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Covid-19 and first class medical

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Covid-19 and first class medical

Old 27th Jun 2020, 12:29
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kly
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Covid-19 and first class medical

In March flight schools closed for several months allegedly because of Covid-19 pandemic. General data suggest that people who dying of Covid-19 tend to be very seriously ill with life-threatening diseases before getting the virus. In ATPL schools everybody, students and instructors have Class 1 Medical.

I wonder, does anybody know of anybody with Class 1 Medical who died of Covid-19?
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 12:45
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What would make a class 1 holder immune to death from Covid-19?

I am sure Class 1 holders have died from undetected health issues in the past, which I suppose is why we train for incapacitation.
You can also have "controlled" health issues and hold a class 1 medical.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 12:52
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Originally Posted by kly View Post
In March flight schools closed for several months allegedly because of Covid-19 pandemic. General data suggest that people who dying of Covid-19 tend to be very seriously ill with life-threatening diseases before getting the virus. In ATPL schools everybody, students and instructors have Class 1 Medical.

I wonder, does anybody know of anybody with Class 1 Medical who died of Covid-19?
Yes, I do.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 12:54
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A British pilot in Vietnam came very close to dying, in fact he is quoted as saying that he would probably have died had he been elsewhere. The worrying question is whether he and others who have been seriously ill will get their class 1 medicals back. There are reports of serious follow on consequences and as a class 1 medical holder these concern me. As far as actually dying there have been a number of cases reported in the media, a Kenya 787 captain, and an Air India pilot are two I remember.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 13:10
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kly
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Can you give links to the original sources please.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 13:18
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https://lmgtfy.com/?q=british+pilot+vietnam
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 13:49
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swh

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Two very senior captains at Turkish Airlines Serdar Gndoğdu and Mehmet Ali Kılı have died from Covid. Captain Daudi Kimuyu Kibati a senior Kenyan Airlines captain died after doing a Covid repatriation flight. Qatar has lost pilots, so too has Fedex.

Covid does not discriminate.

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Old 27th Jun 2020, 14:12
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Originally Posted by kly View Post
General data suggest that people who dying of Covid-19 tend to be very seriously ill with life-threatening diseases before getting the virus.
That is a misconception or even misinformation. Around (depending on which study you read) 90% of Covid deaths are people with pre-existing conditions - this does not equate to "seriously ill with life-threatening diseases". Nor does it equate to "were going to die soon anyway" (as has been often said) - the excess deaths stats should be proof enough of that.

I have a couple of pre-existing conditions, some of which might in fact (I think) preclude Class 1 Medical (I have never tried to get one, was told years ago that my eyesight wasn't good enough to fly anyway), however I am not seriously ill, nor are the diseases life-threatening unless left unmanaged/untreated. According to the doctors most patients live with what I've got for more decades than I likely have left anyway, I am most likely to die with the diseases not of them. Those same doctors have also placed me in the highest risk "shielding" category when it comes to Covid.

More generally, you need to look at what is a "pre-existing condition", some commonly considered ones are:

* diabetes
* hypertension
* obesity
* asthma
* dementia and alzheimer's
* ischemic heart disease

Not all of those preclude a Class 1 (most of them don't, I think).

A quick look at population prevalence rates (looking at UK at least) tells you that most people (especially if you look at over 30 or over 40) actually have a "pre-existing condition", so it isn't surprising that most people dying of Covid also have a pre-existing condition. Age remains the biggest risk factor, but then it is surely also the biggest risk factor for dying anyway...
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 14:44
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Originally Posted by schweizer2 View Post
What would make a class 1 holder immune to death from Covid-19?

I am sure Class 1 holders have died from undetected health issues in the past, which I suppose is why we train for incapacitation.
You can also have "controlled" health issues and hold a class 1 medical.
Agreed.... having a class 1 doesn't mean you are invincible.


Ttfn
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 15:12
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Some decades ago a colleague died while operating as an airline captain - he had, of course, a current Class 1. It happened that he and I used the same AME. After the completion of my next Class 1 examination, I asked the AME about that incident. "How can someone with a current Class 1 die without showing problems?" His reply was that a Class 1 carries no warranty, and that I, having just passed, could easily expire in his car park before even driving away from his surgery. I felt somewhat chastened.

