The Federal Aviation Administration is checking out concerns that the pilot and co-pilot of a Mesa Air Group plane fell asleep in the cockpit last week.
“There is an investigation as to whether the pilot and co-pilot of a Feb. 13 Go Airlines flight fell asleep while the plane was in the air between Honolulu and Hilo,” said Ian Gregor, FAA regional spokesman.
Go is Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group’s Hawaiian island hopper subsidiary.
Gregor would not say what alerted the federal air watchers to the incident.
A Honolulu TV station, KGMB-TV (Channel 9), reported Monday that air traffic controllers couldn’t rouse the unresponsive pilots for 25 minutes as the plane overshot Hilo by 15 miles. KGMB also reported that passengers had begun to notice they were heading out to sea before the plane turned back toward the island. It is not known what finally caught the pilots’ attention.
Gregor said the investigation could take several weeks, and, if it is found the pilots were napping instead of navigating, they could face disciplinary measures ranging from a warning to license revocation.
“We are cooperating fully with the FAA investigation, and there is no further comment at this time,” said Mesa Air Group spokesman Paul Skellon.