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Pilot locked in lavatory causes unnecessary terror scare

He was caught with his pants down. A pilot who accidentally locked himself in the bathroom of his LaGuardia-bound plane caused a terror scare last night when a helpful passenger with an accent tried to come to his rescue by banging on the cockpit door. The embarrassing comedy of errors began when the captain of a Chatauqua Airlines flight from Asheville, N.Car., decided to take a bathroom break before landing. But when he tried to get out of the men’s room, the door jammed, trapping him in the… ( 기타...

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Great story. Do they not have a FA?
Jmumman 0
There probably was only one flight attendant on this flight as this was a regional flight. Because the cockpit door has to be opened from the inside, the flight attendant has to in the cockpit if one of the pilots is out. You can't disturb the pilot while he's trying to fly the plane, so the flight attendant is gonig to be the one who lets the captain back in.
Jmumman 0
whoops! forgot the "be" in "has to be in"
Maybe she was in the Lav with the pilot ;)
Fred White 0
<sigh> It's not the internet until someone is offended. ;-\ Gimme a break.
That explains everything.
Anybody else have the image of the inflatable co-pilot from "Airplane!" come to mind when you read this?

Gotta love Leslie Nielson movies....
mark tufts 0
at first that was my thought :-)
And don't call me Shirley!!!
This incident ended up being comical, the script could have been written by the Monty Python group. I'll bet the neck hairs were rising on that poor co-pilot! And Chip, I agree with you.
On small planes, the FA goes in to the cockpit when a crew member leaves the cockpit.
canuck44 0
...or to the washroom with him.
How small are we talking about? I've NEVER seen an FA go into the cockpit while one of the pilots went to the lav. And I would especially hope that wouldn't happen on an a/c with fewer than 50 PAX, because there's only one FA!
I have seen this commonly on 737s and 757s.
@ DB - The FA going into the cockpit or into the lav with the Captain? LOL
FA went into the cockpit on a CRJ-7 the other day while one of the pilots went to the lav. 52 pax.
aquia201 0
Common sense always seem to take a back seat.
heh, I like this news channels version of the story, note the picture of the lav.. What you mean that isn't an ERJ lav?
Yazoo 0
The F/O did exactly what he should have. Only he was a little slow. You can't mess around with a possible security issue like that. You put the aircraft on the ground.
Yazoo has it right. The FO was right on. What was he going to do? Leave the cockpit to help the Captain? The was no legitimate reason to allow the passenger access. My big issue is where was the FA? At 10,000 ft I would have been chastised by a FA for walking around the cabin. Maybe he/she was in the lav.
I think its silly, though. If he was really a security threat, wouldn't the Pax be up there too handling the threat? You would hear a struggle. The F/A shouldn't be fooling around in the cockpit as earlier comments were saying not caring if this is regulation or not. The F/A should have returned to the cabin and dealt with it professionally. The F/O however, did his job, he flew the plane.
RadBaron 0
The plane was in a HOLDING PATTERN and the pilot decided he needed to go THEN??? What ever happened to that "no going to the lav 30 minutes before landing" rule that got a lot of people busted last 2 years?
Wonder what that accent turned out to be? Probably Brooklyn born and raised.
If ya gotta go, you gotta go. He might not have had a choice.
He could have used the peetot tube! :D
The FA went into the cockpit the other day on a CRJ-7
What is the reasoning for the FA to occupy the cockpit when one pilot is gone?
To verify the identity of the person trying to enter and then open the door. Otherwise, you'd have a single pilot operation doing door security as well.
This is hilarious!
Amy Dillon 0
One F/A always goes into the flight deck when a pilot leaves. All flights with PAX have at least one F/A. It's a 2nd pair of eyes up there. Not sure if it's FAA regulation or company policy. What I don't get is the statement, "someone with a thick foreign accent is giving me a password to access the cockpit". What idiot gives a passenger the password?! Certainly not the Captain or any other crew member! It must be a mis-statement...(I hope).

[This poster has been suspended.]

