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Air Canada Pilot Inflight Mental Breakdown

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Air Canada Pilot Inflight Mental Breakdown

Old 30th Jan 2008, 00:30
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Air Canada Pilot Inflight Mental Breakdown

Air Canada Flight Diverted Due To Cockpit Medical Emergency

Tuesday, 29 Jan 2008
Co-Pilot Hospitalized, May Have Suffered Mental Breakdown

The co-pilot of an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London is now
hospitalized in Shannon, Ireland, after suffering what has been termed
in news reports as a nervous breakdown.

The Globe and Mail reports Flight AC848 was an hour out from London on
Monday, when some kind of incident occurred in the cockpit.

"The captain advised air traffic control that he was going to divert to
Shannon due to a crew member being unwell," said Shannon International
Airport spokesman Eugene Pratt. "It wasn't an emergency landing. This
was just a diversion, a medical diversion."

An ambulance met the plane, and took the co-pilot to the hospital.
Pratt would not confirm reports the co-pilot had suffered a breakdown.

"We don't want to comment on that," he said. "I've heard those reports
as well. Given the sensitive nature of that, I'm not going to comment."

Citing other, unnamed airport officials, however, the Irish Independent
reports the co-pilot was admitted to the psychiatric unit of an area
hospital... after being forcibly removed from the plane by crewmembers,
and an off-duty officer with the Canadian Armed Forces.

At no time was the safety of the 149 passengers onboard the B767-300
compromised, stressed Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. He would
not comment on reports of the co-pilot's mental health, saying only he
"is now in hospital care and because of the personnel issue and privacy
issue, we're not going to have any other details."

Passengers continued on to London with a replacement flight crew, after
an eight-hour delay.
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Old 30th Jan 2008, 01:40
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Thanks...just reading about it on another aviation (Canadian) site and it sadly, degenerated into a AC v WJ slagging fest. Some smart arse stated that the psyc eval done by AC is a waste of time, and off it went...sad to see the same brother versus brother issue in Canadian aviation is still strong...when will you guys wake up? You actually are your own worst enemies if you can't figure out how this behaviour lowers your own standards? I hope the AC pilot in question recovers his medical health soon, and can return to work, he has a long fight ahead of him. And to the West Jet guys here, please get that long term disability (or loss of licence coverage, not sure whick one you don't currently have...) sorted out with your employer, it's a must have coverage...
One way to help out your pilot group is a self run system which requires a "donation" from each pilot into a fund that would help out a buddy who loses his medical for any reason. In the past, some pilot groups have actually done well investing the cash from this system...(any old CALPA guys help out here?)
Good luck
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Old 30th Jan 2008, 03:22
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From Globe and Mail

Co-pilot shackled to seat after outburst

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

January 29, 2008 at 10:38 PM EST

Yelling, crying and invoking God, the co-pilot of an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London had to be forcibly removed from the cockpit of his jetliner after suffering an emotional collapse as the plane flew over the Atlantic.

Shackled by the wrists and ankles, the shoeless first officer had to be restrained by crew members with the help of a traveller who was a member of the Canadian Forces.

Left alone in the cockpit, the captain cut short the journey of Flight AC 848 by diverting to Ireland's Shannon airport.

Meanwhile, the first officer was crying and screaming as he was cuffed on a free seat, said a Toronto-area man whose wife was sitting nearby.

“It was a bit of a traumatic experience” for the woman, who was travelling with a toddler, her husband said last night.

The co-pilot was taken by ambulance to a psychiatric ward after the plane and its 146 passengers landed on Monday morning.

“At no time was safety compromised,” Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said.

It was the second time an Air Canada flight ended prematurely in recent days. This month, a jetliner carrying 83 passengers from Victoria to Toronto made an emergency landing in Calgary after turbulence threw it out of control.

It was also a reminder of the 1999 EgyptAir flight that plunged into the Atlantic. Black-box recordings raised speculations that the crash occurred because co-pilot Gameel Al-Batouti was suicidal.

Pilots don't automatically undergo psychiatric assessments when they have their medical checkups, a federal official said yesterday.

The doctors who do the checkups are general practitioners approved by Transport Canada, said Transport Canada spokeswoman Lucie Vignola.

A psychiatric evaluation is not done unless the GP decides a pilot needs to see a specialist, she said.

Commercial pilots undergo medical checkups every year, every six months if they are over 40, said Captain Andy Wilson, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association.

At Air Canada, pilots are checked by company doctors, he said.

After his co-pilot's removal, regulations would have required the captain to don his oxygen mask and land at “the nearest suitable aerodrome,” said Yvan-Miville Deschênes, a former flight controller.

