Zealand flight Pilot locked out of cockpit mid-air on Air New

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WHAT happens on the ground should stay on the ground when you’re a pilot.

That’s the lesson for two Air New Zealand pilots stood down over a mid-air tiff that led to the captain locking the first officer out of the cockpit.

Flight NZ176 was travelling from Perth to Auckland on May 21 and was delayed after the first officer was asked to undergo a random drug and alcohol test.

The 13-minute delay apparently didn’t sit well with the captain who went on to lock the first officer out of the cockpit for two minutes once the plane took-off, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Air New Zealand’s operational integrity and safety manager Errol Burtenshaw played down the incident saying the captain didn’t open the door because he was approaching a navigational waypoint and thought it was a member of the cabin crew — rather than his co-pilot — attempting to enter the cockpit.

“Both pilots have learned a valuable lesson around the need to communicate better with peers,” Mr Burtenshaw said.

But an expert told the New Zealand Herald two minutes is “an eternity” on a flight.

The incident has sparked calls for a third crew member to be added to flight decks so no one is ever alone in the cockpit.

Originally published as Pilot locked out of cockpit mid-air


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