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Pilot Caught Sleeping Mid-Flight While Flying Boeing 747

The pilot’s suspension started a debate.

Sleeping when you are on the plane is normal for passengers, but for pilots, it’s a whole different story. A China Airlines pilot is said to have almost 20 years of flying experience but was seen taking a nap on duty.

While it was unclear when the incident happened, and on what flight the pilot had slept on, China Airlines had verified that he had slept mid-flight as he was in charge of a Boeing 747. Even though the passengers’ lives were never in danger even when the pilot was asleep, sleeping on the job was still frowned upon especially because it was just a short-haul flight.

The pilot was identified as Weng Jiaqi, a senior officer for China Airlines, the national carrier of Taiwan. Aside from taking charge of short-haul flights to cities including Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Okinawa, and Seoul, Jiaqi also supervises the training of would-be pilots.

However, he was suspended after he was filmed taking a nap in the cockpit of his passenger jet mid-flight. The 30-second clip, shot by the co-pilot, shows the Boeing 747 pilot slumping his head forward with his eyes closed while the aircraft was mid-flight.

Since the co-pilot was obviously awake, the airplane was never in danger during the flight. The co-pilot may have just taken a video of the senior pilot for fun.

But because the co-pilot posted this on social media, both of them were suspended for the “improper behavior.” The senior pilot was suspended for sleeping mid-flight while the co-pilot also received punishment for not waking him up.

The video, once circulated on social media, started a debate on how commercial pilots fall asleep while flying. While many questioned the safety regulations, there were also others who sympathized with the pilot saying he was seen to be clearly fatigued.

Commercial pilots in China recently went on a seven-day strike over issues like long working hours. The latest video came only after a few days after the strike was called off and could lead to a fresh debate.

Watch the video here:

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