Category Archive: Pilots health

Pilot Incapacitation: Extent of the Problem.

The study by Evans et.al. highlighted a linear trend in incapacitation rates from the pilots in 20s to those in their 60s, with those in 60s accounting for 15% of incapacitation [4]. Both cardio- and cerebro-vascular conditions being responsible for 50% (18/36) of incapacitation events, including 2 of the 4 sudden deaths, endorse the present …

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Pilot Incapacitation: What is?

Common medical causes of in-flight incapacitation amongst airline pilots in U.K were cardiovascular (heart attacks, rhythm disturbances) and neurological (epileptic seizures) [10]. Another study in U.S. identified several causes of in-flight incapacitation. This included loss of consciousness; causes related to the gut viz., gallbladder stones, gastroenteritis or discomfort due to expansion of trapped intestinal gases; …

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Pilot Incapacitation: Debate on Assessment, 1% Rule etc.

Reuters reported on 15 February 2012 that the captain of a Czech Airlines plane collapsed and died in flight from Warsaw to Prague. The plane carrying 46 passengers made a safe landing with the co-pilot on controls [1]. In another case, a Qatar Airways captain passed away in October 2010 on a flight from Manila, …

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Drunken Pilots, Unsafe Lives: Unfolding an Indian Story…

In a mockery to safety of fare paying passengers, couple of aircrew were found drunk while reporting for duty on new year eve. This included one first officer and three non-flying crew, employed by three of the private commercial airline companies in India [1].

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It Hurts in Flight – Barotrauma

    Aero-odantalgia Aero-odantalgia refers to symptoms related to various dental ailments due to change in ambient pressure in flight. It commonly presents as pain in tooth due to trapped air in a dental cavity after a filling has been done. Other reasons for dental pain could be due to infection of the gums or …

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It Hurts in Flight – Sinus Barotruama

Sinuses are small air filled spaces in the bones of the skull. These sinuses drain into the nasal cavity through small openings, which allow easy ventilation of air during ascent and descent. 

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My Ears Hurt in Flight – Otitic Barotrauma

Barotrauma of the ears, Otitic Barotruama (a.k.a Otic Barotruama or Aero-otitis media) can occurs during ascent or descent in flying. This can also occur during hypoxia demonstration in decompression chamber. Divers during under-water operations, and patients in hyperbaric chamber may also suffer from barotrauma. The primary reason of Otitic Barotruama is pressure differential, either negative …

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My Ears Hurt in Flight – Barotrauma

“In my haste to complete my syllabus sortie, despite of a recovering cold, I went ahead for the sortie that morning. As I climbed, I had some difficulty in clearing my ears. But when I started my descent to come back to land, I realised that I could not equalise pressure in my middle ears, …

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Say NO! To Self-Medication: Adverse Effects of Some Common Drugs

Adverse effects of some of the common drugs are discussed hereafter. Antibiotics. There are many aprescribed for use in an outpatient consultation. Pilots too may be prescribed antibiotics on occasion, where the treating doctor may inform about specific side effects of the prescribed drug. Yet it is important to be aware of some general side …

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Say NO! To Self-Medication: Beware of Effects of Drugs

In deciding whether to temporarily make a pilot unfit to fly while on medication, it is important to analyse the effects of the drug, and then relate these effects to the mission and the likely aviation stresses, besides the individual’s role in the mission. For instance, loose motions and/or vomiting (Gastroenteritis, the commonest cause of …

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