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Our Dilemma

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Our Dilemma

Old 19th Mar 2010, 12:00
  #1 (permalink)  
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Our Dilemma

How would you handle it?

Let me propose a number of every day scenario’s, that has, does, and will continue to confront us as professional aviators during our every day occupation.

What would you do if you knew your colleague has a medical deficiency that would disqualify the normal aviator, but due to an old boy network with his favourite medical man, he can retain the appropriate medical level and continue to fly?

Equally as important, how would you act, if your colleague was “mentally” questionable? What I mean is that he was displaying those unusable characteristics that made you question his stable mental attitude.

e.g., “talking about the value of life”, “unusual and abnormal behaviour”.

And finally, how would you handle your alcoholic or drug addict colleague. He or she who passes the annual medical [must lie about the alcohol / drug use consumption question].
He/she never fronts to the flight line intoxicated, but it’s a known [proven] fact that after knockoff time, they become a blithering mess.

I don’t wish to trivialise this matter, as many of our colleagues are affected by the above, and sadly, some are not with us now due to the depression or helplessness of their circumstances.

How would you [or how do you] address this situation?
Red Wine is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2010, 12:23
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Join Date: May 2008
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Write a report to your Flight Safety officer.

If it occurs with another company-report to CAA...

But:
You will have to show facts-not just "rumours"...
This is a serious problem...
hueyracer is offline  
Old 19th Mar 2010, 13:02
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How would you [or how do you] address this situation?
I think you have to treat the situation as you would want to be treated yourself.

If you truly believe someone to be absolutely unsafe, having discussed it quietly with colleagues if possible, then you have to pass your thoughts on to a relevant person, in the knowledge that they are likely to be at the least investigated, or suspended. You should be prepared to stand in front of them and justify what you have said and done.

If you are not sure enough to do that then, in my opinion, you're not sure enough to act.

If you're sure, but not prepared to say something and justify yourself for saying it, you need to look at your multi-crew communication skills!


Lafite
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 13:44
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If the individual is definitely a risk to themselves and/or others, then it's a no brainer and the issue should be raised quickly. Initially, directly with the individual concerned, but if progress isn't happening quickly, then formally through the appropriate authorities.

As someone said before, you would need definitive evidence rather than relying on circumstancial speculation, but your conscience would never be clear if something later happened that you can have prevented.

TTB
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 13:54
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Keep in mind that you are not a trained professional in these matters. So if you are not careful, you could put yourself and your employer in legal trouble. So your best policy would be to discuss your concerns and suspicions with the safety manager or chief pilot. At that point it is up to them to take action.

Do not go around talking to everyone about this pilot. Spreading rumors about someone doesn't help you personally or professionally. And remember that this is their livelihood also, so show them the same respect that you would for yourself.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 14:02
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This strikes me as a powderkeg of a situation and if you are motivated (or preceived ) by anything other than genuine safety concerns, you could find yourself alienated within your company. The type of operator will be a large determining factor how to proceed (if at all).

Big operator with good structure? follow proceedure with FSO. Small operator? maybe quiet word with boss (be aware, bosses loyalties lie may with most productive staff or ones with loyal work history,)

I know that a lot of old flyers can end up sounding bitter at life but this does not take from their abilities and experience. And as for the falling down juice, well..... If he turns up sober for work, where is the safety concern there?

the drug accusation is more serious and unless you had concrete proof, thread carefully.

And as for mental stability? Nearly every rotorjockey I know has been referred to as "a bit mental" by someone at some point. (not medically trained to diagnose I should point out).

twice in my past I've seen good pilots being questioned (mental stability and lifestyle) by other less experienced pilots. Both times it backfired.

Big question you should ask yourself is "do you want to take a man's livelyhood away"? and "are you willing to risk yours in the process" ?

If you are 100% genuine, then get it in writting to operations manager or chief pilot as to your concerns (without naming pilot) as to companies policy with dealing with such situations.

NB
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 15:49
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Due to your choice of words, which do not sound like you are without judgement
old boy network with his favourite medical man, was displaying those unusable characteristics, “unusual and abnormal behaviour”, must lie about the alcohol / drug use consumption question,
, I would steer well clear of any of those dilemmas.
Who are you to decide about an MD that he/she would willfuly commit fraud? Who are you to decide that a philosophical discussion about the meaning of life is a sign of mental problems? Who are you to conclude that someone "must lie" during their physical?

