A flight in Australia recently missed its destination by 29 miles after the pilot of the aircraft fell asleep in the cockpit.
The life of a pilot is often viewed as being quite a glamorous one. Flying to exotic destinations all over the world, all while doing a job that you have to be extremely skilled to pull off. Truth be told, it probably isn't all that glamorous, not all of the time anyway, and is almost certainly a pretty taxing profession.
For starters, a pilot often holds the lives of hundreds of passengers in the palm of his or her hands. That has to be a pretty scary thought if you think about it too much, no matter how many times you fly. They also have to spend significant amounts of time away from their families fairly often, not to mention how tiring the life of a pilot can be.
That last aspect was demonstrated in the most terrifying way by a pilot in Australia, earlier this month. The Vortex Air pilot, who has not been identified, fell asleep while flying over King Island, reports The Guardian. The aircraft was supposed to land on the island, however, the sleeping pilot missed his destination by a full 29 miles while he was dozing.
Thankfully, there was no one else on board the aircraft other than the pilot, and nothing bad happened, other than the flight arriving a lot later than intended. Apparently, the flight was running on auto-pilot which caused the tired man in charge of the controls to drift off. Radio calls were made to the aircraft, especially after the flight carried on past its destination, but there was obviously no response.
Investigations into what happened exactly have revealed that the flight was the first of the day for the pilot in question after a night where he had gotten little to no sleep. What's even more worrying is that the pilot continued to work for the rest of the day. Vortex Air has labeled it "an extremely rare occurrence" but with something as serious as a sleeping pilot, it understandably only takes one instance for customers to lose faith.