Quis custodiet, and so on


The likelihood of a pilot’s mental illness or suicidal feelings resulting in a crash in the U.S. is low; the Federal Aviation Administration maintains very strict guidelines for evaluating the mental health of aircrew. Under FAA rules, no one suffering from psychosis, severe personality disorder, manic-depressive illness or substance dependence can be issued the medical clearance to fly an airliner. Captains are required to renew their clearance every six months and first officers every year. Hundreds of people get refused every year.

That last sentence intrigues me. One would like to be a fly on the wall at a few of these proceedings.

4 thoughts on “Quis custodiet, and so on

  1. I once met a pilot at a restaurant bar. He was a shifty little fellow. We got to talking and he said that after a couple more drinks he intended to head over to one of the strip clubs down the street. He then intimated that he had a knack for actually getting the strippers to leave the club with him. I asked him what his secret was. ‘Cocaine.’ He didn’t seem to show any sort of regret from having made the remark, which struck me as odd since, you know, he flies commercial airliners and I had only known him for 10 minutes.

    • I suspect that it’s not unlike the guy who’ll ramble on about “niggers” because he either assumes you’re one of him and/or if you’re not, he doesn’t give a shuck. Coke-heads are a unique brand. Though I wonder which came first, the coke-head or the brand.

      • Oh for sure he had that sketchy coke vibe, but what I was struck by was his lack of concern over what he was divulging, meaning he came across as if pilots don’t have to worry about getting caught doing those types of things, whether it be because of lax testing or there’s an environment that has found ways to circumvent the SOP’s. And he sure didn’t seem to feel like I was ‘one of them’, in fact he was getting more and more frustrated by each new question. Strange, and worrisome.

        • I see. Sounds like he was the arrogant-coke-brand before he began doing the coke, and that the indulgence only made him more arrogant about it, as opposed to a paranoid shadow chaser. I’m not sure which of those skies is less friendly. I reckon it’s not so much the lack of testing or rigor thereof, but ignoring obvious fuckfacery on the job that might be the potential problem in this case. But who knows, maybe he always seems like a swell upstanding fella when he dons the cap.

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