Pilot falls asleep and misses destination by nearly 50km
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) opened the probe following the alleged incident of “pilot incapacitation” which took place on a flight from Devonport in Tasmania to neighboring King Island earlier this month.
Tracking data from Flight Radar 24 reveals that the nine-seater Piper PA-31 aircraft missed the runway by dozens of kilometers during its 6.22am flight on November 8. The tracking system shows the plane do a tight loop and circle back towards its destination after the massive overshoot.
It’s not currently known how many people were on the flight, which was the first of seven flown that day by the small plane.
“The ATSB is investigating a pilot incapacitation involving a Piper PA-31, VH-TWU, operated by Vortex Air, near King Island Airport, Tasmania on 8 November 2018,” the agency said in a statement to The Australian.
During the cruise, the pilot fell asleep resulting in the aircraft overflying King Island by 46km. As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the pilot and review operational procedures.
The bureau described the pilot’s nap as a "serious operational incident" and its investigation is expected to wrap up in March 2019 when a full report into the findings will be made public.
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