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In flight Pilot suicide

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In flight Pilot suicide

Old 12th May 2007, 00:46
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In flight Pilot suicide

Last night (Fri) a UK TV channel aired a 60 min prog to consider how many civil carrier a/c crashes may have been due to pilot suicide (deliberate action). 8-9 crashes were cited with only one confirmed by radio tx
The NTSB official supported flight cockpit video recorders at a Congressional hearing, rejected by ALPA. Psychological testing within a pilot's medical was considered unworkable by the Industry, despite acceptance & implementation by JAL
The B 737 was involved in several incidents (known control surface probs)
In many cases FDR showed no mech malfunction, CVR was 'ambiguous' and the accident investigation conclusion was 'speculative' or 'conjecture'

Would accident investigation be aided by cockpit video recorder or a more comprehensive digital FDR?
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Old 12th May 2007, 02:01
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Video vs digital FDR

Before the usual hysteria starts about loved ones last moments etc it's a legitimate question. It all comes down to bang for the buck.
Some of the "demand" for this comes from the NTSB and was prompted by a few specific crashes.
One point is expanded digital FDR is happening and uses existing "infrastructure" and a lot of acquired knowledge. I do not think digital FDR was available the two 737 crashes that are suspected rudder events. I'm not sure of the other events you refer to.
In the silk air case it seems someone with knowledge was able to disable the FDR and CVR and presumably would have done the same with a video recorder. I suspect a bit of gum and paper over the lens might become standard preflight if they were installed.
If video were available it will take at least a few crashes to figure out how to optimize the equipment, installation and the use of data. As crashes are relatively rare this will be a long time in providing any real benefit for what is sure to be a significant expenditure. Improved ground radar and signage might be a better place to spend money.
Getting people to stop driving drunk and use their seatbelts would save a lot more lives than cockpit video ever will.
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Old 12th May 2007, 03:30
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It's possible though. The Silk Air flight that went down over Sumatra in Dec97 is still widely considered as pilot suicide, although strongly denied by SIA.
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Old 12th May 2007, 03:31
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Gumdrivers right a piece of gum and paper over the lens would be the 1st thing on the check list,but all jokes apart how many pilots would wear the fact that theres a camera of some sort watching their every move,
If GB can nearly go on strike over a carpark what do you think they're say to this little number ?
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Old 12th May 2007, 04:16
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Egyptair flt990

EA 990 in late 1999, comes to mind, though the craft was the B767.
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Old 12th May 2007, 04:32
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Well,
If they put the cockpit video recorders in, atleast I would have some place to hang my hat!

Cheers
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Old 12th May 2007, 09:55
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The additional stress of having every move recorded and perhaps analysed later with unknown effects on his career, may well push an already sick pilot over the edge.
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Old 12th May 2007, 10:09
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If they put the cockpit video recorders in, atleast I would have some place to hang my hat!
Yes, the video recorder mounting might be too weak to hang your self... But hanging self in flight is perfectly feasible - a passenger managed this, in a toilet. Pilots take toilet breaks too. Then you have the option of poisoning... there are more ways to commit suicide in flight than by crashing the plane. However, the airplane controls are handier...
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 06:52
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I suspect that if it was standard, everyone would quickly forget the camera was there.

Even on the driving school programmes that used to be on tv a couple of years ago, after just 20 minutes the 'players' have clearly forgotten that there's a camera right in front of them.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 07:34
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Unhappy very sad . . . . . . .

There was a case a number of years back of a chap who learned to fly, with the sole aim of committing suicide. Somewhere on the south coast.
To all who met him he was the life and soul of the party, joined in all the club activities, and generally well-liked and respected.

Nobody knew that he had a long, long, history of depressive illness, and several previous suicide attempts. Had a medical with a local AME, but, of course, there is usually very little or no contact between an AME and a candidate's GP .

Lessons went very well, until the day came when he was sent on first solo. Took off, left airfield area, flew out over the sea, and deliberately nosedived in, after transmitting his intentions and his apologies to the TWR on the RT.

Fortunately this kind of thing is very rare indeed.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 07:58
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The truth that no one wants

The unspoken truth is: that you do, or have in the past, slept in the cockpit to increase safety. This is why ALPA, an honorable organization is against this.

The gov is never going to do the right thing in the uneducated eye of the public and admit that NASA studies all point to 70% fewer mistakes in the terminal area when redeye pilots take a 20-45 minute nap enroute. Morons all over the net might be calling for the head of the first gov official who grows a pair and supports this needed improvement to air safety.

You know, and I know that video in the cockpit will greatly increase accident knowledge. But you know, and I know, that management/gov will abuse this info to blackball perceived troublemakers, union ringleaders, etc.

