Computers in the Sky- What a Headline: Wayward pilots were working on their laptops


As a frequent flier with millions of air miles I was as shocked as anyone to learn that a pilot and first officer were preoccupied with their laptops while flying to Minneapolis from San Diego last week. The crew apparently was so mentally invested in their laptops that they did not hear their radios for more than an hour and over flew their destination by 150 miles. Surely new rules will be instituted to protect the flying public.

Computers are Addictive!

In 1967 I took a course in statistics, but the first half of the course was FORTRAN programming, and I’ve been addicted to computers ever since. Many of you reading this blog know that one loses all sense of time and space when sitting at a computer, and with the advent of the flood of information on the Internet losing oneself into a computer has never been easier. Is it any wonder that this flight crew were deeply engrossed and lost all sense of time and space?

Wifi in the Air

Now that airlines are providing wifi services on aircraft one might wonder if wifi will be a good thing or bad. It’s impossible to be on a plane going anywhere today where passengers are not using laptops, netbooks, and cell phones, whether they are checking email, or preparing spreadsheets, powerpoints, documents, or just watching movies. So it seems the sky is full of computers and unlikely to ever be less, however the flying public should have better expectations of the pilots.


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