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Topic: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: F9animal
Posted 2013-01-31 22:54:12 and read 13441 times.

Just saw breaking news that an Alaska flight from LAX to SEA made an emergency landing after the Captain became unconscious. Plane diverted to PDX, and paramedics took the Captain to the hospital. Sending my prayers to the Captain.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: etops1
Posted 2013-01-31 23:10:51 and read 13364 times.

Quoting F9animal (Thread starter):

Prayers to the crew .

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: KC135Hydraulics
Posted 2013-02-01 00:06:24 and read 13180 times.

First officer just got a good career boost. I'm sure the captain will recover

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: gonnabapilot
Posted 2013-02-01 00:32:04 and read 13099 times.

Here's an article...

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/02/01...in-portland-ore-after-pilot-loses/

A friend of mine was taxiing out and watched them land. Hopefully everything turns out okay for the Captain!

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: PDX88
Posted 2013-02-01 03:35:17 and read 12807 times.

Flight landed on 10R and shut down on taxiway T in front of C11. I was working on an aircraft at C9 when it happened and couldn't help but sit and watch. AS ground crew docked air stairs and medics removed the captain from the aircraft, which was then afterward towed into C7.

Thanks for posting this, I never got to find out from anyone at AS what had happened.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: RWA380
Posted 2013-02-01 05:08:03 and read 12527 times.

As of the 5am news here in Portland, there is no report on the pilots condition, prayers, good energy, and best wishes going his way now! The CBS local affiliate here KOIN, has said some passengers opted to wait until AS found a new pilot to take the bird onto SEA, however several opted to get on the QX shuttle flights to get home. Glad they landed safely, the FO apparently did an awesome job of handling the situation, and according to AS, he followed all the correct procedures and guidelines set forth for co=pilots in this kind of situation, great job! Another good ending to a unfortunate situation.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: ultrapig
Posted 2013-02-01 07:21:08 and read 12056 times.

Not to detract from the first officer's actions-but how difficult is it for a single pilot to land a modern jet when there is no mechanical problem. (And don't tell me that I couldn't do it because I know I couldn't!) .

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: seven3seven
Posted 2013-02-01 07:28:02 and read 12004 times.

The first officer did not get a career boost and, to put it bluntly, did not do an awesome job. By that I only mean he DID his job as any pilot flying the plane would do.

The captain wasn't Ernest Gann and this isnt 1929. I hope the captain is ok and makes a full recovery back to the line.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: futureualpilot
Posted 2013-02-01 08:35:28 and read 11714 times.

Quoting ultrapig (Reply 6):
Not to detract from the first officer's actions-but how difficult is it for a single pilot to land a modern jet when there is no mechanical problem.

Flying the airplane isn't the hard part. Flying the airplane and dealing with a high stress situation you're now the only one left is. There is a lot more involved with this than actually manipulating the controls.

[Edited 2013-02-01 08:39:13]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: falstaff
Posted 2013-02-01 09:36:26 and read 11367 times.

Quoting ultrapig (Reply 6):
Not to detract from the first officer's actions-but how difficult is it for a single pilot to land a modern jet when there is no mechanical problem.

I have a couple of cockpit videos that really do a good job showing what the pilots really do and how much work it really is. After watching the 747-400 and L1011 videos I have I really got an appreciation for airline pilot's job.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: RyDawg82
Posted 2013-02-01 09:48:19 and read 11111 times.

This same thing happened on 1/22/2013 on ASA606, a B738, in LAS. The FO fainted and was unconscious.

Source:
http://avherald.com/h?article=45c9ed4d&opt=0


-Ryan

[Edited 2013-02-01 09:49:25]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: lmml 14/32
Posted 2013-02-01 09:54:29 and read 10978 times.

To my mind the FO did a great job. Pilots are trained ad nauseam to perform to proceedures. This FO had to perform PF and PNF duties himself at the same time as well as being in a very tense cockpit.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: GentFromAlaska
Posted 2013-02-01 09:58:42 and read 10898 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 8):
Flying the airplane isn't the hard part. Flying the airplane and dealing with a high stress situation you're now the only one left is.

Without sending the cabin into panic Outside of Hollywood I suppose you couldn't query the pax to gauge if there is a pilot onboard who could assist in the right seat.

