The captain in the Northwest accident cited in “Fatal Distractions” (July 2010, page 56) was well respected at his airline, so even pros can make mistakes. There also was a dead-heading pilot jump-seating on the flight deck, and the NTSB cited his presence as a contributory distraction to the flight crew. The pilots missed setting the flaps to the required takeoff setting, which caused the aircraft to stall. I always instill in my copilots the importance of vigilance any time they are at ...


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