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Flybe pilot develops a fear of flying

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Flybe pilot develops a fear of flying

Old 12th Nov 2018, 07:25
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Flybe pilot develops a fear of flying

I may not be a pilot but was cabin crew for the best part of 30 years and never come across anything like this during my career, however I can't get my head around this story. I know it's from the DM, but there must be some truth in it.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ar-flying.html
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 09:32
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I can name two individuals.
One was a costumer service officer. Many, many years experience. He put it down to too much air crash investigators.
The other was a young pilot. Doesn’t quite know the reasons but did have an engine failure in a light twin on a dark night. Gave up flying and now manages a store.
If you can develop a phobia then hopefully you can get rid of one. Bloody spiders.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 09:42
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I know it's from the DM, but there must be some truth in it.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 09:49
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I believe there was a case some thirty years ago of a BA (?) pilot who developed the phobia while in the air. I don't know of the eventual outcome. Can happen to anybody I guess.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 09:56
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Anyone can develop a mental health issue at any time - that's life.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 09:59
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There are a few examples in the military. Going back a few decades the RAF used to do the same as FlyBe - sack the pilot. They then woke-up and realised that the problem was real and, as an employer, it was their problem. There's a really good piece where an experienced (Tornado?) pilot describes how fear slowly crept-up on him and how he overcame it with professional help. Can't find the reference for the life of me though.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 10:23
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I had been paxing fairly regularly from the age of 5 and never had a problem until I was 30. Booked a BM flight from LHR to AMS to spend a long weekend with an oppo and totally lost it on the flight. I knew it was irrational but every sound, change in engine note, turbulence, hydraulic noise had me a gibbering wreck. Got to Schiphol and had a panic attack at the thought of the flight back. I got the train and ferry.

I knew I had a few flights coming up so reported to the MO who sent me to a psychologist. She reckoned after much discussion that it was not having any control over any events that may happen that caused this episode along with a lack of knowledge of flight itself. I had a few chats with the ships flight commander and he suggested having a few hours instruction at a local flying school to get an understanding of how things 'work'. Did that and never looked back. Fell in love with flying again and as funds improved carried on with the training. May not work for everyone but it sorted me out. As mentioned above it could well have been a mental health episode triggered by stress at work/home, who knows?
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 10:32
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Many years ago I had a ground tour as a personnel officer in a large headquarters dealing with all the junior officer [pilots. The condition was recognised even then (late 60s). It was called pteraphobia. The treatment was a rapid exit trom the force. It seems that the trick cyclists were concerned that it was catching.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 10:40
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Originally Posted by Cows getting bigger View Post
There's a really good piece where an experienced (Tornado?) pilot describes how fear slowly crept-up on him and how he overcame it with professional help. Can't find the reference for the life of me though.
Perhaps this one: "A Seagull's life: Flying Scared" from Air Clues 21? Doesn't have a happy ending, though.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 11:06
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Originally Posted by crewmeal View Post
I may not be a pilot but was cabin crew for the best part of 30 years and never come across anything like this during my career, however I can't get my head around this story. I know it's from the DM, but there must be some truth in it.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ar-flying.html
Well, taking the article at face value, he had a mental health issue that manifested itself in way that were disruptive to the company operations and for a year and a half, the airline bent over backwards to get him back in the air, including letting him ride around on the jumpseat to get used to being in an airplane, and letting him return to duty with an extra pilot in board to take over in case he became unable to perform his duties mid-flight, and despite that, he still wasn't able to function at his job. So, they offered him a non-flying position.

Unless large parts of this have been misrepresented in the article, it seems to me that the airline bent over backward to accommodate him.

Hypothetically, lets say he returned to flying, and was involved in an accident where mental fitness was suspected to be a causal factor. How would this story play in the media and the courtroom?
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 11:13
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Its hardly a surprise given the ever increasing stress and pressure pilots are put under in todays flight decks. As one of our colleagues mentions above, mental health issues can develop at any time in a pilots career.

Unfortunately I think this story will be filed under the 'strange but true/in other news' category when it probably deserves more critical attention.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 11:26
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Originally Posted by A Squared View Post
Well, taking the article at face value, he had a mental health issue that manifested itself in way that were disruptive to the company operations and for a year and a half, the airline bent over backwards to get him back in the air, including letting him ride around on the jumpseat to get used to being in an airplane, and letting him return to duty with an extra pilot in board to take over in case he became unable to perform his duties mid-flight, and despite that, he still wasn't able to function at his job. So, they offered him a non-flying position.

