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Bloomberg: Murder-Suicides by Pilots Are Vexing Airlines as Deaths Mount

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Bloomberg: Murder-Suicides by Pilots Are Vexing Airlines as Deaths Mount

Old 24th Jun 2022, 14:21
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Flying is part job satisfaction and part adaptation to the lifestyle. Technology has made the job safer and less difficult but nothing has changed the conflicting priorities of life and work. It is not for everyone, but not everyone still sees it that way.
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Old 24th Jun 2022, 15:15
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Murder-Suicides by pilots are most certain the cause of undetected major mental illnesses as depression,borderline syndrome or shizophrenia. It has absolutely nothing to do with the job profile or "lifestyle".
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Old 24th Jun 2022, 20:40
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
Murder-Suicides by pilots are most certain the cause of undetected major mental illnesses as depression,borderline syndrome or shizophrenia. It has absolutely nothing to do with the job profile or "lifestyle".
Perhaps your experience supports your conclusions. All I can say is mine does not. I flew for a very long time with a lot of pilots with a lot of problems, but not the one we are discussing here . Something has changed.
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Old 25th Jun 2022, 02:02
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by hans brinker View Post
I was hoping that wasn’t his point.

“military statistics show the vast majority of flights go smoothly and the mishap rate has declined steadily over the past decade. Officials acknowledge however that drones will never be as safe as commercial airliners”
(from the richest country that spends the highest proportion on defense)


http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/inv...-from-the-sky/
Hans, that article is eight years old. I am sure that progress has been made in that time, don’t you?
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Old 25th Jun 2022, 04:10
  #45 (permalink)  
Buttonpusher
 
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Originally Posted by james ozzie View Post
Much of the debate assumes the suicidal pilot would do it while flying with innocent passengers. Surely a proportion of suicides might be performed away from work and alone, by one of the many available methods? Perhaps there are data already collected?
Agreed James Ozzie, in my 25+years of working in human factors for the union (ALPA) there has been a shift of attitudes with regards to self harm, one pilot I really enjoyed flying with, put a shotgun to himself rather than exposing himself to hurting others, but nowdays, I may be wrong.
Andreas Lubitz said his name would be noticed or remembered, if he decided to destroy himself and others. Maybe that's a generational thing I have no idea. Either way a very sad state of affairs.
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Old 25th Jun 2022, 08:19
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Keep a minimum of 3 people in the flight deck at all times. Chances are, at least one of them will want to keep living.

if that doesn’t work, go back to the old automation plan: a pilot and a dog. The pilot is there to feed the dog. The dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
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Old 25th Jun 2022, 15:57
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ferry pilot View Post
Perhaps your experience supports your conclusions. All I can say is mine does not. I flew for a very long time with a lot of pilots with a lot of problems, but not the one we are discussing here . Something has changed.
1) Recorded suicides of pilots go back to the 1970's

2) Even if it was a new phenomenom, mind you that correlation does not mean automatically causation. There more pilots today compared to 50 years ago, hence more cases, just as an example.

3) You can't possibly know what personal problems the pilots you flew with had or not had. Depression is not something written on your forehead. You mix up personality, intelligence, pilot skills or public appearance with an often disclosed mental illness. Additionally, to state the obvious, a depression can affect anyone. It can also be transient, so even if you would be a mind reader the colleague could have been healthy in your presence and sick before or thereafter

4) Anecdotal experience is no evidence. I would hence as opposed to you never claim that my experience supports a general conclusion. And what "experience" could that possibly be in the first place?



