Airline pilots say COVID-19 to blame for in-flight errors | Daily News

Airline pilots say COVID-19 to blame for in-flight errors

A slew of minor in-flight errors occurred over the past year in part because pilots are feeling “rusty,” according to a new report.

Low travel demand due to the outbreak of the coronavirus has kept many pilots out of the cockpit for a prolonged period, especially at the height of the pandemic when passenger traffic fell to a level not seen in more than six decades.

In one instance, it took a pilot three tries to get a passenger jet touch down successfully on a windy day, the Los Angeles Times reported. Another pilot reported damaging part of a towing vehicle after pulling the jet away from an airport gate before disengaging the parking brake.

Meanwhile, a first officer disclosed that they forget to activate the plane’s anti-icing mechanism, ensuring the altitude and airspeed sensors on the plane’s exterior are not obstructed by ice, according to the report.

Although the plane safely completed its flight, the first officer admitted that they were “rusty” after not flying “in a few months.”

“I felt that my recollection was strong enough, but in reality I should have taken some time to review” the procedures, the first officer said in an anonymous report, the Times reported. The virus had devastated the industry to such an extent that most of the major carriers had to furlough employees, including some pilots, in order to weather the storm.

As recently as three days ago, Southwest Airlines said it will be offering employees another round of voluntary leave even after rolling back on plans on any furloughs or pay cuts for thousands of workers in 2021.

Just a few months earlier, American and United airlines had furloughed about 32,000 employees.

The break doesn’t provide any “elevated risk to the flying public,” experts say.

(Fox Business)