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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 3rd Apr 2015, 22:23
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It would seem that this is now on the verge of turning into a medical malpractice issue. I wonder if the 5 doctors together have enough insurance to get LH group out of their 300m+ problem.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 22:36
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Diagnosis?

How many of you have been through a mental evaluation?

You can't "measure" some magical indicator, right? An opinion is made based on a series of questions basically. If someone wanted to hide their true feelings, be they depression, mania, psychosis... whatever, they easily can.

Only people who "want" to be helped will answer truthfully. When your job is on the line that isn't likely to happen is it?

I fear all this claptrap talk of "testing" has imaginary outcomes that reveals the "truth". Sadly that's not how it works. Sorry, but that's reality.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 22:42
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Originally Posted by Ollie Onion
Do you exclude everyone who had clinical depression in the past and has recovered according to all the available evidence?
If someone is fully recovered than should pass the examination with any problems, right?
You say pilots should be checked every year, what do you think will happen if you start checking pilots every year with the threat of dismissal if they are found to be depressed? I suspect you will end up driving this condition further underground or triggering MORE of these episodes.
Fear of test can't lead to depression. If so, than it's an evidence that person is unsuitable with stressful environment like flying an airliner.
Also most loss of licence policies will NOT pay out on mental disorders so the whole think encourages pilots to just keep quiet.
Yes they may not want to admit it.
So the company needs to check it forcedly.


Originally Posted by mercurydancer
Reactive depression is very common and it is likely to affect many people. Reactive depression is a very frequent result of normal life events, such as a parent or partner (or even worse, a child) dying. A good occupational health service of any employer should have the mechanisms to deal with this. If they do not, then they should.
Ok, I should expand my list with temporary ban on flying
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 22:49
  #3044 (permalink)  
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An opinion is made based on a series of questions basically.
When I was seriously, deeply, clinically depressed, I was told by the examining Psychiatrist that I was "as sane as he was".

I still don't know whether that was a compliment.

And yes, at some stage I was about to commit suicide - but that is no longer a possibility.

And for those who doubt my intentions, I had written notes, rigged the rope, and was standing on the branch of the tree . . .

There were reasons for my contemplation, the depression was part of the result of those reasons - but not the whole cause.
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Old 3rd Apr 2015, 23:52
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In the last 30 years the term "Depression" has come to mean anything from the down feeling you have, when your football team loses, to Paranoid Schizophrenia in the mental health field. It is probably not productive to paint everyone with Depression with the same brush when screening pilots and other professions where public safety is involved.

Rather than changing everything, the Airline Industry and it's regulators should start by finding out exactly what was wrong with Lubitz and why he "slipped through the cracks" and got a commercial pilots license. Then, they should decide what specific changes should be made to stop the specific type of instance of another Lubitz obtaining a license. This way, you minimize the chances of The Law of Unintended Consequences and a bureaucratic boondoggle rearing their ugly heads.

Last edited by Buzz Coil; 4th Apr 2015 at 04:52. Reason: Added punctuation
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 00:09
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I'm wondering why there are so many deniers here on this site, many of whom seem to be professional pilots? There must be some collective motive or reason.


Now that the data recorder information is beginning to be officially released, most reasonable doubts must become somewhat dispelled.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 01:21
  #3047 (permalink)  
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I've wondered about posting this story for a long time. Perhaps now is that time. Fourty-five years ago my fleet manager practically jumped out of his seat and shouted at me. Stop! You can't talk about a captain like that! If you want to say things like that you'll have to appoint a QC and do it in high court.

I had pleaded with him to ground a captain that had joined us some months before. It was my job, I was a 'training FO', one that flew with new captains until they'd done 500 hours. Mostly it was fun, and indeed appreciated, but this supposedly retired captain had seemed odd right from the beginning. The flight leading up to that 'interview' was beyond bizarre. It was my last flight with that airline. Probably the best job I ever had. But I'd had weeks with this bullish creature and enough was enough. I had two months leave stacked up and I told them that was my notice. I had already talked to the PALPA rep, the chief training captain, and almost anyone that would listen. Nobody did anything - at least that I know of.

Imagine advising the skipper as he climbed into his seat that the checks were not done (due to no APU and no ground power.) Why not, he bellowed as he lit the first engine. The checks were not done and the brakes were not on. We had no start clearance and our lass charged into the flight deck and said people were still coming up the ventral air-stairs. It was a 1-11 with engines just feet from their heads. In a few years I could have shut the HP cocks and de-planed the pax, but things were different then. But I wish to God I had.