Last edited by Sam Ting Wong; 26th Jun 2022 at 06:57.
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Old 25th Jun 2022, 20:09
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Australopithecus View Post
Hans, that article is eight years old. I am sure that progress has been made in that time, don’t you?
I'm sure, but they did say never.
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Old 26th Jun 2022, 00:28
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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I am going to concede rather than give in to the temptation of further argument. The subject itself is dark and unpleasant enough, and no serious discussion can be anything but more so. Worse, there will be no resolution to the debate or the problem. Thanks for the thoughtful and considered
opinion. Intelligent conversation is hard to come by when you get old.
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Old 26th Jun 2022, 12:01
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you, ferry pilot. All the best.
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Old 27th Jun 2022, 02:42
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
Thank you, ferry pilot. All the best.
One more thing before I go There was an article a few years ago on teachable autopilots. They would learn by observing outcomes from a variety of inputs for different problems and recording the most favorable for a given situation. Enough of them, communicating with each other for a few years, would amass volumes of knowledge and experience unobtainable by any one..
I have not found the article or anything more on the subject though it is a while since I looked.
Even if you did not let the thing fly your airplane, having it installed and operating might be like the dog that bites the hand getting out of hand with the controls. Keeping in mind it is not there for you. It’s for the idiot in the other seat.
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Old 29th Jun 2022, 12:14
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Suicide- Even the stable can succumb

I recall the Captain of a BA 747 having to receive a last minute BA clearance by radio confirming his validation to land his aircraft on 27R in minimums at LHR. It did not go well and he did a TOGA over the airport hotels setting off several alarms. He was hung out to dry by BA and not supported by BALPA. Such was the publicity that He was prosecuted in the local court for dangerous flying and fired by BA.
This high time long haul captain, once a respected member of his local community and well know in his local pub, was now unemployed, suffered the humiliation of the negative publicity and was basically hung out to dry with apparently very little or no support by the airline and his union. I believe it was 12 months later that this senior former captain,used to calm decision making and for years entrusted with his aircraft and passengers took his own life on his own in Scotland ,miles from where he lived.
That to me shows that even the best and most competent pilot can succumb to such depths of despair that their mind set turns to ending their life.

Airline management need to be aware of the current unique pressures caused by Covid and be on top of it with a programme of support and perhaps a heightened programme of anonymous reporting by colleagues who see --and hear -- indications of extreme stress and pressures by their colleagues.
did a go
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Old 29th Jun 2022, 12:38
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
Murder-Suicides by pilots are most certain the cause of undetected major mental illnesses as depression,borderline syndrome or shizophrenia. It has absolutely nothing to do with the job profile or "lifestyle".

pardon my English, but there appears to be a mistake, or words missing in that statement.

I certainly would get depressed rather quickly by a “murder-suicide by pilot” on one of my flights as we came crashing down.



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Old 18th Jul 2022, 10:05
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ferry pilot View Post
Not that long ago the career path to a front seat in an airliner was not for the faint of heart. You learned the hard way, through bitter and painful experience, that aviation is a tough and unforgiving business.
But of the 4 probable intentional events since 2013 only one (Germanwings) had a relatively inexperienced pilot as the cause. MH370 - a senior 777 Captain with 33 years flying experience. MU5735 - a veteran former training pilot with 30,000 hours flying experience. LAM 470 9,000 hour E190 Captain. And the notable intentional acts beforehand - MS990 - 12,000hr FO, most senior FO in company and long time pilot. Silk Air 185 - experienced Captain.

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Old 18th Jul 2022, 18:43
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Not forgetting FedEx 705 DC-10 where a dead heading flight engineer and ex Navy pilot attacked the crew with hammers in an effort to crash the aircraft and allow his family to get an insurance pay out.
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Old 20th Jul 2022, 15:05
  #56 (permalink)  
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"the death toll from intentional acts has grown"

A pilot intentionally crashing an aircraft full of passengers is a similar act to a mass shooting rampage. Its an act of rebellion against the organization.

Remember the United States Postal Service mass shootings which were prevalent in the 80s? Ultimately there were over 25 incidents of Post Office workers coming to work, pulling guns and shooting people. It became so common that with black humour it was termed 'going postal'. That was during Reaganomics where corporations were first starting to 'squeeze all the juice' out of workers. In 1983 the US government stopped subsidising the USPS, and stopped supporting a large number of postal workers rights, opening the USPS up to commercial competition. It was forced to compete with companies like FedEx - 'increasing worker productivity' was a focus, as were pay freezes, cost cutting in all areas and reductions in perks. Workers felt victimised, grievances were so numerous that they took years to process, stress levels were elevated to unprecedented degrees. Overtime was forced, and workers felt under compensated. A congressional investigation documented patters of harassment, intimidation, cruelty and inconsistencies in promotions.