Later I discussed this with a fellow pilot who was also qualified as a doctor. Not only did he agree, he said that aeromedical examinations made a negligible contribution to aviation safety; and that view I have heard expressed by several who are professionally qualified to express an opinion.

That chimes with my experience in that of all the pilots I have known who have lost their Class 1, very few failed a routine renewal; the vast majority lost their medical category through events that happened at other times.

So, apart from being one of the many ticks that you need to practice your calling, a Class 1 counts for little.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 15:32
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Quite agree, for most of us it is as great a contribution to flight safety as watching the dangerous goods video for the 20th time.

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Old 27th Jun 2020, 15:34
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I don't think there is an assumption that a class 1 makes you immune to dying from covid.

Covid is killing people with underlying health issues and barely affecting people who do not have any, all I can see is that a class 1 is likely to identify those issues, pilots still fly with diabetes and heart conditions
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 15:39
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Originally Posted by kly View Post
In March flight schools closed for several months allegedly because of Covid-19 pandemic.
Why the "allegedly"?

AFAIK they were closed for the same reason other educational institutions full of young, healthy individuals were shut down, e.g. schools and universities..-social distancing. It was done to stop Bloggs and his mates catching the disease in a class room or crew room from a fellow student and then going back out into the general community and spreading it to those more vulnerable such as perhaps their parents and grandparents.

( BTW I know of Class one medical holders who have been advised to "screen"/ treat themselves as vulnerable individuals and take suitable precautions because of their medical history - having a Class One doesn't mean you are a superman or a superwoman... )
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 15:42
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Originally Posted by kly View Post
Can you give links to the original sources please.
KQ captain of evacuation flight dies of COVID-19


Originally Posted by kly View Post
General data suggest that people who dying of Covid-19 tend to be very seriously ill with life-threatening diseases before getting the virus.
"General data" ? There is plenty of hard information about the enhanced risk due to various factors, including age. I suggest you look it up. And, yes, there is a low but not negligible chance of a healthy 25 year-old dying of COVID-19.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 16:01
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Anyone, young or old, can drop dead at any time. There wouldn't have been a huge number of sad stories involving pilots dying in uniform or in their sleep before/after duty if this could be ruled out by the Class I. Also, the fact that someone is "apparently" healthy does not mean that they don't have any underlying conditions - or just about enough contributing factors to make COVID-19 the straw which broke the camel's back. An individual who absolutely doesn't give the impression of being sick and infirm can still be affected by obesity, smoking, less-than-ideal heart condition, the wrong blood type and whatnot else - and COVID-19, in conjunction with all that, can make the scales tip.
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 16:06
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On BBC today


42-year old Scottish pilot

Presumably therefore he had a class 1 medical
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 17:18
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
On BBC today


42-year old Scottish pilot

Presumably therefore he had a class 1 medical
That is an amazing story !

Full marks for Vietnam !!!
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 17:48
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Kenparry
Later I discussed this with a fellow pilot who was also qualified as a doctor. Not only did he agree, he said that aeromedical examinations made a negligible contribution to aviation safety; and that view I have heard expressed by several who are professionally qualified to express an opinion.
I beg to disagree. In my mid-30s the CAA queried my ECG trace. Investigation showed that everything became normal when exercising so I retained my Class 1. As a result I exercised regularly to stay fit, which I am sure made me a safer pilot, less prone to fatigue and better able to cope with jet-lag and long night duties. At the age of 72 I am still able to run, swim, hike for miles and play atrocious golf. Without that six-monthly Sword of Damocles hanging over me I would probably have been a bit of a slob...
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Old 27th Jun 2020, 18:04
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Ah yes.

Initial FAA Class 1 took me an hour in London with an FAA approved Doc as I recall.... elderly Doctor gave me the once over, queried "if everything was OK down there" (I nodded and he didn't look!) and bobs your uncle, slip produced. CAA don't get me started, don't want to swear. One advantage of the CAA medical though is it is pretty thorough.

So "Class 1" is meaningless anyhow as standards vary hugely!

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Old 27th Jun 2020, 20:08
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I believe a NAS SH 737 Capt in Spain died of it
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