I like both of your attempts at spelling paranoid. Hedging your
But you didn't learn to spell very well.
Where was the CO PILOT?
bdarnell 0
Flying the A/C. There is another account of this story that I heard that confirmed the FA was on the flight deck, per company SOP. If I'm in the right seat, you can bet I'm not opening the door for anyone other than crew. I'm calling ATC and requesting straight in to the nearest field that can accept my A/C.
pjshield 0
Between the pilot and the copilot, I guarantee you that at the end of the flight, it was the co-pilot who REALLY NEEDED that rest room. His pants were so full by then that he felt like he was sitting on gel pads.
1) I feel safer already
2) Since we're shutting down manned NASA flights, do you think we could issue flight suits to all cockpit personnel so they can just plug in a hose w/o getting out of their seats? :)
3) Necessity is the mother of... sorry, I'll be right back. Don't let anyone in here even if they have the password and it sounds like me.
Dee Taylor 0
This was just too funny!!!
Jim Hunt 0
No one has mentioned the defective design of the Embreair(sp) bathroom locking mechanism. This lock malfunction happens frequently. This time the Captain happened to be in the bathroom. The co-pilot AND flight attendant were doing there jobs correctly. You can't have a single pilot getting out of his seat to visually I D the other pilot as they return to the cockpit. I don't see a comedy of errors. I see a crew doing their jobs correctly while dealing with a poorly designed aircraft as certified by our FAA.
bdarnell 0
Hmmmmm.... I've got thousands of miles in Embraers. Never once got locked in the head. Maybe a fluke occurance. I take exception to the "poorly designed" comment. I like these birds. JMHO :)
Son, I'm not stopping once we leave, so you'd better go before you get in.
The flight attendant needs to stay in the cockpit to open the door for the pilot that is in the bathroom. The pilot flying the plane can't get up to open the door while he is in control of the aircraft. This is common on all aircraft unless there is 3 pilots.
Why wait to use the washroom on approach????
Possible he didn't know how long they'd be in holding pattern? I didn't have to go when we left.
And don't call me Shirley!
Tom Gorman 0
Pilot in bathroom: "Is there anyone out there that can help me?
Passenger: "Yes, I can help you sir"
Pilot in bathroom: I'm sorry, your english and diction is too good, is there anyone out there with a thick foreign accent that I can give my security code to?"
I love the ERJ too. But the locking mechanism for the bathroom is always problematic. Don't know if it's Chautauqua failing to properly maintain it or an Embraer design issue.
bdarnell 0
Point taken.
Jim Mantle 0
There was one FA, but there is a rule saying there needs to be 2 on the flight deck at all times therefore she was up front. The FO can easily open the door (s/he's not flying the airplane, the autopilot is) - I'm betting the rule got created because once the FO fell asleep while the captain was going to the washroom - and it took 15 minutes to get back into the flight deck.

This story is a great example of hearing hoof beats and fantasizing about zebras rather than horses.
bdarnell 0
Not sure if auto was flying the plane or not. It's not clear if he was flying the hold or on final. It'd be interesting to hear the ATC tapes. Either way, Skipper needed to be in the left seat.
Instead of making jokes about the issue I would instead consider the most probable fact: it must have been a sudden and uncontrollable human urge to use the restroom. A Captain does not leave his cockpit unless it is extremely urgent. And he/she would do so only if he/she can rely on his Crew member. Furthermore, the Copilot ought to be qualified to safely operate and land the aircraft from the right seat. Inthis case, it seems to be the case.
Lastly, a Regional Jet might sound small but it is not. It takes skills, experience, training and good airmanship. Just as any other aircraft.
Being certified and qualified for Single Pilot operation I can, with sufficient grounds confirm the importance of a good dual crew cockpit and CRM.
Hurray for this crew. Good job
This still has me laughing picturing the scene, but what is not funny is having to be in a position to have to react this way. These are such edgy times and we all know the TSA and all involved in our security are....let me put this nicely...are not up to par so we have to be vigilant as passengers and crews. Hope I see flying again like the joy it was many, many years ago in my lifetime.
A tale of number ones and number twos.
That wasn't the controller telling them to declare an emergency... it was another pilot. And the co-pilot's caution here is justified... For all they know, the pilot has been incapacitated, the password has been extorted from him, and if they open that door it'll be 9/11 all over again. The FO did the right thing.
I just told the same thing to my husband Eric, you are absolutely right.
Yes, just like others have mentioned; on these aircraft; when one pilot has to leave the FD; the FA must enter and stay in the FD until the pilot returns.
If there is only one pilot in the cockpit, they cannot get up to open the door, even if the FA is there and the aircraft is on autopilot. There would be no one at the controls.
I thought modern-day aircraft had lavatory doors that could be easily removed, simply by taking the bolt from the exposed outside-door hinges. I understood this was the very inflight situation that dictated easy removal of doors from their hinges!
I'm not sure if that would have worked if it were a pocket door. I remember the bi-fold doors were pretty flimsy and would go off track quite a bit. Other than that I liked the ERJ.
MEDIC419 0
where were the flight attendants
Only one f/a required on aircraft with 50 or fewer seats
migpilot 0
Morons the fa has to be on the flight deck to open the door after looking through the peep hole. The lone pilot cannot leave his station.
Bcap 0
Too funny!
mark tufts 0
ken u r right as it sounds like a monty python group script and i won't be one bit surprised if the make a comedy movie about this incient
Saturday Night Live comes to mind...
aquia201 0
Pilots should be given a two way radio or some source of communication to take with them when leaving the cockpit. Common sense to me.
canuck44 0
The FAA and TSA and EPA and FCC and NLRB would probably ban it.


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