April 24, 2024

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Two pilots fall asleep mid-flight with more than 150 people on board 36,000 feet in the air

Two pilots fall asleep mid-flight with more than 150 people on board 36,000 feet in the air

Two Indonesian airline pilots have come under fire after an incident report revealed they fell asleep during a flight in January with more than 150 people on board. The pilots were unreachable for about half an hour, and they woke up to find the plane had deviated from its course, the report said.

The incident occurred on a Batik Indonesia round-trip flight between Halo Ulyu Airport in Kendari and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta on January 25. While preparing for the first leg of the flight from Jakarta to Kendari, the second-in-command – a 28-year-old with nearly 1,600 flight hours – told the pilot in charge that he had not been getting proper rest, According to a report By the National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesia. The plane's pilot, a 32-year-old with nearly 6,300 flight hours, allowed the sub to rest during that leg of the flight for about half an hour.

On the flight back to Jakarta, which had 153 passengers and four flight attendants on board, the co-pilot – who had taken a nap during the first leg – asked if he could take a break, which was granted. Shortly after, the pilot woke up and asked the other pilot if he wanted to take a nap, but he refused.

About 20 minutes later, the accident report said the second pilot “unintentionally fell asleep” as they were 36,000 feet in the air.

Air traffic controllers and other pilots tried to contact the oblivious pilots to no avail. Then, 28 minutes after the last recorded transmission, the pilot woke up and immediately realized that the plane was not on the correct flight path.

“Image [pilot in command] Then he saw SIC [second in command] “He was asleep and woke him up,” the report says. “At approximately the same time, PIC responded to a call from another pilot and the Air Traffic Control Center in Jakarta. The PIC informed the Jakarta ACC that BTK6723 had encountered a radio communication problem and the issue has now been resolved. It then continued the flight and landed in Jakarta calmly. ”

This image shows the flight path of flight BTK763 and the timeline during which its pilots fell asleep in midair.

National Transportation Safety Committee of Indonesia


Investigators said no one was injured and the plane was not damaged.

While the primary pilot, who was not named on the flights, had a 35-hour rest period before the accident that included exercise, visiting family, and exercising, the secondary pilot on the flights, who was not named in the report, received 53 hours. From rest time.

According to the report, the secondary pilot is also a new father to month-old twins, and moved homes two days before the flight. He told investigators that the day before the trip, he “had to get up several times” to help care for his children, and that he “felt the quality of his sleep deteriorating” in the process.

Batik Air said on Saturday that the pilots had been suspended, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Safety Council recommended that measures be taken to prevent such accidents from happening again. One of these recommendations is to further develop the pilot personal checklist for Batik Indonesia, which aims for pilots to check themselves for illness, medications affecting health, stress, alcohol, fatigue, and their emotional state before flying.

“The absence of detailed directions and procedures may have rendered the pilots unable to properly assess their physical and mental condition,” the accident report said. “Therefore, KNKT recommends that Batik Air Indonesia establish detailed guidelines and procedures to ensure that the IM SAFE personal checklist can be used to properly assess a pilot’s physical and mental condition.”

The aircraft's cockpit is also supposed to be inspected every half hour, but the investigation found there was an “absence of detailed procedures” that “may have rendered the cockpit inspection policy inoperable properly”.

The airline said it “operates with an adequate rest policy,” according to Agence France-Presse, and that it is “committed to implementing all safety recommendations.”

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