“It's standard procedure. When there's only one person left in the cockpit, he puts on an oxygen mask in case the cabin depressurizes,” he said. “Continuing to London would have been a security breach.”

Passenger Sean Finucane told CBC News that the co-pilot, who said “he just wanted to talk to God,” was yelling loudly but didn't sound intoxicated.

“When they tried to put his shoes on later, for example, he swore and threatened people. … He was swearing and asking for God, and was very, very distressed.”

His account matched those in the Irish Independent and in the online forum flyertalk.com.

The Independent said the co-pilot, who was “acting in a peculiar manner and was talking loudly to himself,” was held down by the crew and by a member of the Canadian Forces.

“It was quite an experience! He was being restrained in 12A and the entire mini-cabin could hear the whole thing. Not for delicate ears,” a writer posted on flyertalk.com.

“The soldier and the doctors [who were passengers] were great.”

The writer added that the flight crew was “calm and professional throughout.” The pilots' union also commended the crew for its handling of the incident.

AC 848 was supposed to land around 8:25 a.m. at London's Heathrow Airport. However, an hour before arrival, controllers at Shannon Airport were told the flight was diverted “because of illness with a crew member,” said spokesman Eugene Pratt.

An employee at Ennis General Hospital, near Shannon, said the crew member was taken to the acute psychiatric care unit.

Passengers were given 15 euros for food but were kept at the airport, said the man whose spouse sat near the cuffed co-pilot.

“My wife was stranded there with a baby. They wouldn't even allow her to take the stroller off the plane.”

In the afternoon, a crew from London picked up the passengers, who arrived at Heathrow eight hours late.
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Old 30th Jan 2008, 19:43
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He wouldn't have been screaming about poor pay, crippling tax burden and excessive duty hours would he???? (Every likely AC management got him off to a psychiatric hospital....)

Get well soon.
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Old 1st Feb 2008, 04:56
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I guess singer Celine Dion, who recently did some commercial spots for Air Canada, is wrong.

You and I aren't necessarily meant to fly.

Sorry. My usual irreverent self has surfaced once again.

In all seriousness, I hope he makes a quick recovery and gets back on track.
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Old 1st Feb 2008, 16:42
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Two unrelated questions:
how lucky was it that a big burly Canadian soldier was on hand to help?
Whatever happened to Sky-marshals?

No wonder I always feel secure on AC.
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Old 20th Nov 2008, 19:40
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AC FA Assisted In Landing Plane

Sounds like the airlines might be wise to run all you hosties through the flight simulator and add your names to one more seniority roster!



Air Canada flight attendant helped land plane after co-pilot breakdown: report

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 CBC News

An Air Canada flight attendant took over some cockpit duties earlier this year when the flight's co-pilot had a nervous breakdown, an official report said Wednesday.

Another flight attendant received wrist injuries while helping to restrain the co-pilot, said the report from Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU).

The incident happened on Jan. 28 as a London-bound Air Canada flight was over the Atlantic Ocean. The flight, carrying 146 passengers and nine crew members, had departed from Toronto's Pearson airport.

According to the report, the pilot said his co-pilot had arrived at the Toronto airport later than usual and appeared "quite harried."

After complaining of fatigue and taking a couple of rest breaks, the co-pilot became "belligerent and unco-operative" and was forcibly removed from the cockpit by other crew members, said the report. Two doctors on board the flight examined the co-pilot and reported he was in a confused and disoriented state.

The pilot requested an emergency landing at Shannon Airport, west of Limerick, and asked the flight crew to find out whether there were any other pilots on board.

A flight attendant with a commercial pilot's licence took the co-pilot's seat to help land the Boeing 767. The pilot told Irish investigators she provided "useful assistance" and was "not out of place" in the co-pilot's chair, said the report.

The report also commends the pilot and flight crew for their calm and professional manner.

"The commander, realizing he was faced with a difficult and serious situation, used tact and understanding and kept control of the situation at all times," said the report.

“The situation was dealt with in a professional manner.… As such the commander and flight attendants should be commended for their professionalism in the handling of this event.”

Irish newspapers reported the co-pilot was forcibly removed from the plane by fellow crew members and a passenger who was a member of the Canadian Forces. He was taken to the psychiatric unit of a nearby hospital and remained there for 11 days before returning to Canada with his wife, who had joined him in Ireland. He is recovering, said the report.

The co-pilot was an experienced pilot whose positive medical assessment was dated October 2007, said the report.
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Old 21st Nov 2008, 16:18
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Do you like flowers? do you want to be a florist? Do you have any sexual deviancies?

I went in happy, came out angry over the useless drivel, oh well.
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Old 23rd Nov 2008, 23:24
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It is not appropriate for a skymarshall to intervene in a situation such as this. In fact, if he did, he would no longer be a skymarshall.
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