THREE pilots fell asleep at the cockpit controls on passenger jets flying in or out of London over the past fifteen years, it’s been revealed.
The most recent incident occurred in June 10, 2011, on a large Boeing 767 that was on its way to Greece.
According to a report filed with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the Captain of the plane went for a break but couldn’t get back into the flight deck because the First Officer had fallen asleep.
The year prior, on June 30, 2010, the Captain of a mid-range Airbus A319 flying a France to London route fell asleep for a short while during turnaround. The CAA recorded “alleged unrealistic rostering.”
The two incidents were the first recorded by the CAA in nearly a decade.
Back in July 2000, the pilot of a mid-range Boeing 757 flying from Cyprus to London fell asleep whilst climbing to cruise level.
Fatigue was again mentioned as a possible factor
In a recent disclosure by the CAA, it was revealed that on the 2011 flight: “Following a break, the Captain was unable to gain re-entry to flight deck using normal code and required assistance of Cabin Services Director (CSD) and use of emergency entry code.
“This sounded for the full 30 seconds before door automatically allowed entry. On entry to flight deck, First officer appeared unconscious but came round on shaking.”
The First Officer believed he had just fallen asleep briefly but had shown no signs of tiredness previously during the flight.
“After checking First Officer was fit to continue, CSD was allowed to leave flight deck. First Officer’s fitness monitored for remainder of flight.”
The only record the CAA have of the 2010 flight is that of “alleged unrealistic rostering causing flight crew fatigue. Captain allegedly fell asleep for a short while on turnaround.”
And on the 2000 flight, one of the pilots “failed to respond to a Flight Level 100 check as he had fallen asleep.”
His colleague, consequently, took control of the plane.
The sleepy pilot, apparently, woke 20 minutes later and, according to the records of the CAA had “previously operated a flight that had been delayed and then diverted due to weather.”
The report reveals: “Subject flight consequently became a night flight. Pilot 2 complained of fatigue prior to flight but was instructed to operate this sector.”