The New York Times reports that the pilots were engrossed in scheduling their shifts on their laptops.
“Both said they lost track of time,” said an interim report released Monday afternoon by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Pilots put in “bids” for routes or work shifts by computer, and both men took out their personal computers in the cockpit, a violation of company policy, the safety board said. The first officer was more familiar with the new system and was explaining it to the captain, the report said.
This sounds bizarre to me, but I know that I often lose situational awareness when I’m at the keyboard. Automobile drivers have this tendency to crash when they text-while-driving, which is why so many states are passing laws against it.
But what about all those radio messages they ignored? How come the flight attendants weren’t more concerned that the flight was running so late? I hate to sound conspiratorial (I really do) but I wonder if another shoe isn’t going to drop in due course.