Solution: just like the cockpit voice recorder, make it a federal offense to release the data in anything but an FAA/NTSB/gov investigation of an accident.

No accident?

The crew MUST have the ability to bulk erase the data, like we did on the 30 minute voice recorders.

Suicides? Come now. Exactly how many could their possibly be?

Silk Air
Egypt Air
Attempted JAL DC-8 in Japan
rumour of Colorado Springs 737
do you know of another jet suicide? I don't.

That's about it on jets. Not even a one-one hundred thousand percent of total operations. If the media is so paranoid of Kamikazi pilots crashing them to their deaths, they should force the FAA and Airlines to re-instate the third pilot in the cockpit (S/O, GIB, F/O, etc)

That's what I think.

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Old 24th Jun 2008, 08:42
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Having experienced cockpit video in the simulator where it was used briefly as a training aid to review emergency handling (before it was never used again), it's important to understand it is so useless. Viewed from the back looking down at the pilots, you can see hardly anything effective. It's very dark at night. I am not having one of those things looking into my face- it will end up with a bit of paper blocking it!. A very expensive solution to a problem that is not really there! At the end of the day, it does not 'prevent' anything, it is merely a possible tool in accident investigation. All that bother and expense to not actually achieve anything?
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 10:13
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"Psychological testing within a pilot's medical was considered unworkable by the Industry, despite acceptance & implementation by JAL"

Hardly surprising, Japan have something of a record of pilot suicides.

"Yes, the video recorder mounting might be too weak to hang your self... But hanging self in flight is perfectly feasible - a passenger managed this, in a toilet. Pilots take toilet breaks too."

The problem is not the individual pilot, on a multi crew aircraft, committing suicide, it is when he decides to commit murder as well and take the passengers and the rest of the crew with him.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 10:34
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.... i think the only proven suicide was a royal air maroc (atr42/72 ?) in the early nientees ...
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 10:38
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Talking of ATR-42s, there was also the Botswana incident, round about the year 2000.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 10:47
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i remember i couple of years ago a virgon atlantic flight from london-barbados. The first officer commited suicide when the flight was over, the remaining crew became suspicious when he didnt turn up the next morning.

This guy probably got so low, he couldnt live anymore, but he didnt involve anyone else, which i think was very big of him.


G-STAW
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 11:35
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JAL DC-8 crash Tokyo. Captain attempted suicide or intentional crash.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 12:13
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So you're going back 40 years for examples? Maybe one a decade....which cockpit cameras will do zero to prevent? Scratching a bit, isn't it?
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 13:20
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pacflyer:

Sometime ago, Canada introduced "controlled rest on the flight deck" legislation, making legal what crews have been doing since long-haul commercial flying began. The procedures involved a third person on the flight deck, usually an F/A because one crew member (out of 3) is usually back for the break; It works well and lasts about 20 minutes which is all most need to refresh - through the extensive research one thing isn't recommended and that's anything longer than about an hour as REM sleep begins for some by then and deep-sleep is more difficult to recover from than a nap.

So far as cockpit video recording goes, I can't see it being introduced anytime soon. As mentioned, the quality is terrible especially at night, the screens cannot be read of course but the worst and most concerning aspect of such recordings is, the likes of CNN, Fox News or Sky will do their best to get hold of the recordings for their evening news titillation and entertainment - To be blunt, reality TV has already become prime-time viewing and broadcasting an accident from the cockpit would simply make producers and advertisers drool in anticipation of the audience numbers.

We in Canada have long made it illegal to access the CVR information by other than trained investigors of the TSB; even that has been breached by the courts in a recent case. We have attempted to make access to the DFDR and FOQA QARs also illegal but so far have been unsuccessful. Pilots have every right to such privacy with the obvious exception of investigations of incidents and accidents but that's it. There isn't any way, ever, that flight crews trust or ever would trust the media, the lawyers and the politicians with such information. Although the utility of such recordings is obvious in terms of accident investigaton, (and like some here, I have had my sim sessions recorded for immediate review afterwords, and frankly the tool is an excellent learning one), neither the number of suspected cases nor the high risk of inappropriate use can justify the installation.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 14:10
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I've found them useless, with very little information other than what the CVR gives you. All you see are heads moving and arms reaching out. I think I would take great delight in putting a dab of vaseline on the lens. They are intrusive. The trust has already been breached with playing CVR tapes for public titillation. They are not having me on image as well....period.
The promise was these investigative tools were for accident investigation by accident investigators ONLY. They let us down with CVRs. They simply are not going to have the chance with video.
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