As we were taxiing out, I noticed a hint of fuel in the centre tank. Nothing unusual for a while, but on takeoff it seemed to be showing about 200kgs. The aircraft was going nowhere on that 32c Rome day. I was not authorized to abandon a takeoff, but advised him and firewalled the taps. He said nothing. He very often said nothing. As we staggered past the Coliseum, I was numbed to see a tonne of fuel in the centre tank. By the time were were established in a climb it registered full. We were three tonnes over-weight on a 39 tonne aircraft. He said nothing when finally he did the paperwork.

When we arrived in the UK, I shouted down for no one to touch the fuel panel. To my everlasting relief, and with an engineer to witness the opening, I saw the centre tank selected to zero. I thought I knew the electrics on that aircraft to the last resistor, but it seems refueling on battery can fool the system. To this day I have never had that confirmed.

All this followed weeks of being with someone that was obviously an alcoholic and too strange to be put into any category. A very senior captain, and I thought, a friend, said to me, "You know, Robbie, I let the fact he was an ex XXX captain sway me when I passed him." Even he did nothing.

This was perhaps the worst of dozens of things I had to cope with in that period, but many were just as bewildering. "What's that?" he said, pointing to the DME. "it's our DME distance from XXXX" "What's DME? We had Decca in XXX." Every departure from base was a series of DME turns.

Now comes the part that this is all about. Years later, a different life it seemed, and I was in a garden party in my Essex home town. My host's wife said she wanted me to meet her old boss. He'd been fleet manager of the 1-11 fleet. He seemed a really nice chap, very sharp etc. When I mentioned my Nemesis' name, he was surprised. "How do you know him?" When I told him I stormed out of a good job because of his bizarre behavior, he looked stunned, and said, "Don't tell me that man flew again!"

I learned a little of why he was 'retired'. Shame he wasn't grounded. Alcoholic and probably much worse. They tried to help him, but he was a lost cause. Shame. My life would have been very, very different if he'd just stayed retired.


But now, here's a thing. He was deranged, of that there is no doubt, but it was my senior colleges that leave me numbed to this day. The behaviour of my fleet manager was so unexplainable that it is difficult to know how these things happened, even in that era. Once, a well known training skipper relinquished his seat to a very quiet chap that was the fleet manager's 'secretary.' The skipper went down the back and was chatting to the girls. He did that a lot. We were descending past 4,000' when I got a clear view of the fields north of Munich. He had decided to pull against the autopilot until it snapped out. He then pushed. I was managing the usual bad air system and looking up. We pulled about 1.5 g. Maybe more. No one said a word. He had no type rating and I learned later, no time on twins. Probably 300 pages would describe that year, but lets fast forward to c 1999.

I announced to a crew that I was going for a job interview. I was invited to sit on the jump-seat. Top of climb, young skipper goes down the back to chat to the girls. Nothing changed then. I was invited to sit in his seat. He reached across and clicked the autopilot out. "You fly it. If my five year old can fly it, anyone can."

I had not flown a glass flight-deck, but it seemed fairly straightforward. It was kind of surreal, I looked down as saw the Red Arrows three miles or so below. I reached for the trim wheel. Mmmm . . . there wasn't one. For the whole cruise I didn't dare fiddle with the trim button . . . just in case. The FO finally communicated with me. He held up on finger. Ah, that rings a distant bell. Take box one. Okay, it's been many years, but I think I can do that. I later learned the FO didn't really speak English. Not really speak it.

This is just the things that might be relevant now. I can't forget wrenching the controls out of the hands of a chap that had turned the wrong way in the Innsbruck valley. The turn, by necessity was past 60 degrees. I was just a kid then, and my only thought was. "I hope to God I'm right."

