Depression Among Pilots

 May 21, 2017

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 Depression among pilots can be a huge problem

Depression among pilots can be huge problem and hazardous consequences can be produced as;

  1. Pilots can make stupid decisions while facing distress
  2. They would be much reckless, fatigue and unconscious
  3. It can also increase their chance of taking risk without any necessary measure dominating their anger over work
  4. Poor collaboration and understanding with the co-pilot
  5. Low spirit of accepting one’s opinion or suggestion
  6. Showing anger with the companion or crew members that can lead to the awful environment of the flight
  7. During flight their level of anxiety or depression can cause drastic and catastrophic incidents
  8. Their “quietness” about depression is one of the alarming situation
  9. Even “Aviation Industry” itself don’t like to talk more on depression for the sake of displaying good repute to the passengers
  10. Pilots often used to sleep aid medication which also put them in unconsciousness and reckless


  11. One of the occurrent problem arises is that if the remedy and measurements has been showing for the elimination of depression among pilots, pilots refuses to cooperate in danger of “not fit to fly” it can enhance more depression in them instead of controlling over it
  12. In aviation industry safety is the first and foremost priority but this is all upon the one who is commanding the airplane, if pilots fall in depression they are not able to assure the safety of the passengers
  13. Most of the time depression is automatically transformed into the co-pilot if first hand pilot is showing conflict with his companion
  14. Pilot performance of flight continuity may be affected badly and he can’t perform his duty well
  15. A fresh start of every task gives best outcomes, but if a pilot is distress or in anxiety he may not check the pre- flight measures of safety properly
  16. A pilot in depression is no more able to handle any kind of emergency situation on the way as he is not well in decision making process any more
  17. His way of communicating with the co-pilot may be poor and unmatched in case of depression
  18. He is no longer conscious about the “risks” and its “consequences” so the sense of responsibility gets into poor collaboration
  19. Constant depression along with work load stress can put him in suicidal thoughts and he no more concern that he is on hundreds pf passenger’s lives risk
  20. Often inter connected flights are long haul and pilot may not be at his home for many days and surly this can cause him anxiety and;


  21. if these flights are your regular base schedule it can lead to depression of being far from your family

And many more factors can be alarming while a pilot is depressed. In the past “depression” was a limitless talk in the aviation industry and there was no cross questioning over this topic. But as well as many incidents and crashes occurred due to the “depression factor of pilots” aviation industry is taking many measures and actions on this dilemma. When this “depression” topic becomes so demanding to be discussed and eliminating? Actually, when the “German wings Crash” occurred.

Germans Wings Crash: An alarming call for the aviation industry about “Depression”

German Wings flight 9525, international scheduled flight conducted from “Barcelona EI Prat Airport in Spain to “Dusseldorf Airport” in Germany. And was being operated by the German wings, a low-cost carrier owned by the German Airline Lufthansa. On 24 March 2015, the Airbus A320-21 crashed just near the north-west of nice in the French ALPS. All the 144 passengers and 6 crew members were killed on the spot. It was a German first fatal and drastic incident of the 18 years’ history. 

Cause of Crash (Depression)

According to the investigations and reports, the crash was deliberately done by the co-pilot, Andres Lubitz. According to the reports, at first Lubitz was very courteous and generous to his first commander pilot but as well as the mid of flight reached he became “distress and harsh” to the captain. When the captain returned from usual toilet break, he found the cockpit being locked inside. He knocked the door many times but Lubitz didn’t open it. He used the re-entry intercom but got no response. The captain attempted to break in, Lubitz’s steady breathing was audible outside and in a second’s airplane went down with fast speed. It was an actual suicidal attempt and sucked all passengers along with him too.

 Investigation of Lubitz Mental Illness

After three days, the investigation over Lubitz revealed that he was actually suffering from severe depression and disappointment.  German’s detectives searched Lubitz’s property and removed his electronics devices like computer for testing. But they didn’t find any kind of relevant stuff of “suicidal notes” or something like that. During his apartment’s search, they found a paper in the dustbin which revealed that he was declared medically unfit by a doctor. They further found some evidence which revealed he was continuously taking drugs and suffered from a psychosomatic illness. He was a person of refusing to show his mental illness in fear of losing his career.

German detectives found his previous day’s activities which he has been doing on computers search were; “methods of committing suicides by blowing down airplanes” and all such things. It showed he was in a desperate depression and stress that he used such kind of catastrophic trick to play not merely with his life but also with passengers lives too.

Lubitz’s Depression Became wake up call for the Aviation Industry

Before this incident, depression was taken as a usual or sudden mood change stimulus but after this it became a wake-up call sign for the whole Aviation Industry. Lubitz’s act of German-Wings crash put all the people in astonish and gloom. It was unexpected that a “depressed pilot” could harm in such a catastrophic way. After this incident, Aviation Industry took strict measures in testing the medical fitness of the pilots especially in case of if as they may not be in depression. It was being totally banned to fly while a pilot may be suffering or showing an attitude of “depression or anger”.

In the weeks before the reports of the incident, the investigations to the Lubitz found that he had been treated for suicidal tricks prior to his training as a commercial pilot and had been temporally denied by the US pilot’s license which might cause him in a depression.

It was further investigated that Lubitz had not been sleeping properly for the last five years as he was facing some vision problems. He consulted many doctors and was in desperate fear of losing his sight. His stress and depression of losing his license, put him in negative motivation of attempting suicide.

The whole investigation of Lubitz mental illness put the aviation industry in a great consideration and amazed. It was clearly shown that to how much extinct depression could cause crashes.

There was no compensation of this incident but it taught the whole industry to take some active actions about “depression among pilots” in a serious way so that crashes due to depression could eliminate.

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