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Pilot's artificial arm 'became detached while landing plane'

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Pilot's artificial arm 'became detached while landing plane'

Old 14th Aug 2014, 20:59
  #81 (permalink)  
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A professional pilot in the course of his employment encounters a situation that has a potential safety implication. To the Professional pilots I apologise. To the breathless and excitable, I make the following points. It happens to us all. It often happens multiple time in a year. A situation arises that either requires or invites us to make a safety report. We make those reports in the belief that they are going to be read and in some cases acted upon, to improve the overall safety standards of ourselves, our operations and our industry. Outside of the mandatory requirements we make those reports in good faith and in the implicit understanding that they will be constructively used to promote a positive safety culture for everybody concerned.

What we don't expect (and it is a worrying trend,) is that those reports will be hijacked by the entertainment media (and others) in order to ridicule, embarrass, or invite legions of uniformed opinion and crass comment. The danger being that such results only serve to stifle and restrict honest and open reporting.

These are professional pilots forums, and whilst I understand that contribution is not restricted to that demographic, it is still the target audience. I doubt that many of the "ha-ha" comments and "jokes" haven't been heard thousands of times before by individuals who have had to overcome exceptional challenges in their lives to reach the pinnacles of their own careers. It is embarrassing that so many people feel the need to contribute to this thread with little else, even though many have been removed.

This is a report by a professional pilot made as a matter of routine and in a situation where he made a decisive choice out of a number that were available to him. There was no adverse outcome. The report was no doubt intended to help prevent a recurrence of that particular situation. In essence it was little different to any number of similar reports any of us might make about a go-around, a heavy landing, a reduction of separation, or the myriad of other things that we collectively fill thousands and thousands of reports in for, every single year! The Daily Mail doesn't find an element of entertainment in most of those.

It would be sad if we thought twice about the best course of action, or making a report, simply because our decision might be torn apart on PPRuNe by gaggles of folk who really don't have a clue, or if they do, should perhaps, restrain themselves from using the point for a cheap gag!

Whilst it is understandable that the Daily Mail regards this snippet as "News" even though it didn't involve Princess Diana or Immigrants, it is harder to understand why Professional pilots would.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 21:03
  #82 (permalink)  
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Best post on the thread.

Thank you Bealzebub.

Time to lock it mods.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 21:05
  #83 (permalink)  
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Very well said Bealzebub. Could not agree more .
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 21:24
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Agreed bealzebub. It is the sort of ignorant comments seen on this thread that do the most damage and stop an open and honest reporting culture that is essential in our industry.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 21:25
  #85 (permalink)  
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pilots prosthetic arm

I'm sorry to say that I find many of the posts slightly distasteful. I am the first to concede that passenger safety is paramount and in no circumstances must it be ever compromised. The CAA approved and cerified this pilot fit to fly. Whatever happened is obviously unfortunate and should never have occured. It is to be thanked that an accident did not occur. That was mainly down to this pilots decisive skill and I think it wrong that he is the subject of mainly adverse and hysterical media coverage and comment elsewhere. Well done that man.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 21:32
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Of course all kinds of funny thoughts ran through my brain, dimwitted as I am.

Bet the Monty's could make one heck of a skit out of it, might even challenge the cockpit one:"I spy with my little eye.......!"

However, I'd fly with that gent every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Last edited by Diesel8; 14th Aug 2014 at 21:44.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:04
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I don't think the firm landing matters that much. I can certainly say that I'm no 'Ace' and have done a 2.1g touchdown. At the time, we discussed it and did not consider it a heavy landing so did not file a report. The 'phone call came as a bit of a surprise and left me feeling as if I'd tried to dodge an incident of personal and (one hoped) transient incompetence.
I am indebted to those who posted and then drew our attention to the CAA advice to AMEs with reference to 'bits missing' as I previously referred to those with prosthetics.
I admire the determination and skill of those who operate with such a disadvantage which I do not have - and I still manage to make errors.

Nevertheless, as an ex mil and civil pilot, I was surprised to learn that a Class I would be issued in such circumstances.

Edited to say that my view has not been altered by the debate which, now that the mods have cleared abusive contributions, is well worth reading.
I would not be happy to have my family flown in a civil aircraft in which either pilot's prosthetic hand was clamped to the control column. Sorry, Sir, respect and, in your position, I might accept the exception and continue flying but the reported circumstances make it very clear why, as a passenger, I'd be unhappy.

p.s. Yes, I knew about guys with tin legs and eyes missing etc when I was a wee boy.

Last edited by Basil; 14th Aug 2014 at 22:17.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:08
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I haven' read this thread and usually post elsewhere but feel compelled to express support to the pilot, weld done. You deserve you're position, limbs don't cause accidents, actions do!
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:17
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angels 99

you are right, its been over a quarter of a century since I've flown anything with props.

tell us what happens when you add power in the 400. do you lose control?

I placed two objects, one the representative of throttles and the other representative of the yoke. I pushed the "throttles" forward and then moved my hand to the "YOKE". It took less than one second.

Good Luck

Last edited by glendalegoon; 15th Aug 2014 at 00:53.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:33
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You've already lost it if you've only got one arm.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:47
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Just one small difference: Like our one-eyed co-pilot, ACM Walker wasn't flying a civil aircraft with paying passengers on board.
A TACA 737 landed not on a runway, but a levee in New Orleans due to a dual engine failure back in the mid-eighties, the captain that landed the aircraft only had one eye. Everyone got to walk off the Boeing.

I make crap landings with 2 eyes 2 arms and 2 legs ! I say let the man keep flying.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 22:51
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Got my post zapped from here yesterday for quoting from, I think the BBC reporting that the incident "Captain was one of FlyBe's most experienced and trusted pilots."

