What Happens When an Airline Pilot Falls Ill?
As passengers board a flight for their next voyage, they trust their safety, and even their lives, to these professionals throughout the flight. Nevertheless, we all know germs spread through the air, what happens when a flier falls ill in the cockpit during their journey?
Pilots remain highly-trained, skillful individuals. However, they are human, just like the rest of the passengers on their flights.
Think about your typical office position. When someone feels sick, they may choose to call in or go home to recuperate. This simply isn’t an option for a pilot. For this reason, our team from Aviation Medical Exams of Miami wants to break down some information outlining precisely why, and what happens if these expert fliers get sick during a flight.
Okay, a Pilot is Sick During Flight, What Happens Now?
Thinking about a pilot operating an aircraft with the flu or other sickness is not a situation to take lightly. Nevertheless, this is not necessarily an issue to send plane passengers into screaming fits regarding the safety of the plane.
All pilots wield training to handle a “pilot incapacitation” event. This is where a pilot cannot continue their duties during a flight. As germs spread through the air, the inevitability exists where a pilot may invariably get sick. The good news is that flights always wield two pilots flying the plane. This way, someone can always fly the aircraft if the other pilot falls ill.
When a pilot gets sick, their cohort will typically fly the aircraft themselves before diverting to the nearest and most suitable airport. In situations where the flight is close to its destination, the pilot could also decide that it remains best to maintain the course as planned.
Pilots make this decision according to the specific case-by-case circumstances, as well as what remains most safe for the flight, and the passengers on board. Illness or “incapacitation” events can range from the flu to ear blockages. Nonetheless, the situation isn’t nearly as dramatic as some passengers may think.
Furthermore, flights possess both a medical kit and a defibrillator on board. Flight attendants possess unique, professional training on these devices to alleviate and avoid emergency situations.
Information on Pilot Illness and Flight Safety from Aviation Medical Exams of Miami
Aspirant pilots and passengers alike may wonder how the FAA and airlines handle the potential for illnesses during flight. Pilots take measures to limit the chances of falling ill during a flight. Yes, germs spread through the air, and pilots interact with hundreds of individuals each day when they fly. However, with failsafe measures in place, the professionals can rely on one another to ensure a safe flight to the nearest destination, or even complete the flight with a singular, healthy pilot.
Pilots even take precautions in the foods they eat. The meals for pilots remain entirely different from passenger food. This prevents the potential for issues with food that could incapacitate a pilot, putting the flight in jeopardy.
To learn more about flight safety, in addition to how pilots handle incapacitating situations involving pilot illness, contact Aviation Medical Exams of Miami today. Aspiring pilots and readers alike can also learn more about pilot vaccinations and safe flying via our blog.