Sound familiar?

Whilst some were indeed nuts, many of the shooters were described by fellow employees as model workers who just snapped. Many fellow workers had sympathy with the shooters, even some who had been shot. "He just shot the wrong people" meaning he should have killed the management. Most workers were disillusioned to a high degree with the company and with their management. I won't expound further here but for those interested in learning more about this, the book "Going Postal" by Mark Ames is a revealing read and explains this phenomenon a lot better than I can.

The rise of the low cost airline has put a similar squeeze on the entire aviation industry where salaries, rights, benefits, perks and Union influence have been eroded in a chase of quantity over quality.

Minimum rest, maximum flight and duty, minimum pay, maximum productivity. Minimum fuel, maximum range, minimum cost, maximum load, minimum pilots, maximum roster. Minimum turnaround time, maximum speed. Minimum training, maximum stress. No recourse, minimum influence. Reporting of mental health problems likely to result in trouble for the reporter. Keep smiling and carry on, if you don't like it, leave.

Personally I'm not surprised at the increase of intentional acts of suicide by pilots designed to hurt their companies and expect the trend to rise.
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Old 21st Jul 2022, 22:00
  #57 (permalink)  
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Just a few comments from the sideline re: Bloomberg being a reputable source and the reason why media use phraseology like "people familiar with the investigation".

As a seasoned journalist, I can speak with some authority on that one. Media have their own standard phraseology, just like in aviation with ATC. The "people familiar with ..." or similar should be read as an actual insider, not some armchair expert form this esteemed forum. A journalist worth his salt wouldn't dare to use that code for something he picked up from some random guy from the interwebs. One simple reason: deniability. It's easy to refute, because it's most likely not accurate. And we really hate being proven wrong.

If I should pick up something from this forum and pass it on as "official information" under the guise of "people familiar with", I can be sure of two things: One, it's probably bogus, and two, someone who is actually familiar with the investigation will set his lawyers in motion because of that. Worst case, that will result in stopped printing machines and hundreds of thousands in losses for my publisher. So again, no journalist who takes his or her profession seriously would take that risk.

Bloomberg may go over the top with the occasional headline, but they are one of the few reputable news sources left that still adhere to old-school standards. So is the WSJ. I know or knew people working at both outlets. If they refer to "people familiar with the investigation", I am pretty confident that they actually talked to someone very familiar with the investigation who is not authorized to speak officially (or "on the record", as we call it) about it. My guess would be someone from FAA or Boeing, who is directly involved, but can't speak in an official capacity because it nominally is a Chinese investigation.

That said (and back on topic), what the article is saying is that with aviation becoming safer overall and fatal aircraft accidents rarer, the low number of pilot extended suicides claims a growing percentage of commercial aviation deaths. Wikipedia records about 25 crashes confirmed to have been caused by suicidal pilots during the last 50 years, that's one every two years on average. So this is clearly becoming a more pressing issue for the aviation industry.

And while I support corporations looking after their employees and taking care of mental health issues just as the next guy, you need to draw a line somewhere. Do we need to further de-stigmatize depression and other mental health issues? Sure. I have had colleagues dealing with a variety of issues – depression, anxieties, substance abuse, you name it – who sometimes jeopardized production because of their problems. They got help. In the end, that's just money, nobody got hurt.

But you don't want somebody gripped by depression or bipolar disorder on the pointy end of an aircraft or an operating table. Fighting societal stigma is one thing, but we need to accept that some jobs are not for everybody. Of course you can't prevent everything, but there were a lot of red flags ignored by a lot of people in the Germanwings case. That pilot was put in a cockpit despite having a record of mental health issues. But back in the day, I couldn't become a pilot – because I am too tall.

