What if your airline pilot falls ill in flight?


I wrote a complete explanation for Mashable–just click here for the full article.

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7 Responses to “What if your airline pilot falls ill in flight?”

  1. Randy Sohn Says:

    Read it all and concur, every airine that I know of has had it happen, some more than once. That’s why we have two or more pilots.

  2. comanchepilot Says:

    Being a pilot with high performance jet time I might be able to assist with radios, checking traffic. But essentially we’re l relying on the pilot now flying.

    That’s where that 1500 PIC rule makes some sense.

  3. Of course every general aviation pilot’s fantasy scenario is that both pilots are incapacitated, and our 1000-hour Cessna/Piper driver heroically completes the flight solo.

    In all seriousness, in the case that a pilot is incapacitated and no other airline pilots are known to be on board, is the procedure:
    – Remaining pilot flies alone.
    – Put a flight attendant in the other seat.
    – Ask if there are any certified pilots on board and put them in the seat.
    – Something else.

    • I personally–and I think most would agree it makes sense–will not ask for “anyone with flight experience,” compromising cockpit security (ain’t gonna be any logbook or background check in flight) when I can fly and land solo with no difficulty.

      • That makes sense. The way you write that, it sounds like a personal judgement call and not a policy.

      • There’s no one size fits all in this situation so we don’t write specific regs other than “the captain will determine the best course of action,” which covers every airborne situation. The captain’s authority rule enforced by the FARs is that the pilot in command may deviate from any regulation if that’s what he or she deems to be prudent. I’ve been a captain at my airline for over 24 years and it’s always been that way; really, it’s the only thing that makes sense.

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