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Spilled coffee in 777 cockpit leads to inadvertent hijack warning, FAA-mandated sippy cups look likely

Tim Stevens

If you've ever spilled coffee on a piece of electronics, maybe a keyboard or even a laptop, spare a thought for the pilot of United Airlines flight 940, outbound from Chicago and heading to Frankfurt. Not long after takeoff the pilot apparently dumped a cup of Joe onto the communications panel in the cockpit and things rapidly went downhill from there. The crew inadvertently sent a code 7500, which indicates that the plane is being hijacked and, as you can imagine, that led to a lot of unwanted attention. It's not clear whether the equipment malfunctioned and sent the code or the pilot, likely struggling with a scalded lap, fat-fingered things on the panel. Either way, the flight diverted to Toronto and, rather tragically, the passengers were all sent back to Chicago to try again the next day.

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