Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Delta pilot indicted for lying about mental health on FAA medical form

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Delta pilot indicted for lying about mental health on FAA medical form

Old 18th Sep 2018, 17:44
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,898
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Delta pilot indicted for lying about mental health on FAA medical form

In the wake of the 2015 Germanwings tragedy pilot mental health continues to be in the public spotlight. Will Delta bring back the rocking chair?

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Delta pilot accused of lying about mental health issues to keep flying

By Leon Stafford, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 17, 2018

A Delta Air Lines pilot from Fayette County has been indicted on charges he misled government officials about his mental health so he could keep flying.

Adam Asleson, 39, of Peachtree City, is accused of
falsifying Federal Aviation Administration medical records required to obtain airman medical certificates, critical to determining a pilot’s fitness to fly aircraft.

The FAA alleges that Asleson, who joined Delta in 2017 according to his Facebook page, omitted that he had sought help from the Department of Veterans Affairs for what the indictment described as a “major depressive disorder.” Instead, Asleson, who had been a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, is said to have told the agency he received the VA disability benefits for knee strain and tinnitus.

Asleson’s attorney could be immediately reached for comment.

Delta said in a statement that Asleson is no longer actively flying for the carrier.“Delta pilots are held to the highest standards of professionalism, honesty and integrity,” spokeswoman Catherine Simmons said. “Once made aware of the situation, we opened an internal investigation and are working cooperatively with the authorities.”

The indictment came as the FAA has begun to compare VA records with pilot information to avoid the possibility of having someone at the controls who has had mental health issues. The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 in 2015 put a spotlight on mental health after the plane’s co-pilot, who had been treated for suicidal tendencies and had been ruled unfit to work but kept the diagnosis secret, intentionally
crashed a plane into a mountainside in the Alps.

Asleson is one of four airline pilots from across the nation indicted in August in U.S. District Court in San Francisco for making false statements to the FAA in their medical certificates paperwork.

The four men, who are receiving disability benefits from the VA for mental health issues, are accused of neglecting to disclose information that would have disqualified them from operating aircraft.

Asleson was arrested Aug. 28 and released on a $10,000 bond, according to records.

The indictment did not name the disorder from which Asleson allegedly suffers.

Asleson is set for a first appearance Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted.

Staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this story.


https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/delta-pilot-accused-lying-about-mental-health-issues-keep-flying/x9NZ6v6ufqewPaQRC8QpGL/

If he was arrested in August he may have still been on first year probation from a picture posted September 13, 2017 of him getting his Delta wings in front of B-762 N102DA:



The FAA media release naming Aselson and three others indicted for submitting false medical details:

August 23, 2018

Four Pilots Charged with Lying to the FAA

On August 23, the U.S. District Court, in San Francisco, California, indicted four airline pilots for making false statements to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The defendants—Gregory Chrisman, Burlingame, California; Nicholas Beyer, Discovery Bay, California; Adam Asleson, Peachtree, Georgia; and Walter Grant, Fortuna, California—were charged in four separate indictments. Each indictment alleges the pilots submitted falsified medical records to FAA in order to obtain their airman medical certificates. While claiming to be medically fit to fly aircraft, the defendants received disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for serious medical and psychological conditions that would have prevented them from operating an aircraft.DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with VA-OIG.

Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


https://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/36751
Airbubba is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2018, 20:09
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 38
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, aside from the fact to the fact that he lied, there seems to be a growing witch hunt where depression could very possibly lead to termination of your contract. Big big safety issue.

If I ever get in a depression, I would be very reluctant to admit it to anyone, out of fear of losing my job as a pilot.
SigWit is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2018, 21:14
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Canadian Shield
Posts: 538
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, aside from the fact to the fact that he lied, there seems to be a growing witch hunt where depression could very possibly lead to termination of your contract. Big big safety issue.
Not forgetting, of course, that there is NO TEST for sanity.
er340790 is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2018, 22:06
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lost again...
Posts: 920
Received 149 Likes on 59 Posts
There is a big difference between not being wholly forthcoming about the fact that you might be having some "wellbeing problems" and downright lying about the fact that you are on a government disability pension for mental health issues. You're either not being truthful about your mental health and your fitness to be a Professional Pilot or you're defrauding the VA for a medical pension you're not entitled to. You can't have it both ways i'm afraid.
OvertHawk is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2018, 23:37
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by SigWit
Well, aside from the fact to the fact that he lied, there seems to be a growing witch hunt where depression could very possibly lead to termination of your contract. Big big safety issue.
Where's your evidence of a supposed "growing witch hunt"? "Witch hunt" is a pejorative term used to describe an unfair, emotion-driven campaign against people. In 2016 the FAA ruled out psychological testing as a response to GermanWings and instead promoted enhanced mental health support programs for pilots that would encourage seeking help. Promoting enhanced mental health support programs is the polar opposite response of a "Witch Hunt" and, like alcoholism, gives an avenue of treatment that allows one to retain or, if lost, re-gain their Medical Certificate/flying privileges.

