Ever been on a flight that had to abort the landing and try again?
Scary stuff, but you know the pilots are in control and know what they’re doing. They’re trained professionals, have hundreds of hours of flying time, and have so many instruments in the cockpit your head would spin.
Now, imagine you’re on a flight and you miss the runway and just keep cruising right along for minutes on end because those supposedly “trained professionals” decided to take a quick nap.
That’s exactly what happened on an Ethiopian Airways flight earlier this week from Sudan to Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airways flight can’t land because pilots fell asleep
Reportedly, a Boeing 737-800 was cruising along on autopilot at 37,000 feet when two pilots “fell asleep,” missed the decent into Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and just kept going.
Kind of like when you miss your turn in the car and have to turn around, except you’re most likely awake and also not seven miles in the sky.
Air traffic control noticed something was wrong when the plane overshot the runway, but couldn’t reach the two snoozers. Luckily, an alarm was triggered when the plane flew past the airport, waking the pilots up so they could do a quick U-turn and get that bird on the ground!
Imagine what that feeling must be like. We’ve all been there, too.
You hit the snooze button eight times in the morning and then finally roll over, look at the time and you’re laughably late to work (or school). You get that sinking feeling in your stomach and immediately start thinking up an excuse.
Now, imagine you wake up and realize you’re IN THE CLOUDS, flying a METAL TUBE, responsible for hundreds of lives, and you fell asleep on the job for God knows how long.
Deeply concerning incident at Africa’s largest airline — Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 #ET343 was still at cruising altitude of 37,000ft by the time it reached destination Addis Ababa
— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) August 18, 2022
I don’t even know how you come back from that. What excuse could you possibly drum up to get you out of that pickle?
Anyway, the plane eventually landed safely about 25 minutes later and everyone in the back was probably none the wiser.
Good luck explaining this one to your boss, fellas!
“The concerned crew have been removed from operation pending further investigation,” a statement from Ethiopian Airlines said. “Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation.”