Anyhow when I was flying for American Airlines, a Captain from the flow-thru process of American Eagle to American Airlines began flying First Officer for AA. He was born with a deformation cause by the medication Thalidomide I was told. He had a stubby nub of knarled finger like appendage near one shoulder with no arm. His opposite arm was quite normal from shoulder thru fingers.
He managed somehow to lean/twist his body and operate throttles and control wheel. I only saw him wearing his FO American Airlines uniform walking thru the DFW terminal. Never had any flights with him, nor did I ever hear ANY complaints by fellow pilots who knew him first hand (no pun intended).
Hey folks, this young man jumped thru the same hoops YOU and I did to get into those airliner flight decks, with many checks and balances along the way.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 23:05
  #93 (permalink)  
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In 2009 I ended up with a cardiac pacemaker and thought my flying days were over. Thanks to a practical and sympathetic approach by the medical department of the CAA, and very thorough analysis and testing, I regained my licence and returned to work. I am subject, quite rightly, to regular testing by the CAA, and am probably one of the least risk pilots on the UK register as a result. How many of you gents and ladies can put your hand on your heart ( no pun intended), and say that you have no hidden medical issues which could affect your ability to operate in a commercial air transport environment? The Class 1 medical is not particularly rigorous, and it is only when a medical issue arises that the full medical spotlight is shone on you. As a result, my company have the benefit of over 20,000 hours experience, and I continue to support my family. The CAA will have thought long and hard about this gentleman's circumstances, and will have come up with an appropriate response, thus preserving the benefits of his experience at the same time as addressing risk factors. As an aside, although I can fly their customers anywhere in the world, the UK insurance industry will not give me holiday travel insurance due to my medical circumstances, despite the fact that their customers are in my care on a daily basis! I am sure that any lessons to be learnt from this occurrence will be taken on board and appropriate adjustments to requirements made.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 23:34
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I've read most of the earlier posts.

I've made my decision.

A guy with a prosthetic arm IMHO should not be flying a commercial pax flight.

Flying is a tactile operation first and foremost, tends to be more so during the T/O and landing phases...


Best to the pilot, but, in all reasonable risk assessment scenarios...

His medic sign off better have good insurance... and may rethink his renewal...
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 00:01
  #95 (permalink)  
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Sky Pilot ... Douglas Bader

Please don't tell us there was a War on, he continued flying after that.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 05:59
  #96 (permalink)  

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Toady and Funfly and anybody else, if you read the extract from the CAA medical site it explains in good detail the requirements for prosthetics being certificated. Please read it before giving simple opinions

And mini, it is not your call, it is up to the certification authorities of the registration countries. In this case it is now EASA and they are quite content to write the regulations for amputees and ensure they are carried out.

The rest is just hot air and un-educated opinions.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 06:58
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Bealzebub - wise words, I find it sad that in todays world so many continue to mock and question a truly professional and experienced pilot who also happens to be very well liked and respected by those who know him. I read earlier that he had been to hell and back with the caa. This is the first known incident in all the years of flying. This guy has achieved so much within his career and i am sure it won't happen again. Unfortunate incident but we all have then.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 07:18
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sensible debate has partly changed my view.

Since the start of this thread I have had plenty of time to consider my opinion on this subject.
I have been swayed in my opinion by the high regard this pilot is held by his colleagues who have seen and been able to judge his flying ability and experience at first hand. (no pun intended)
I would now be happy for me or my family to be flown in an aircraft under the charge of this pilot. I do however still have one concern and that is the prosthetic arm which failed in this situation. I would like the reassurance that this is fully inspected and certified to the same standard as any other mechanical part that is fitted to the aircraft.
I am happy to admit I was partly wrong in my earlier posts and offer my sincere apologies to this obviously highly experienced and respected pilot.

Last edited by cleanair; 15th Aug 2014 at 07:22. Reason: Not checking my awful English grammar.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 08:06
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Yesterdays headlines will be wrapping tomorrows fish and chips. This pilot made the headlines. Nobody got hurt. Nothing got damaged. The interface between his arms and the yoke will certainly be sorted. This pilot and Flybee will make sure of that.

But what worries me as a passenger is still the layout of some commercial cockpits, though some of my friends who fly aircraft with a sidestick instead of a yoke say its not a problem and they like it. The problem to my mind is that as in the case of AF, the guy in the right hand seat cannot see what the guy in LH is doing with the sidestick!

Modification of aircraft controls has come a long way since the Wright brothers used weight shift to control roll. The arrangements can still be improved.
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Old 15th Aug 2014, 08:09
  #100 (permalink)  
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In principal of course you're correct - trimmed aeroplane, smooth day, power on, speed trend on the rise, aircraft pitches up in response to speed change, hand back on yoke, happy pilot.
Reality (in my opinion given I fly the airframe concerned) rough day, 10 feet off the ground, speed slightly decreasing in the latter stages of the flare (no doubt approach flown initially at a sensible margin above vRef, because in that aeroplane you'd be a brave man not to) so aircraft trim probably in practice slightly nose down at this stage, probably with a boot of rudder in to straighten things out and quite a hefty wing down bank angle to maintain centreline.
Suffice to say that in my opinion (and it's only my opinion) your suggested course of action would be somewhat brave. Inevitably these things are split second decisions but had it been me and had I had the ability to pause time and consider my options, in a Q400 in those conditions at that stage of the landing I would not have tried your plan.
I should also add that my experience in jets or larger turboprops is essentially zero, maybe it'd do better in other aircraft but the Dash wouldn't help you out much with your approach.
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