NTSB Advisory
National Transportation Safety Board
Washington, DC 20594
October 22, 2009


The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident where an Airbus A320 overflew the Minneapolis-St Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain Airport (MSP).

On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 5:56 pm mountain daylight time, an Airbus A320, N03274, operating as Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 188, became a NORDO (no radio communications) flight at 37,000 feet. The flight was operating as a Part 121 flight from San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California (SAN) to MSP with 147 passengers and unknown number of crew.

At 7:58 pm central daylight time (CDT), the aircraft flew over the destination airport and continued northeast for approximately 150 miles. The MSP center controller reestablished communications with the crew at 8:14 pm and reportedly stated that the crew had become distracted and had overflown MSP, and requested to return to MSP. 

According to the Federal Administration (FAA) the crew was interviewed by the FBI and airport police.  The crew stated they were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness.  The Safety Board is scheduling an interview with the crew. 

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) have been secured and are being sent to the NTSB laboratory in Washington, DC.

David Lawrence, the Investigator-in-Charge, is leading the team of 3 in investigating the incident.

Parties to the investigation are the FAA and Northwest Airlines.


NTSB Media Contact: Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100

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