flight safety detectives episode 189 - pilot attempts to crash plane, lockerbie bomb and more crimes in flight
The recent event where an off-duty airline pilot who was flying in an airplane jump seat allegedly tried to shut off the engines leads to a discussion of crimes in flight. John and Todd talk about several examples of criminal aviation disasters.
In the October 2023 event, a Horizon Air Embraer E175 airliner carrying dozens of passengers from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco was endangered. An off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot reported he had taken “magic mushrooms” 48 hours before the incident where he tried to disable the engines in flight.
Todd and John compare this event to other events where pilots deliberately crashed aircraft. They contrast the U.S. policy of publishing official reports of criminal aviation events with the policies of other countries. They also discuss how practices and policies related to jump seat use have changed over time.
Contributing to these disasters may be medical privacy laws. The pilot certification process now relies on self-reporting of medical issues. Since many conditions would disqualify an individual from flying, there is incentive to not report all issues. John argues that changes are needed that would both protect the flying public and the privacy and careers of pilots who may have medical issues.
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