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article imagePilot feud results in locked cockpit, scare on Air New Zealand

By Mike Rossi     Jul 7, 2014 in Travel
Perth City - Following a few frightening moments aboard a Trans-Tasman flight from Australia, two Air New Zealand pilots have been temporarily relieved from duty.
The incident occurred nearly six weeks ago, during a May 21st flight from Perth, Australia to Auckland, New Zealand across the Tasman Sea.
According to reports published by the New Zealand Herald on July 6th, the first officer of NZ176 was locked out of the cockpit by the captain of the plane following an undisclosed confrontation.
The cabin crew, in conjunction with the exiled first officer, repeatedly asked the captain to open the cockpit door, only to have their requests ignored. After two minutes of silence, the crew manually gained access to the flight deck, circumventing the locking mechanism through alternate means (the specifics of which are being withheld for safety reasons).
While no official explanation has been given explicitly outlining the disagreement , there was apparently some tension before take-off due to a random drug and alcohol screening that the first officer needed to take prior to push-back.
The test delayed the scheduled departure time by nearly 15 minutes.
Air New Zealand Operational Integrity and Safety Manager, Errol Burtenshaw, stated that breakdown in communication was "unfortunate" and that the captain had been frustrated by the jeopardizing of his "operational efficiency."
Although the flight continued on its journey to Auckland without any additional problems and concluded the trip safely, both the pilot and first officer were suspended from duty for two weeks and one week respectively.
This incident comes on the heels of the March 8th, 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The plane, which vanished from radar just hours into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has yet to be found. Aviation investigators have speculated that foul play by one of the two pilots aboard Flight 370 may explain the plane's disappearance and — assumed — destruction.
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