If you are serious, talk to a lawyer about your (and the others') legal position if and when you should decide to act on your knowledge, and whether that knowledge will stand up in court in the first place.
I have my doubts.
S76Heavy is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2010, 06:25
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Red Wine:

What would you do if you knew your colleague has a medical deficiency that would disqualify the normal aviator,
Define medical deficiency, a clearly obvious physical impairment - no brainer. However you seem to imply something not visibly obvious by the following:

but due to an old boy network with his favourite medical man, he can retain the appropriate medical level and continue to fly?
So what is the condition that would preclude the correct medical standard and which you seem to think a well paid medical professional would risk his career to hide or ignore?

Equally as important, how would you act, if your colleague was “mentally” questionable? What I mean is that he was displaying those unusable characteristics that made you question his stable mental attitude.
Two years ago I did just that. My buddy and I are good friends and have been for quite number of years. Over a week or so, I realised that he was behaving uncharacteristically. I talked to him about it but he was not being very forthcoming. Later and following medical intervention, he was grounded for some time due to an obscure and not very common problem requiring a serious operation.

I reported the matter to my chief pilot but as I found out later, that was unnecessary because my buddy had already taken the correct steps. Fortunately we are back flying together and he is 'normal' again.

e.g., “talking about the value of life”, “unusual and abnormal behaviour”.
Some of the conversations I have had in the cockpit if recorded, would certainly condemn me to an institution and I am sure you might be able to say the same eh?

And finally, how would you handle your alcoholic or drug addict colleague. He or she who passes the annual medical [must lie about the alcohol / drug use consumption question]. He/she never fronts to the flight line intoxicated, but it’s a known [proven] fact that after knockoff time, they become a blithering mess.
Alcoholism and drug abuse does present tell tale signs that are detectable by a medical professional. Answering questions - well I put it to you that the purpose of the questions is to found a base line from which other inferences are made and which ultimately 'colour' the interpretation of other results.

How would you [or how do you] address this situation?
The overall surrounding circumstances of a situation each have an effect/consequence that forms a reference framework within which a given scenario can be correctly assessed and that in itself will necessarily be subject to variability should one or more of the reference values alter. Without clear definition of the framework all you have is a 'best guess'. You cannot take positive action on that basis without potentially dire results.
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 07:55
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Talk to the guy face to face and express your concerns - it might get you a punch in the face or it might get you an explanation.

He may turn up to work theoretically sober/clean but we all know how a hangover affects mood, judgement and ability.

If he spears in because he is unfit to fly, his livlihood will be the last thing to worry about.

If he really has a drug/alcohol problem he might just be waiting to be found out/confronted about it because he knows what he is doing is wrong.

Sneaking off to tell teacher/the boss is moral cowardice and passing the buck - ask the man yourself, if neccessary tell him others have passed comment and you are worried he might get into trouble - that might get him on your side and more likely to confide.

Good Luck
crab@SAAvn.co.uk is offline  
Old 21st Mar 2010, 05:13
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I feel that I should have been more focused on my statement, rather than a generalisation encompassing a number of scenarios.

We have many systems in place to mitigate the various physical risks and aspects of our demanding profession, however when it comes to the critical group, the pilot him/herself we rely on a half hour chat with medical professionals once or twice a year to be cleared to continue to undertake our profession.

The illness of Human Depression has recently raised its head with a high profile media person suffering this illness for many years until she could not stand her situation any longer.

I have seen two colleagues take the same path, one in the air and one on the ground.

Whilst I don’t wish to rake up the specifics of each case, I question what we as a group of professionals do when confronted with the signs that we know are not normal.

I appreciate it’s a minefield, however to do nothing when the bells start ringing maybe the worst action, but yet we have done just that.

And then to try to do the correct thing and make a mistake, can destroy both yourself and the innocent.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 23:55
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Don't worry, he will thank you so much for making this International.
He knows who he is, but 100 others might think it might be them. I suggest you keep it in house.
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Old 22nd Mar 2010, 08:23
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..........circumstantial speculation...........where would the helicopter pilot community be without it?
JulieAndrews is offline  

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