Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Qantas Grounds 2 Pilots Who Quarreled in Cockpit

QANTAS has stood down two pilots who argued in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 on the tarmac at Dallas's international airport. 

A captain and second officer on a 747-400 disagreed over the take-off calculations they should be punching into the passenger jet's computer, Fairfax Media reports.

Qantas is investigating the dispute and has grounded the pilots.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night (US time) last week as a major thunderstorm rolled across Dallas, disrupting services at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

As the pilots were close to exceeding their 20-hour duty limits due to delays caused by the weather, Qantas's flight operations managers kept the jumbo on the ground overnight.

The managers, informed later about the dispute, stood down the pilots.

The airline deployed replacement pilots to fly QF8 back to Sydney via Brisbane the next day.

The plane had been due in Brisbane at 5am on Thursday but touched down 18 hours later.

A Qantas spokesman confirmed to Fairfax that a captain and second officer had been withheld from service while an investigation was under way, but blamed the weather for the flight delay.

"Qantas flight QF8 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Brisbane on 14 August was delayed overnight as a result of severe thunderstorms in the Dallas area," he said.

The incident comes just weeks after a Qantas pilot was suspended pending an investigation after she failed an alcohol test.

The pilot was removed from a passenger flight due to travel from Sydney to Brisbane just minutes before take-off over concerns she had been drinking.

Qantas has a strong reputation for safety, with the Australian flag-carrier never experiencing a fatal crash in the jet age.


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