Last edited by txl; 22nd Jul 2022 at 09:10. Reason: Typos, embarassing math
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 01:25
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by txl View Post
Just a few comments from the sideline re: Bloomberg being a reputable source and the reason why media use phraseology like "people familiar with the investigation".

As a seasoned journalist, I can speak with some authority on that one. Media have their own standard phraseology, just like in aviation with ATC. The "people familiar with ..." or similar should be read as an actual insider, not some armchair expert form this esteemed forum. A journalist worth his salt wouldn't dare to use that code for something he picked up from some random guy from the interwebs. One simple reason: deniability. It's easy to refute, because it's most likely not accurate. And we really hate being proven wrong.

If I should pick up something from this forum and pass it on as "official information" under the guise of "people familiar with", I can be sure of two things: One, it's probably bogus, and two, someone who is actually familiar with the investigation will set his lawyers in motion because of that. Worst case, that will result in stopped printing machines and hundreds of thousands in losses for my publisher. So again, no journalist who takes his or her profession seriously would take that risk.

Bloomberg may go over the top with the occasional headline, but they are one of the few reputable news sources left that still adhere to old-school standards. So is the WSJ. I know or knew people working at both outlets. If they refer to "people familiar with the investigation", I am pretty confident that they actually talked to someone very familiar with the investigation who is not authorized to speak officially (or "on the record", as we call it) about it. My guess would be someone from FAA or Boeing, who is directly involved, but can't speak in an official capacity because it nominally is a Chinese investigation.

That said (and back on topic), what the article is saying is that with aviation becoming safer overall and fatal aircraft accidents rarer, the low number of pilot extended suicides claims a growing percentage of commercial aviation deaths. Wikipedia records about 25 crashes confirmed to have been caused by suicidal pilots during the last 50 years, that's two per year on average. So this is clearly becoming a more pressing issue for the aviation industry.

And while I support corporations looking after their employees and taking care of mental health issues just as the next guy, you need to draw a line somewhere. Do we need to further de-stigmatize depression and other mental health issues? Sure. I have had colleagues dealing with a variety of issues – depression, anxieties, substance abuse, you name it – who sometimes jeopardized production because of their problems. They got help. In the end, that's just money, nobody got hurt.

But you don't want somebody gripped by depression or bipolar disorder on the pointy end of an aircraft or an operating table. Fighting societal stigma is one thing, but we need to accept that some jobs are not for everybody. Of course you can't prevent everything, but there were a lot of red flags ignored by a lot of people in the Germanwings case. That pilot was put in a cockpit despite having a record of mental health issues. But back in the day, I couldn't become a pilot – because I am too tall.
"..Wikipedia records about 25 crashes confirmed to have been caused by suicidal pilots during the last 50 years, that's two per year on average..."

Unless I'm missing something, isn't that 1 per 2 years?
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 06:38
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JG1 View Post

…Minimum rest, maximum flight and duty, minimum pay, maximum productivity. Minimum fuel, maximum range, minimum cost…

Personally I'm not surprised at the increase of intentional acts of suicide by pilots designed to hurt their companies and expect the trend to rise.
Looking at the two recent probable murder/ suicides in which the circumstances are reasonably well known (Germanwings and MH370, I haven’t seen it suggested that working conditions or a desire to ‘hurt their company’ were in any way a major factor.
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Old 22nd Jul 2022, 07:49
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by dr dre View Post
But of the 4 probable intentional events since 2013 only one (Germanwings) had a relatively inexperienced pilot as the cause. MH370 - a senior 777 Captain with 33 years flying experience. MU5735 - a veteran former training pilot with 30,000 hours flying experience. LAM 470 9,000 hour E190 Captain. And the notable intentional acts beforehand - MS990 - 12,000hr FO, most senior FO in company and long time pilot. Silk Air 185 - experienced Captain.
No matter how long you have been at it, a job that is not for you is still not for you. They should have been doing something else.
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