Pilot thought Venus was a plane

Sixteen passengers and crew were injured when an airline pilot took evasive action to avoid Venus. [Reuters]

36 Responses to “Pilot thought Venus was a plane”

  1. Ashen Victor says:

    Well… He didn’t crash with Venus, so everybody wins!

  2. Brainspore says:

    The first officer, whose young children often interrupted his sleep at home…

    Been there, buddy.

  3. retepslluerb says:

    The safety board said the crew did not fully understand the risks of tiredness during night flights.


    What’s next? Crew needs to be told that nighttime is usually darker and that they may get wet during rainfalls?

    • Brainspore says:

      Of course the safety board is going to blame the crew. The safety board are the ones fighting the Pilots’ Association, which wants to limit the number of hours pilots can be kept on duty. If the situation in Canada is anything like the U.S. then saying “I’m too tired to fly right now” is career suicide.

    • chenille says:

      On that note, the safety board blamed the first officer for sleeping too long. That’s maybe a little less obvious than night being dark.

    • GawainLavers says:

      Or the relative danger of colliding with Venus?

      (too easy, I know)

      • retepslluerb says:

        I’m pretty sure he didn’t think “holy shit, we are crashing into Venus. I better take evasive action before we do crashland and get eaten by nubiles savages riding dinosaurs.”

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      Translation: “We are blaming the crew because unofficially we push the crews to fly when sleep deprived.”

  4. awjt says:

    I almost crashed Venus once, and I spilled my drink.

  5. JustinKalb says:

    “The airliner dropped about 400 feet before the captain pulled back on the control column. Fourteen passengers and two crew were hurt, and seven needed hospital treatment. None were wearing seat belts, even though the seat-belt sign was on.”
    Seriously folks, when the light is on,  they aren’t kidding…  

  6. vonbobo says:

    You should have seen me trying to avoid Uranus!

  7. Jamie Adam says:

    http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120406.html Seriously. Look at that picture and tell me you can really blame the pilot…

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      Look up at the sky instead.  It is bright but not nearly that bright.

      I could see someone who was half-asleep panicking if he thought a plane was coming straight at him at a closing speed of 400+ mph.

  8. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    New FAA rule, all night flights will have to include an on board astronomer.

  9. niktemadur says:

    Three things pop to mind:

    • Venus has been so bright for the last several months, it can be seen during daytime, if you know where to look.  Also, it’s impressively high above the horizon at sunset, Venus is setting at around 9:30 pm.
    • Isn’t there an app for that?  If “Star Walk” is on my iPhone, why isn’t there a similar navigation tool on, you know, an airplane worth several tens of millions of dollars?
    Air Canada has developed a special fatigue report form for use in its safety reporting system … this enhanced system should be in place in summer of 2012.  Why hasn’t something like this been in place for, oh I don’t know, the last fifty years?  And what of all the other airliners?
    Duty and productivity at all costs, supreme idiocy.

    • Brainspore says:

      Air Canada has developed a special fatigue report form for use in its safety reporting system … this enhanced system should be in place in summer of 2012.

      Oh good, a form. That ought to do it.

      • dragonfrog says:

        See, the historical origins of work-to-rule protests – used to be that every time there was a train mishap, the railroads blamed their engineers for missing a mandatory safety check.  Every now and then, they added another mandatory safety check or two, without lengthening the scheduled stops to allow their engineers time to actually complete them – just to make sure that next time there was a mishap, the engineers would have missed some mandatory safety checks.

        All of which gave the engineers a perfect way to protest – they just did everything they were required to – after all, safety is more important than train schedules – resulting in massive delays.

  10. oasisob1 says:

    That’s no moon.

  11. Preston Sturges says:

    I stopped in a rest area after falling asleep at the wheel. I took an nap, but snapped awake convinced I’d run off the road again, so there I was in an empty parking lot screaming and clutching the steering wheel. 

    • twianto says:

      I did the same thing, only the rest area’s parking lot wasn’t flat, I put the car in neutral and forgot about the brakes. Only noticed something was off when cars passed in front of me where there was supposed to be a wall. Not a good way to wake up.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If it’s any consolation, I’ve sleep-punched everyone I’ve ever slept with.

  12. mat catastrophe says:

    Story says this happened in January 2011 which I take to be a typo.

  13. Rosiemoto says:

    I was flying a 737 when a large satellite came down near our plane one night.  At first I thought it was a 747 coming towards us with its landing lights on.  We were hauling cargo and didn’t need to take evasive action. The entire sky turned from night to day. It actually heated up the air temp in the cockpit.  Pretty cool event.

  14. Their feldspars says:

    “Canada’s largest airline…has faced prolonged labor unrest.” Well, that’s your problem right there. Unrest.

  15. John Ohno says:

    They’re recycling the Venus Defense? I thought that was thoroughly ridiculed after Project Blue Book claimed that all those UFOs seen by professional pilots (including the ones with burbling multicolored lights and humanoid figures) were Venus!

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