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Two Northwest pilots appeal FAA's decision revoking their licenses

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NTSB spokesman: Both pilots filed appeals against FAA revocation
  • FAA said the pilots were "extremely reckless" and endangered the public
  • Timothy B. Cheney, Richard I. Cole, were piloting Flight 188 on October 21
  • Air traffic controllers lost radio contact with the Airbus A320 over Denver
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(CNN) -- Two Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot the Minneapolis, Minnesota, airport are appealing a decision to revoke their licenses, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Thursday.

NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said both pilots filed appeals against the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to revoke their licenses.

The FAA said the pilots were "extremely reckless" and endangered the public by flying an hour and half without contacting controllers.

Northwest Captain Timothy B. Cheney, 53, and First Officer Richard I. Cole, 54, were piloting Flight 188 from San Diego, California, to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on October 21 when air traffic controllers lost radio contact with the Airbus A320 over the Denver, Colorado, area, the FAA said.

Instead of beginning to descend as planned about 22 minutes before its scheduled arrival, the plane continued flying at its cruise altitude of 35,000 feet and passed over the Minnesota airport.

Air traffic controllers re-established radio contact after the plane had flown about 150 miles past its destination. The plane -- carrying 144 passengers, two pilots and three flight attendants -- eventually landed safely.