I think the whole point of this is that the sick person in the seat on one horrific day is just one part of the spectrum. In my experience, management has been consistent, in it failure to ensure safety, and worse still, it's failure to act honorably. It has been a long and painful learning experience learning about people, but there it is. The truth is so often hard to, not accept, but to admit.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 02:01
  #3048 (permalink)  
 
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And yes, at some stage I was about to commit suicide - and for those who doubt my intentions, I had written notes, rigged the rope, and was standing on the branch of the tree . . .
You could also have contemplated driving a car into a bus shelter with people to ensure your suicide was reported on the news if you were an egocentric sociopath that Lubitz obviously was. The fact that you had no thoughts of murder-suicide implies you would never contemplate deliberately crashing an airplane and taking the lives of passengers. I agree with others that pilots with depression shouldn't be banned from flying if they still care about their own safety and the safety of their passengers. However, no pilots should be allowed to be entrusted with the safety of passengers if they have no empathy for other humans which can be uncovered in testing for sociopathy traits.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 05:57
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may I ask if the Lufthansa Acadamy is the same as was set up in the 60's ? Highly selected young men & women were selected and trained and PAID FOR in order to join the sponsoring Airline, or, has the Acadamy developed into the commercial world where so called "Cadets", in fact, pay for their own training & not, therefore, subjected to the rigorous criteria of the past ?
It is not the 60s anymore, but the academy is basically still the same although conditions have slightly changed. The selection process is still very strict and the training is paid for by Lufthansa, however, the cadet does have to pay back some of the training cost once he has got a job with a Lufthansa company, but there is no loan to take out at all. Currently the selection is a selection done in three steps (BU or basic tests, FQ or company qualification and company medical), however it is possible to fail at several points during those steps.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 07:10
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Workplace Homicide

Since this is a website oriented towards Professional Pilots, is it time yet to begin discussing how we should be able to go to work with the expectation that we will not become victims of workplace homicide? You know, the same expectation assumed by all of the other posters to this thread in whatever workplace they go to.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 07:25
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Time for Video recording cockpits

Noalign, your post prompted me to write.

In this thread there have been a few posts suggesting video recording in cockpits and this has been widely and strongly resisted by posters - many of whom I assume to be pilots.

We have also had numerous stories about dysfunctional cockpit relationships and bad behaviour, often accompanied by statements to the effect that the individuals concerned had been or are powerless to change this. They were either not believed or not taken seriously.

My contention is that video recording should be standard and should be routinely kept for weeks or months so they can be made available to support later review of cockpit behaviour. They could be used to support allegations of 'bullying' by the captain or other, less easily defined undesirable behaviour that may be indicative of another problem when viewed over a longer period (e.g. I find it somewhat unlikely that Lubitz never displayed any unusual behaviour before this incident).

I am purely SLF but have an abiding interest in all things aviation and do a lot of flights each year so have a vested interest in the safety of civil aviation generally!

We have heard how surgeons in some areas are required to work with video recording active. I once worked for a company that mines and sells diamonds and, although the office buildings I was in presented minimal threat to the safety of people in them we were continually being video recorded and monitored (except for a few places like the bathrooms!)

Video recordings do not serve a punitive purpose only - they tell the story of what happened only and can be used to defend good or positive behaviour as well, for example when wrongly accused of bullying by the FO.

So, why the resistance to the cameras by professional pilots? Video recordings, and a suitable reporting and oversight environment around it, could save lives.

Last edited by RGN01; 4th Apr 2015 at 07:33. Reason: Amended to add the point about videos having defensive value
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 07:34
  #3052 (permalink)  
 
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Second black box contents were not 'leaked'. They were reported. As fact.
FD crew should be ready for greater scrutiny.
Mentally fit for flight?
No 'pilot error', regardless of what they face?
SLF, who pay for them to do what they do, and place Full Trust in them to get it right; each and every time, have a right to expect this.
Or perhaps, a genuine airline pilot, might wish to tell me that I am wrong.
Get real, guys, and smell the flowers. Accountability is coming. Or at least, I fervently hope it is.
Pilots are always held accountable.
By definition the PIC has the ultimate responsibility for every flight.
If you don't trust the pilots you are completely free to choose other transportation methods.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 07:58
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xollob, indeed. Pilots are no more accountable than bus drivers, train drivers and ship's captains. Let's just drop this precious and illogical argument against video cameras. It is time to wake up and accept that we are just another cog in the big gear of like.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 07:59
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The spy in the cab (FD) is seen as a way to 'hang the guilty b*****d'

The spy can also exonerate. In a road traffic accident it proved the obvious suspect was wholly innocent. In the cockpit it can prove all the correct actions were taken. In a tight situation the pilot's hands never left the yoke (joke warning )

Then think on of the dozens of aircraft where the cockpit door doesn't even exist.

Helicopter operations to oil rigs, sight seeing tours, light aircraft etc all have the ability to be crashed. The only difference is their kinetic effect compared with a large airliner. The door is clearly an irrelevance as regards pilot suicide and passenger safety.