The only "big, big" safety issue would be ignorance of the above replaced by an assumption of an ongoing "Witch Hunt", leading to attitudes like this...

If I ever get in a depression, I would be very reluctant to admit it to anyone, out of fear of losing my job as a pilot.
..which is precisely why going down the "witch hunt" road was rejected by the authorities as a response, how it "seems" to you notwithstanding. Spreading false information and planting seeds of paranoia does nobody any good but that seems what you've dedicated your first post on PPrune to. Again, please cite evidence to back it up.

Lying on a Medical Certificate application about treatments or history, however, has always been punishable not only with revocation/denial but also jail and fines, at least in the 40 years I've been getting them. What seems to me is that this guy and the others cited by the article didn't take the section of the application warning them in black and white of the ramifications for lying on the Application seriously. Unlike your imaginary witch hunt, concealing/lying about one's current condition and history can indeed be a big safety issue.

All 4 of these defendants are ex-military and receiving VA benefits for disabilities that apparently would have disqualified them as-is. It's not known whether the FAA's disqualifying conditions would have been only temporary-but-rectifiable with a course of treatment or permanent, but it's clear none of them took the civilian, FAA Medical Application seriously when it came to making false statements and concealment, and then signing their names to it. Signing false statements is ALWAYS the worst course of action and gets one in far hotter water. In this case, possible prison and hefty fines, not to mention torpedoing one's own career on a permanent basis rather than going through the steps to overcome a temporarily disqualifying condition.

It defies reason that they believed they could go through the government's VA process of qualifying and receiving disability benefits on one hand while lying to a different government entity on the other, and not eventually be found out. Even if it took 5 or 10 years for someone to put 2 + 2 together, the signed, false statements at the time are a matter of record and they'd be pursued starting with an Emergency Revocation of pilot and medical Certificates.

Last edited by PukinDog; 22nd Sep 2018 at 00:16.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2018, 04:42
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 6,054
Received 553 Likes on 259 Posts
instead promoted enhanced mental health support programs for pilots that would encourage seeking help
That's as it should be Capt. PD, but not how it always works. A QF A380 SO who has his licence tugged on the say so of a neighbour.

QF in the OZ paper today

Having said that, I'm aware of a number of pilots active in commercial employment who do receive our equivalent of VA benefits on the basis of their service induced PTSD, and the regulator is fully aware. In one case the regulators medical director went into bat for the guy and twisted the arm of the psychs to get a report giving the guy a thumbs up, their reluctance seemingly being "can this come back to bite me in some way". The above link just shows that the regulator, or rather individuals within it, can be a barstewards at times and is the reason some may shy from being open about their state. I doubt the FAA is any different based on what they did to Bob Hoover.
megan is online now  
Old 22nd Sep 2018, 06:17
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by megan
That's as it should be Capt. PD, but not how it always works. A QF A380 SO who has his licence tugged on the say so of a neighbour.

QF in the OZ paper today

Having said that, I'm aware of a number of pilots active in commercial employment who do receive our equivalent of VA benefits on the basis of their service induced PTSD, and the regulator is fully aware. In one case the regulators medical director went into bat for the guy and twisted the arm of the psychs to get a report giving the guy a thumbs up, their reluctance seemingly being "can this come back to bite me in some way". The above link just shows that the regulator, or rather individuals within it, can be a barstewards at times and is the reason some may shy from being open about their state. I doubt the FAA is any different based on what they did to Bob Hoover.
Can't comment on CASA or their response to things like a neighbor's allegations against a QF pilot. They are an entity most assuredly unto themselves. The Bob Hoover incident occurred 25 years ago in '93, and much has happened since including the passage of the Hoover Bill. The FAA took a massive pranging over it, from the grassroots organizations to the halls of Congress. Even so, Hoover's medical was re-instated prior to that although with much hassle and expense over 2 years. What Mr. Hoover didn't do was falsify his applications and, in fact, underwent every test the FAA asked for and more in an effort for complete transparency and to show competency.

I was responding to the unsupported claim by a poster that there's a "growing Witch Hunt", and the recommendation I cited above was the FAA's in direct response in 2016 to questions asked with respect to assessing mental health issues after the German Wings murder/suicide where the perpetrator went out of his way to hide his from his employer and licensing authority since he had done his initial training in the U.S. What CASA does now and what happened to Bob Hoover a quarter century ago has no relationship to how these 4 in the article under indictment for making false statements to the FAA are being held accountable.

