Here’s some simple, scary math: If you have two pilots flying an Airbus passenger plane going at a speed of X miles per hour, how many pilots are flying the plane when both are asleep? The answer is: Zero pilots. No pilots were flying a UK-operated aircraft on an August flight when the two pilots fell asleep at the same time. Unless you count auto-pilot, which… Yeah, not a good scenario.
The airline behind this Civil Aviation Authority report is unknown, says The Guardian, in an incident reported last month. Both pilots started snoozing simultaneously after having only five hours’ sleep the two nights before the flight, the report says.
It’s also unclear where the flight was headed — the Land of Nod, perhaps — or how many, if any, passengers were onboard, but it sounds like there was at least a captain on board at the time, as he might be the person who reported the incident.
“Reporter (almost certainly the captain) suggests both members of flight crew had only five hours’ sleep in two nights due to longer duty periods with insufficient opportunity to sleep,” said the report.
“This was a serious incident but an isolated one. I think lessons will be learned from this. We are circulating this report within the industry,” said a CAA spokesman. “We don’t know why the pilots had had so little sleep before this flight. They were taking it in turn to have rest periods, with the one always checking the autopilot and it looks as if both fell asleep at the same time.”
Airbus pilots fell asleep at same time, says incident report [The Guardian]