Off-course pilots were laptopping-while-flying

Two pilots on a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Minneapolis, MN flew past the airport in error last week, and federal investigators now report that this was caused by laptop distraction in the cockpit. Northwest has just gone through a merger, and the pilots were apparently kvetching to one another about the confusing new scheduling system imposed post-merger.

"Each pilot accessed and used his personal laptop computer while they discussed the airline crew flight scheduling procedure," the NTSB report said. More from the New York Times.

The pilots told the National Transportation Safety Board that they missed their destination because they had taken out their personal laptops in the cockpit, a violation of airline policy, so the first officer, Richard I. Cole, could tutor the captain, Timothy B. Cheney, in a new scheduling system put in place by Delta Air Lines, which acquired Northwest last fall.