The fact that a system doesn't work flawlessly 100% of the time isn't evidence of a "witch hunt", nor is it a a valid excuse to lie or make false statements either within or about the system. Perpetrating paranoia with unsupportable comments drives all parties seeking the best answers apart.

Fact is, people who would willingly risk prison/fines by lying about a disqualifying condition and sign their name to it on the document also can't be trusted to self-evaluate and ground themselves if knowingly unfit to fly due to any of the many other physical and mental health reasons regs require one to do so in between examinations. The FAA smoking them out/exposing lies is an example of them properly doing their jobs.

Last edited by PukinDog; 22nd Sep 2018 at 06:56.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2018, 12:42
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 265
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fact is, people who would willingly risk prison/fines by lying about a disqualifying condition and sign their name to it on the document also can't be trusted to self-evaluate and ground themselves if knowingly unfit to fly due to any of the many other physical and mental health reasons regs require one to do so in between examinations.
That is not a fact at all. That is your opinion, and I disagree.

Derfred is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2018, 13:17
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 255
Received 22 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Derfred
That is not a fact at all. That is your opinion, and I disagree.


Disagree all you want but a liar is a liar. Before coming to the U.S. for flight training the murderer/suicidal Andreas Lubitz initially falsified/lied on his first FAA Medical application about prior mental health history and treatment for severe depression including suicidal thoughts until intervention and document-changing by a medical examiner in Germany. Due to that intervention and based on German doctor's statements that he had been successfully treated, he was granted a 3rd Class Medical (essentially a Student Pilot Certificate) by the FAA. After doing so, he was under this directive from them...

"Because of your history of reactive depression, operation of aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication and/or treatment is required."

In other words, he was to adhere to the regulation regarding self-evaluation and grounding if he didn't meet fit to fly medical standards, same as everyone else. He was erroneously trusted to do so at that point but, oviously, the personal ethics required to adhere to that directive literally or in spirit wasn't something he considered that important. Even a German doctor's note telling him so before his crime was found crumpled in the trash probably there while he was suiting up to go to work and purposely kill 150 people.

If someone can't do the right thing when faced with serious criminal penalties for making false statements they sign their name to, there's absolutely no reason to trust them to be forthcoming later on. Back in Germany, Lubitz continued to hide his subsequent treatments, got a job as a commercial pilot carrying passengers, and was self-medicating with prescription drugs. He also thought he was going blind. Yet still he flew, and flew, and flew with unsuspecting passengers until he decided to end it all and them because his lies and omissions were finally catching up with him.

I stand by my statement. Liars who do so in order to gain something they wouldn't have otherwise (in this case willingly making and signing false statements right from the start to obtain a Medical Cert/pursue a flying career knowing they are unfit) will continue lying to preserve it and can't be trusted. Just because it's a mental instead of physical health or criminal history issue they're lying about doesn't make them special or less likely to lie again. Having a mental health issue doesn't make someone worthy of unique consideration that allows them to magically escape the consequences of lying when it comes to falsely qualifying-for and exercising commercial pilot privileges.

Again, lying by making false statements or failure to disclose required items of any sort and putting one's name to it result in hotter water when exposed. In the case of an FAA Medical, it can result in a criminal indictment just like it says on the application, as we see here.

Mention "mental health" or "depression" no matter how tangental it is to the actual subject, however, and some people are immediately triggered. The subject is lying and making false statements, yet someone immediately tried to link that to a supposed, imaginary "witch hunt" against people with mental health issues. The only way a particular mental health issue would be pertinent to this discussion of these 4 liars is if it caused a crippling inability to tell the truth and not understand the ramifications of lying when asked a series of clear, easy-to-answer questions.








Last edited by PukinDog; 22nd Sep 2018 at 14:32.
PukinDog is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2018, 01:12
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 89
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Agree 100% PD. Having been through the ringer investigating one who initially only lied (in multiple jurisdictions) about being on antidepressants, was subsequently suspected of having some kind of personality disorder with multiple false identities and other totally bizarre behaviours, and was somehow (inexplicably in my opinion) cleared to go back to flying for at least a period of time...the system is not currently working and, rightly or wrongly perception does appear to be skewed away from “it’s better to be honest” towards “it’s better to never admit to anything”. The sooner those who outright lie are adequately punished, the better for all concerned (IMHO!!)
Buswinker is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2018, 02:05
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 69
Posts: 4,549
Received 313 Likes on 153 Posts
I'm a little perplexed that so-called "Professional Pilots" would be defending the actions of this individual. There are two possibilities here:
1) He's physiologically fine, and he's committing fraud to collect disability benefits that he is not entitled to, or
2) He's not physiologically fine, in which case he lied about it to get his pilots license and has been putting hundreds of innocent passengers at risk.
There is no other possibility...
How in the world can you justify that sort of behavior by another pilot?
tdracer is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.