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Air Canada co-pilot falls ill during flight

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Air Canada co-pilot falls ill during flight

Old 29th Jan 2008, 07:15
  #1 (permalink)  
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Air Can diverts due F/O "Ill"

from Irish newspaper


Flight diverted after co-pilot fell ill
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 07:39

An international flight travelling from Canada had to be diverted to Shannon Airport after a crew member in the cockpit fell ill.

The flight was on route from Toronto to London yesterday when it was forced to land.

The co-pilot was taken to a psychiatric hospital in the mid-west.


All 300 passengers were accommodated in a local hotel until a new crew arrived at Shannon.

The plane later travelled onwards to London
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 07:16
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Air Canada co-pilot falls ill during flight

I hope he is ok,

http://www.independent.ie/national-n...e-1276356.html


MORE than a hundred passengers aboard an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London were forced to divert to Shannon yesterday after the co-pilot suffered what appeared to be a nervous breakdown in mid-air.


Officials at Shannon Airport last night confirmed that the male co-pilot was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the Ennis General Hospital in Co Clare yesterday after he was forcibly taken off the flight by fellow crew members and an off-duty member of the Canadian Armed Forces who assisted in restraining him.

Air Canada flight AC848, en route from Toronto's Pearson International Airport to London Heathrow, was diverted to Shannon with less than an hour to go before reaching its intended destination after the co-pilot began "acting in a peculiar manner and was talking loudly to himself," during the transatlantic crossing, according to aviation sources.

The Boeing 767-333 series jet, carrying 149 passengers, including three infants, landed safely at Shannon shortly before 8am yesterday where a medical doctor and ambulance crew were waiting to attend to the co-pilot.

Stunned passengers, some of whom are believed to have witnessed the bizarre scene, were taken to local hotels to await a replacement cabin crew in order to continue their journey on to London.

Air traffic controllers at Shannon were notified by the captain that his colleague was "unwell" and he required permission to divert the flight to seek medical attention.

Psychiatric

Officials from the Health Service Executive (HSE) said the co-pilot was assessed at the scene before being taken to the Acute Psychiatric Unit at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Ennis for further assessment.

He remained at the unit last night but the HSE refused to comment on his condition.

An airport spokesman confirmed that the "medical diversion" took place but there was no official emergency declared by the pilot.

"The plane diverted to Shannon after a cockpit crew member became unwell. The first officer was taken to hospital and the passengers were taken to local hotels," he said.

Air Canada ordered a replacement crew from London which arrived around noon yesterday and passengers continued on their journey to London, arriving close to eight hours behind schedule at 4:15pm yesterday.

Shirley Mah, spokeswoman for the state-owned airline, did not return phone calls on the incident yesterday.

However, the company said in a written statement last night: "The captain and crew of AC 848 followed standard operating procedures in light of the co-pilot falling ill. The captain elected to divert to Shannon and landed without incident. At no time was safety compromised."

The airline refused comment on the nature of his illness except to say: "The flight was met by medical personnel and the individual is now in hospital care. We do not provide additional details of a personal nature."

It is understood the incident will be investigated by Air Canada and the Transportation Safety Board in Canada which is responsible for regulating airlines and investigating aviation accidents in that country.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 10:09
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I wish the fellow a speedy and full recovery. However, I'm surprised that this is not getting more PPRuNe attention than it is. Just like a recent accident, this incident asks a lot of questions. It would be interesting to see the final report to this event too. I'm not talking about details of the poor chap's illness but aspects of early identification, possible prevention and eventual safety.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 10:54
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Yeah I could see a first officer not wanting to speak out loudly about signs of something like that if he/she saw it in the captain, but the other way around?

Surely he must have given off some signs...
Bit worrying really.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 11:47
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I'll add my good thoughts for the pilot involved.

However, I'll add that it must have been a very unpleasant experience for the Captain involved. I had a similar episode once with a co-worker who suddenly started acting very strangely (it eventually turned out to be manic depressive disorder) and it was totally un-nerving for me and all the others he encountered. It was bad enough at ground level--I can only imagine how it must have been on a small flight deck at 30,000 feet.

