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Northwest Pilots Appeal License Suspension

As expected, the pilots who overshot Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport by 150 miles last month have appealed the suspension of their licenses by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Captain Timothy Cheney and First Officer Richard Cole may have to wait up to 120 days before the FAA makes a decision.

It's not yet clear what the FAA will do, but the agency doesn't seem to be in a lenient mood. "I think that this is a sign of a much bigger problem," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said. "I can't regulate professionalism. With everything we know about human factors, there are still those who just ignore the common sense rules of safety." Ouch.

In a related move, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, introduced a bill that would ban electronic devices such as laptops from the cockpit. This bill seems sort of reactionary to me, as the use of laptops and most electronic devices in the cockpit is already prohibited by the FAA and individual airlines' policies.

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Readers, do you think the pilots deserve a second chance? Obviously they made a huge (and still inexplicable) mistake, but they're both very experienced pilots with otherwise clean records. Share your thoughts below. Thanks!

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