Bumbling Pilots' Licenses Revoked

Not everyone can be a Sully. The Federal Aviation Administration has reovoked the flying licenses of Northwest Airlines Captain Timothy Cheney and First Officer Richard Cole, the now-infamous pilots who overshot their destination by more than 100 miles—then pleaded "distraction" due to laptop computers, chit-chat, and bathroom breaks. The New York Times reports that this is "unusually swift action" for the FAA, which cited "failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly." The pilots reportedly lost track of their jet's position for an hour and did not realize they had flown too far until a flight attendant inquired about the landing time. They said they heard voices on their radio but ignored them. Most peculiarly, both pilots were seasoned fliers: Cheney has been flying for Northwest since 1985 and has 20,000 hours of experience, while Cole joined Northwest in 1997 and has 11,000 hours under his belt. More investigations are still under way in the unusual case, from both federal and industry agencies.