As for advance signs, all I can say is that in the case of my colleague, one minute we were discussing an electronic wiring issue and the next he was claiming to be Jesus Christ and offering to perform miracles for his friends. There was no warning.

Bobbsy
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 11:53
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Its pretty close on flying time , but did they have a third pilot/international relief officer?

I've always felt that airlines don't do a complete and adequate job of analyzing the psyche of perspective pilots...and protecting the mental health of pilots during their careers.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 12:37
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Relief Officer not required by Transport Canada. They say we don't get tired until after 14 hours no matter what time of day our flight departs at.
We are machines you know!
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 13:23
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Relief Officer not required by Transport Canada. They say we don't get tired until after 14 hours no matter what time of day our flight departs at.

FOURTEEN hours

You're kidding right? Is there any particular reasoning behind this? No wonder this guy lost it. Wish him a speedy recovery. Good job to the captain.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 14:03
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According to this gentleman, the F/O had to be restrained.

I wonder if the captain had any help arriving SNN??

cod
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 14:36
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Work and rest

It is is tempting to sell productivity (in terms of hard earned extra pilot agreements of the past) for a new pay or pension deal.

The result can be a two pilot operation on sectors of 10 to 12 hours or more.

This can lead to a creeping fatigue that builds up over the work pattern.

A pilot with stress (domestic or otherwise and sometimes difficult to detect when it is yourself) is already headed for a breakdown.

He is like a teapot that is nearly full of domestic stress and / or relationship problems before he starts. Add to this lack of sleep and fatigue because of a two crew operation and then the teapot overflows ... a classic nervous breakdown when irrational behaviour starts to happen.... the flow is reversed.

Airlines need to consider duty hours and crewing very carefully.

Retired 747 P1
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 15:33
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Confused re duty day remarks. The sked time for the flight is only 7hr20mins plus of course pre and post departure crew time. Are the flights operated by other carriers between YYZ & LHR operating with 3 person cockpit crews as one could assume by some of the previous posts?
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 15:51
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Consecutive 11 to 12 hour, multi-sector duty days are not uncommon in this business so why would AC need 3 crew for the single leg, Toronto to London?
Illness, in any shape or form is liable to occur at any time in any given percentage of the population. So why are people surprised when it occurs to a pilot? I know we are treated like tireless machines but we are just as human as the next man. Screening or whatever you want to call it is only as good as the last assessment session and hence, virtually pointless.
Stresses build up within people for any number of reasons and we all handle them differently. This poor guy apparently had enough stress to tip him over his personal control threshold. His inability to deal with it in this instance should not condemn him to be pilloried by the media and certainly not by us here on PPRuNe. Leave him alone; next time it might be you.
I hope he gets better soon. With proper treatment and perhaps some appropriate medication, I trust he will.
Dr Rubik
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 16:31
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It's a real Catch 22 in the flying business. If you're not feeling well mentally and seek medical help, you're out of work until you can prove to the feds that your disability was transient. If some shrink pens a diagnosis, however speculative, your career may well be over.

Over the years I've know a few colleagues that have had mental issues. Some returned to flying, most did not.

If your poor mental state can somehow be blamed on drugs or alcohol, you may have some job protection in the U.S. under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

There was a similar inflight crew mental issue on QF months ago:

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=251530
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 16:35
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Very sad incident altogether, even more unfortunate in that the FO felt he was unable to bring whatever is problems were to the attention of his manager or at least the captain on the day.
Does AC operate a confidential counselling service for its crew such as BA's Crewcare?
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 16:51
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As a physician, I would just like to remind everyone that there are plenty of medical conditions that can mimic psychiatric illness and cause bizarre behaviour such as metabolic encephalopathy due to diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease etc., infectious causes such as encephalitis, brain tumors or temporal lobe seizures.

