Pilot who overshot airport denies napping

But, in an interview with the Associated Press two days after he and a colleague flew past their destination as air traffic controllers tried frantically to reach them, pilot Richard Cole would not say just what it was that led to them to forget to land Flight 188.

Safety issue

“It was not a serious event, from a safety issue,” Cole told AP in an interview outside his home in Salem, Oregon. “I would tell you more, but  I have already told you way too much.”
Air traffic controllers and pilots had tried for more than an hour on Wednesday night to contact Cole and the flight’s captain, Timothy B Cheney, of Gig Harbour, Washington state, using radio, cell phone and data messages.

On the ground, concerned officials alerted the National Guard jets to prepare to chase the airliner from two locations, though none of the military planes got off the runway.
Cole would not discuss why it took so long for the pilots to respond to radio calls, “but I can tell you that airplanes lose contact with the ground people all the time. It happens. Sometimes they get together right away; sometimes it takes a while before one or the other notices that they are not in contact.”

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