View Full Version : QF Pilot Incapacitation

The Riddler
29th Jun 2007, 05:05
Foaming' airliner pilot grounded
Jano Gibson
June 29, 2007 - 2:01PM
A pilot who began foaming at the mouth during a mid-air seizure aboard a Hong Kong to Sydney flight has had his medical certificate revoked after it was revealed it was his second such attack.
The cockpit drama occurred aboard a Qantas-registered Airbus A330-303 about 5.45pm on January 10, two-and-a-half hours before the plane was due to touch down in Sydney.
"The pilot in command and the second officer were engaged in conversation when it became apparent that the second officer was no longer responding," said a report released today by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
"The pilot in command noticed that the second officer had sighed a couple of times and that his left fist was tightly clenched.
"He did not respond to touch, and foam had formed around one side of his mouth.
"The pilot in command immediately sought assistance from the cabin crew."
The second officer was taken out of the cockpit and into the flight crew rest area while the co-pilot, who had been in the rest area, replaced him in the cockpit.
A member of the flight crew who had nursing qualifications, as well as a passenger who was a medical practitioner, assessed the second officer's condition.
After liaising by radio with the airline's medical centre at its Sydney base, it was decided there was no need to land the plane at the nearest airport.
Instead, it continued on to Sydney, where it was met by an ambulance.
The second officer was transported to hospital and it was later confirmed that he had suffered a neurological seizure, the ATSB report said.
The flight from Hong Kong to Sydney was just his second flight since returning to duty after a long period of sick leave.
The report revealed that in May, 2006, the second officer had suffered another seizure which resulted in his Class 1 medical certificate being suspended by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA). Following detailed neurological testing, assessment and monitoring, his medical certificate was renewed because a specialist believed the first seizure had been probably been caused by a coincidence of a number of factors and there was a minimal risk of any recurrence.
But because of the second officer's latest neurological seizure, CASA has revoked his medical certificate, meaning the pilot is unable to fly an aircraft.
Good luck to the guy involved. Hope you get well soon.

29th Jun 2007, 05:14
Poor fella, put an end to his career I would think.:( I dont reckon any DAME will be brave enough to renew, nor would CASA accept it.

And all that training going to waste, I hope he can gain some ground based training or such work.

All the best in any case.


The Kavorka
29th Jun 2007, 05:41
A good reminder to us all to have up to date loss of licence insurance!!!

29th Jun 2007, 05:51
Very best of luck to the pilot involved. Just another sombre reminder of how important that little piece of paper is and how easy it is to lose it. :(


29th Jun 2007, 06:00
The young gentleman concerned is doing ok (As well as can be expected considering losing your ability to do something that you love in life).:{

He was (and still is in my book) a great pilot that loved avaition and enjoyed instructing, then fullfiling his dream job of flying with the big White Rat.

29th Jun 2007, 06:45
People will say that things happen for a reason but at times life can be very cruel...All the best to him.

29th Jun 2007, 08:41
at times life can be very cruel so true, but from someone who is having the time of his life with his sixth or is it seventh life/career change the only thing that is certain in life is that you will one day die. After the second or was it the third of the aforesaid changes thinking that I might have been better off dead, I've been stunned at the way life subsequently unfolded and still is in all maner of different and exciting ways.

There is a world outside our young dreams, we have little if any direct control over events, see above, just hang it out there and go for whatever is available and turns you on. Someone who cares should make sure he gets some professional psychological support and counselling going forward, unless you clean it up, spilt milk just goes sour and putrid.

Good luck to the young fella and I know he will have a good life if he just gets on with it.:ok:..

If I might be allowed a little bit of lighthearted humour, I think I have flown with a Capt who has that effect on people too, wonder if it's the same one? ;) :E

29th Jun 2007, 13:50
Very true gaunty. There is life (and lots of it) beyond flying.

It's a tough break for this young pilot - I hope you soon find a zing in your step mate and something to get interested in excited about.


29th Jun 2007, 14:20
My thoughts go to the person affected.

Good on the specialist for making a decision that got him back flying- the result NO HARM done. I have seen a number of cases of healthy individuals being stuck for MONTHS because some dipstick in CASA does not have the balls to make an informed decision on a medical situation. I only hope that this does not justify their ineptitude.

29th Jun 2007, 18:47
You can read the ATSB report here (http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2007/AAIR/aair200700080.aspx) or download the pdf report here (http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2007/AAIR/pdf/aair200700080_001.pdf) (108 kb).

1st Jul 2007, 12:57

"endure the cesspit of mediocrity they call GA"

What prompts you to use such offensive language? You obviously have a problem with a large section of Australian Aviation.

Don't know what you do but you don't come across with a professional attitude. Even if you have a problem with all the people employed in GA, try and keep it to yourself and that way you won't upset people.


An above mediocre GA pilot.

1st Jul 2007, 13:04
Good luck to the bloke in finding a new passion in life... I can't imagine not flying, but somethings are beyond our control. :(

1st Jul 2007, 13:36
"endure the cesspit of mediocrity they call GA"

hadagutful. Sorry to offend mate. I - in no way whatsoever - intended to have a shot at anybody or belittle any of my learned colleagues. I was simply making (indirect) reference to the mediocre pay, lifestyles, rosters and conditions that often prevails in GA. I think it's a testament to any pilots character when they overcome the numerous adversities in general aviation and come out of it doing what they want to do. It takes character.

Pentacle (another GA Pilot).

2nd Jul 2007, 01:34
OK Pentacle, I just had to pick up what you said in context.
Easy to read it another way as being derogatory of GA.

If you are a GA pilot then you certainly know the issues. I'm sure you would agree with me then that if politicians and bureaucrats were a little more sympathetic to this sector of aviation, it might not be struggling as much.
For example, millions of dollars in subsidies given to the car industry over the years to prop it up. Not saying it should be similarly 'propped up' but a little more consideration given to unnecessary costs and over regulation.

Anyway, getting back to the original post, when I read the article I felt great sympathy for the guy concerned. Pretty tough when your whole aviation career in jeopardy due to an undiagnosed medical condition.

As with comments from others, I hope he finds a fulfilling alternative.

2nd Jul 2007, 01:43
Sadly I guess it's something we don't talk much about but my last Class 1 I had a good chat to my DAME and some of the things he's experienced are pretty terrible. Knows of a few blokes in airlines that have lost their class 1s due to Diabeties, brain tumours, cancers, etc etc. He was saying its been quite common for DAMEs to pick up life threatening disorders in people on examination for someones initial class 1. I've known of quite a few older guys who have had their life saved by their DAMEs over 55 just cause they picked something up.

Quite a few airline flight departments in technical roles, flight planning have ex pilots that have lost their medicals, hopefully this guy will find something like this, or a new passion.