It has been plastered all over the news, but I wanted to wait a little until we had more information on what happened. Now that the NTSB has released its early findings, let’s talk. This is a mess.

You know the story – Northwest 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis decided that Wisconsin was a better destination. Once pilots realized they had gone too far east, they turned around and landed. As far as I’m concerned, the excuses given by the pilots seem flimsy at best.

Plane's roue

In the photo, you can see what happened to flight 188 on October 21 thanks to FlightAware. The last radio communication is said to have occurred around 656p Central Time. That would have been about 20 minutes after they started talking to Denver Center (the air traffic control center that controls that patch of airspace). The plane was at 37,000 feet traveling at a roughly 30 degree heading.

There were a couple of slight course corrections but nothing else until 814p when they got back in touch with air traffic control, well past Minneapolis. They then started turning south and at 817p they started descending. Air traffic control made them do some turns to prove they hadn’t been hijacked, and they ended up landing around 9p. So what the heck happened?

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  • Cranky Flier

    My name is Brett, and I’m an airline dork. I’ve had the bug since I was young. As a kid, I never missed a chance to go to LAX a…

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