What is different is the kinetic effect rather than the number of passengers. Those therefore calling the locked door as irrelevant and a CC in the FD increasing the danger from the kinetic risk are logically correct.

Pilot screening might mitigate the threat from suicide but would the cure be worse than the bite? More medical s, better compensation etc would drive up costs, reduce passenger numbers which would drive up costs which would . . .

Or would the majority accept the risk?
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 08:11
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Buzzcoil

Not in the mental health field, by the public perhaps.

Depression is not feeling low because you've had a bad day or because your team loses. No one with any level of competence is going to give you a diagnosis because of that. Reactive depression is sustained low mood that impacts on your ability to function following a significant life event, when the expected amount of time to recover has long since passed but one cannot return to normal functioning. Clinical depression is sustained low mood that impacts on your ability to function but with no particular cause-it just happens and it is very difficult to shift without treatment theraputic or medicinal.

Paranoid schizophrenia is a whole other kettle of fish and should inhibit a career in flying, the former shouldn't. Again no mental health professional worth their salt is going to think they are the same. Even if you gave a layperson the diagnostic criteria, the checklist is vastly different.

I can get why the public is confused, primarily due to irresponsible reporting by the media.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 08:18
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"I think every serious airline company need to have internal
examination system to prevent from flying people with mental problems".


Good idea, but it's not enough.
The authorities & airline managements must have full access to a pilots,
* financial situation, (mortgage, debts, gambling history)
* marital situation, (married, divorced, separated, dependants)
* personal health history and that of all family members
* lifestyle choices, (gay, cross dresser, transgender, hellfire club membership)
* traffic violations
It's our employers right to know everything about their workers to determine their fitness to fly.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 08:24
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Good idea, but it's not enough.
The authorities & airline managements must have full access to a pilots,
* financial situation, (mortgage, debts, gambling history)
* marital situation, (married, divorced, separated, dependants)
* personal health history and that of all family members
* lifestyle choices, (gay, cross dresser, transgender, hellfire club membership)
* traffic violations
It's our employers right to know everything about their workers to determine their fitness to fly.
Good point.
As a pilot then, it is my right to know everything about the management and their decisions, to make sure that the company that I work for doesn't end up bankrupt or else and I lose my job.
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 08:36
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Yes, by regular intense scrutiny it may be possible to pick up another Lubitz before he does it.

At the price of driving all the sane pilots nuts or away.

Mac

[Just like with Shipman]

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Old 4th Apr 2015, 09:04
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Interesting article by those professionals whose job it probably will be to assess us in the future.

Especially the following paragraphs point at the core problem, the inability to really test for later mental issues.

"EFPA and EAAP underline that psychological assessment and human factors training are among the elements that make aviation the safest form of transport around the world. Together with technical and operational measures they ensure that catastrophic events, like the crash of flight 4U 9525, are highly exceptional. Also, the selection of pilots in Germany, as conducted by DLR, meets the highest professional standards.

Psychological assessment before entry to flight training and before admission to active service by an airline can help to select pilots who are mentally and emotionally prepared for the work and who can handle stressors effectively.

However, it cannot forecast the life events and mental health problems occurring in the life of each individual pilot and the unique way he or she will cope with these."
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Old 4th Apr 2015, 09:12
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"I think every serious airline company need to have internal
examination system to prevent from flying people with mental problems".


Good idea, but it's not enough.
The authorities & airline managements must have full access to a pilots,
* financial situation, (mortgage, debts, gambling history)
* marital situation, (married, divorced, separated, dependants)
* personal health history and that of all family members
* lifestyle choices, (gay, cross dresser, transgender, hellfire club membership)
* traffic violations
It's our employers right to know everything about their workers to determine their fitness to fly.
Actually, i could live with that. However, all that information, from everyone who has the right to ever enter a flight deck, has to be available to those that control entry to the flightdeck anyway, the pilots. Dunno about other companies, in my outfit everyone on the operational side of the airline will at some point or another enter the flightdeck. So every pilot, flight attendant, maintenance engineer, everyone from documentation, crew planning, control, revision (they do jumpseat flights), operations office, flight planning, network operation center, the whole management, auditors from the authority, partner airlines, IATA, every crew member of any airline worldwide (as those are allowed to jumpseat) and so on.

Sadly, that will make it impossible, so we have to rely on our judgement, as usual.
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