I am surprised that the chap was taken directly to a psych facility without metabolic and organic causes being excluded.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 17:26
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Does AC operate a confidential counselling service for its crew such as BA's Crewcare?
Yes. AC is an absolutely first class responder with long-established employee health programs and policies.

I wish the pilot well and hope for a speedy recovery. Clearly, asking for names here is entirely inappropriate.

Canadian Flight Time and Duty Day regulations are draconian.

Domestically, a fourteen-hour duty day with two pilots is legal.

Where a bunk is provided and the flight is augmented by one pilot, (to 3 pilots), a duty day of 20 hours is legal in Canada and if there are "unforeseen circumstances", (as seen by the bean counters...?), a duty day of 23 hours is legal in Canada.

Here are the Standards for Flight Time and Duty Day Regulations from the CARS (Canadian Air Regulations -Standards):

DIVISION II - STANDARDS FOR FLIGHT TIME AND FLIGHT DUTY TIME LIMITATIONS AND REST PERIODS

720.15 Flight Time Limitations
The standards for increasing the flight time limitations for flight crew members are:

(1) Where the flight is conducted under Subpart 2 or 3 of Part VII of the Canadian Aviation Regulations or with a deHavilland DHC-6 aircraft not conducting a scheduled passenger service or with a helicopter not conducting a scheduled passenger service or heli-logging, for any 6 non-overlapping periods of 30 consecutive days within a 365 consecutive day period, the maximum flight time in any aircraft shall not exceed:

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(a) where the flight crew member conducts single-pilot IFR operations, 8 hours in any 24 consecutive hours;

(b) 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days;

(c) 150 hours in any 30 consecutive days;

(d) 210 hours in any 42 consecutive days;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(e) 450 hours in any 90 consecutive days;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(f) 900 hours in any 180 consecutive days;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(g) the accumulated 30-consecutive day, 42-consecutive day and 90 consecutive day flight times may be reset to zero if the flight crew member is provided with at least 5 consecutive days free from all duty;
and

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(h) 1200 hours in any 365 consecutive days.

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(2) For heli-logging operations, the maximum flight time in all flying shall not exceed:

(a) 120 hours in any 30 consecutive days for single-pilot helicopters;

(b) 150 hours in any 30 consecutive days for helicopters operated by two pilots; and

(c) 1,200 hours in any 365 consecutive days.

720.16 Flight Duty Time Limitations and Rest Periods

The standards for increasing the flight duty time limits for flight crew members are:

(1) Where the flight is conducted under Subpart 2 or 3 of Part VII of the Canadian Aviation Regulations or with a deHavilland DHC-6 aircraft not conducting a scheduled passenger service, or with a helicopter not conducting a scheduled passenger service or heli-logging, for the 6 non-overlapping periods of 30 consecutive days referred to in subsection 720.15(1), the maximum flight duty time may be extended to 15 consecutive hours if:

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(a) the minimum rest period is increased by 1 hour; or

(b) the maximum flight time does not exceed 8 hours in any 24 consecutive hours.

(2) Where the flight is conducted under Subpart 4 or 5 of Part VII of the Canadian Aviation Regulations using an aircraft other than a helicopter, and the flight crew is augmented by the addition of at least one fully qualified flight crew member, flight duty time may be extended to 15 consecutive hours if:

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(a) the additional flight crew member occupies a flight deck observer seat during take-offs and landings unless the observer seat is required by an air carrier inspector, in which case, a passenger seat must be available for the flight crew member; and

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(b) the subsequent minimum rest period is increased by at least 2 hours.

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(3) Where a flight crew is augmented by the addition of at least one flight crew member, the division of duty and rest is balanced between the flight crew members and a flight relief facility is provided, flight duty time may be extended if:

(a) where a flight relief facility - seat is provided, the flight duty time may be extended to 17 consecutive hours, in which case the maximum flight deck duty time for any flight crew member shall be 12 hours;

(b) where a flight relief facility - bunk is provided, the flight duty time may be extended to 20 consecutive hours, in which case the maximum flight deck duty time for any flight crew member shall be 14 hours;

(c) the subsequent minimum rest period shall be at least equal to the length of the preceding flight duty time; and

(d) a maximum of 3 sectors may be completed.