Unless large parts of this have been misrepresented in the article, it seems to me that the airline bent over backward to accommodate him.
Yes have to say to me it looks like that from what is written in the DM piece... It looks to me simply from what has been written that the problem is not a lack of support from the company, it is that from strictly legal POV a procedural step in the dismissal process was missed, and it is that failure of process which has led to the Judge's decisions.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 11:37
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I'm with A Squared on this one. If the article is accurate then the company have given him ample opportunity to return to work. He's done it once before and it didn't work out. Why should another attempt be any different? What should an employer bend over backwards twice to try and accommodate someone who isn't suited to the job? They don't HAVE to give him a job if he's not capable of carrying it out and if I were Flybe I wouldn't be wasting time and resources on someone who is almost certainly going to repeat his behaviour in XX months and be useless to me, as an employer.

Also, why should Flybe have to consider alternative employment? He was hired as a pilot, not ops personnel (or whatever), so he either does that job or applies for any other like someone else would have to.

I know I'm not all touchy-feely, valuing and inclusive of all needs but if he can't do the job of a pilot then best he goes and looks for a job that he can do.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 11:59
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Details of the Tribunal can be read here: https://assets.publishing.service.go...ment_Final.pdf
Interesting that very little by way of documented evidence from the numerous meetings leading up to the company decision was provided by the respondent. It seems the only notes taken at one meeting were shredded after the claimant declined the ground-based safety role. I fully appreciate the company position regarding safety risk management but you would think a PLC would have someone present to take notes, surely?
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Pontius View Post
I'm with A Squared on this one. If the article is accurate then the company have given him ample opportunity to return to work. He's done it once before and it didn't work out. Why should another attempt be any different? What should an employer bend over backwards twice to try and accommodate someone who isn't suited to the job? They don't HAVE to give him a job if he's not capable of carrying it out and if I were Flybe I wouldn't be wasting time and resources on someone who is almost certainly going to repeat his behaviour in XX months and be useless to me, as an employer.

Also, why should Flybe have to consider alternative employment? He was hired as a pilot, not ops personnel (or whatever), so he either does that job or applies for any other like someone else would have to.

I know I'm not all touchy-feely, valuing and inclusive of all needs but if he can't do the job of a pilot then best he goes and looks for a job that he can do.
The point the tribunal is making isn't that the individual wasn't capable, it was that Flybe didn't follow its own HR procedures. Had they have done, the tribunal agrees that it is most likely the individual could have been fairly dismissed on capability grounds. It is very common in the tribunal system that they find against a respondent purely on the basis they didn't follow process rather than disagree with the outcome.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 18:07
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Quite an interesting thread on Military here: Scared of Flying?

I have encountered one case of this in my career, the guy had had a military background but he was so stressed on every flight it was palpable on the flight deck. Whether that was fear of flying or the responsibility of flying I'll never know. He eventually retired voluntarily.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 18:37
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Originally Posted by G-MILF View Post
The point the tribunal is making isn't that the individual wasn't capable, it was that Flybe didn't follow its own HR procedures. Had they have done, the tribunal agrees that it is most likely the individual could have been fairly dismissed on capability grounds. It is very common in the tribunal system that they find against a respondent purely on the basis they didn't follow process rather than disagree with the outcome.
That may very well be the case, however ruling to reinstate him back to his pilot position is idiotic. Would the judge and his family in this case fly with Flybe knowing the guy will be the co-pilot or captain of the flight? I don't think so. Then why put other people at risk? If there is an incident or accident involving this individual who will be responsible for it?

If it is true that Flybe didn't follow their own procedure and the judge is ruling against the company because of it then a payout would have been a more appropriate ruling taking into consideration the safety factor involved.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 18:44
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Originally Posted by G-MILF View Post
The point the tribunal is making isn't that the individual wasn't capable, it was that Flybe didn't follow its own HR procedures. Had they have done, the tribunal agrees that it is most likely the individual could have been fairly dismissed on capability grounds. It is very common in the tribunal system that they find against a respondent purely on the basis they didn't follow process rather than disagree with the outcome.
So the result was equitable and reasonable, but because of some procedural detail missed in reaching that result, we're going to reverse that reasonable, equitable result?
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 18:52
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Originally Posted by A Squared View Post
So the result was equitable and reasonable, but because of some procedural detail missed in reaching that result, we're going to reverse that reasonable, equitable result?
Whether he will be reinstated or not has yet to be decided....final few lines of the DM report state:

Mr Guest is seeking reinstatement as his remedy for unfair dismissal.

Unless the parties are able to resolve this, the matter will be decided by a remedy hearing later this month.
I guess it is possible he won’t get his job back but might might get a payment.
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Old 12th Nov 2018, 19:00
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I'm not on anybody's side here but it seems odd that the employer should have to pay a pilot who can't fly.
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