 Indian pilots reported to duty while drunk. This January, the FAA downgraded India's air safety rating to category one, putting one of the world's fastest-growing and industrialized countries at the same safety level as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Zimbabwe. The FAA cited lack of oversight as the reason for the downgrade.

Top image by Mark Harkin on Flickr (CC Commercial License)

Source: Malta Today