(4) Where a flight crew is augmented by the addition of at least one flight crew member in accordance with subsections (2) or (3), the total flight time accumulated during the flight shall be logged by all flight crew members for the purposes of calculating the maximum flight times in section 700.15 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

(amended 1998/09/01; previous version)
(5) Where the flight is conducted under Subpart 2 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations in aerial application operations, the maximum flight duty time may be extended for a split flight duty assignment provided that:

(a) the total flight duty time shall not exceed 14 hours in 24 consecutive hours;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(b) rest periods that allow a total of at least 9 hours opportunity to sleep in 24 consecutive hours shall be taken in suitable accommodation;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(c) one of these rest periods shall allow at least 5 consecutive hours opportunity to sleep between 20:00 and 06:00 local time; and

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(d) the flight crew member shall receive at least 5 periods of 24 consecutive hours free from duty within each 30 consecutive days.

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)

720.17 Unforeseen Operational Circumstances
The standards for compliance with this section are:

(1) Flight duty time and flight time limitations may be extended by up to 3 consecutive hours provided that:

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(a) where flight duty time is extended, the subsequent minimum rest period shall be increased by an amount at least equal to the extension to the flight duty time;

(amended 1998/03/23; previous version)
(b) the pilot-in-command shall notify the air operator, in accordance with procedures outlined in the company operations manual, of the length of and the reason for the extension;

(c) the air operator shall retain the notifications until the completion of the next Department of Transport audit; and

(d) the air operator shall notify the Minister as soon as practicable.

(2) Flights shall be planned to be completed within the maximum flight time and maximum flight duty time taking into account the time necessary for pre-flight and post-flight duties, the flight or series of flights, forecast weather, turn-around times and the nature of the operation.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 18:44
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Does AC operate a confidential counselling service for its crew such as BA's Crewcare?
BA's Crewcare is for cabin crew, pilot's are specifically excluded. There is no company equivalent for pilots.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 18:55
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Air Canada co-pilot falls ill during flight

I fail to see why some are so terribly offended at any question about the identity of the person. Beyond the fact that this web site by title alone concerns the "rumour mill", are these same persons who are so terribly offended equally appaled when the name of an accused person charged with a crime and all of his/her personal details are splashed across every media outlet regardless of any verdict having been rendered? Is that not much worse than identifying someone who apparently has control or partial control over the lives of dozens of innocent persons up in the clouds and has to be physically removed from the aircraft due to a serious mental illness, even if episodic? I do not understand. Nobody asked for the fellow's life history; nobody suggested he is a criminal or a bad person; nobody suggested that he not be given treatment and best wishes for the rest of his career. But I challenge one person to say he/she would not want to know that the person in the cockpit of his/her plane had a nervous breakdown in mid-air causing the plane to land immediately, even if alleged. Just my opinion.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 18:56
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bravo to the doctor for mentioning physical problems that mimic mental illness.

low blood sugar or ultra high blood sugar might be a problem ...diabetes is becoming more prevelent at a younger age.

a quick urine drip for sugar etc is not much of a test once or twice a year...

they should do a1ch blood tests.

maybe he ate the fish? ;-0

while it probably wasn't of the same intensity, do we all remember the egyptair crash?

we must, as pilots, take care of ourselves...even if it means more money from the management.

honest, reliable, disability plans, make it easier to report a grounding item, instead of hiding it.
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Old 29th Jan 2008, 21:05
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Angel

Poor guy, wait until they release him out of care in Ennis, County Clare...he'll end up in some bar drinking Black Stuff in a pint glass, over and over, and telling anyone who will listen his story.
Hope he recovers well, and enjoys the rest in the west of Ireland. Sure, he'll be grand.
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