I've often thought it would be a good idea as standard practice if FAA required all pilots who may be aboard as a pax to make their presence known to the flight deck in the event of such an emergency. Someone flying in uniform would be more obvious.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: longhauler
Posted 2013-02-01 10:04:13 and read 10790 times.

Very good work on the F/O.

Odd that some people on here would say otherwise. Yes, you are right, the aircraft will fly by itself, as long as everything is working, and all the ducks are in a row. Seems like they were. But flying the aircraft is the easy part!

He also had to co-ordinate the diversion, probably through Med-Link, while dealing with ATC, Company Flight Dispatch, the rest of the crew and the passengers. All the while watching the aircraft to make sure it is doing what he intended. Then while still co-ordinating with all the above, he has to handle ATC communication and configure the aircraft for landing.

Not impossible, but likely something he has only done in the simulator.

During this whole time, he also has to temper the stress of doing this alone, as well as try to ignore the urgency of landing quickly as someone's health may be at risk.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 10:05:16 and read 10786 times.

I would have to agree with both futureualpilot and falstaff. Whilst the situation is something that is brought up with regularity during training, actually experiencing such a scenario in reality must be a really difficult incident to contend with. Every time I've done a pilot incapacitation in the simulator it has involved an occasionally amusing loss of conciousness and the procedure involved is solely on the immediate decision making process. i.e the incapacitation occurs at a critical moment of the flight, during the takeoff roll before V1 or at Decision Altitude on the final approach.

I can imagine that having your work colleague who may be a good friend of yours, suddenly and possibly violently encounter a serious illness or immediate loss of conciousness to be a particularly harrowing experience emotionally and I would expect ones ability to function in a logical and systematic manner to be at the very least slightly degraded. A modern airliner can be flown competently by a single pilot but add the trauma/shock of the situation and any other unforseen difficulty (restriction of flight controls due to the movements of the ill crew member) and you could have a particularly challenging working environment. An emergency diversion is a period of extremely high workload anyway and so when you at minimum double that workload as a result of an incapacitation you have a potentially very difficult situation to contend with.

Whilst it appears that in this instance that the situation wasn't particularly grave as the Captain regained conciousness, he was still unable to contribute as a crewmember and a reasonable amount of the rest of the crews attention would have been taken up by tending to the Captain. The First Officer did his job yes, and we shouldn't expect any less. But he should still be commended if his actions were textbook and he handled the situation in an exemplary manner which the airline have suggested is the case.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: falstaff
Posted 2013-02-01 10:05:33 and read 10788 times.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 12):
Someone flying in uniform would be more obvious.

I wonder how many flights a day in the US have an airline pilot flying as a passenger? It seems that more often than not, on a domestic flight, I see at least one pilot in uniform sitting in the cabin. Of course my home airport is DTW so I probably see a lot of pilots who are going home or commuting to/from DTW.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: cornutt
Posted 2013-02-01 10:17:47 and read 10564 times.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 12):
I've often thought it would be a good idea as standard practice if FAA required all pilots who may be aboard as a pax to make their presence known to the flight deck in the event of such an emergency.

I think, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, that pax who hold a transport rating are usually identified on the pax list that the FA's get. I know it's true when the person in question is flying non-revenue.

Quoting EGGD (Reply 14):
I can imagine that having your work colleague who may be a good friend of yours, suddenly and possibly violently encounter a serious illness or immediate loss of conciousness to be a particularly harrowing experience emotionally

I actually had this happen a few weeks ago. I had to call 911, answer the operator's questions, try to get some info (e.g., the co-worker's birth date, which I had no idea of), and then direct the paramedics to the correct entrance in the large building complex that we work in. My nerves were rattled for hours afterward. (P.S., the co-worker has fully recovered.)

Prayers to that captain, and I hope he recovers and is able to continue flying. That would be a hell of a way to end your career.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: futureualpilot
Posted 2013-02-01 10:48:50 and read 10014 times.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 12):
Without sending the cabin into panic Outside of Hollywood I suppose you couldn't query the pax to gauge if there is a pilot onboard who could assist in the right seat.

If we felt it necessary to meet the needs of the emergency we would find a way to ask, but most airline pilots I know, myself included, would rather handle the situation and leave the people in back out of it, fellow airline, corporate or perhaps military pilots not withstanding. Not out of ego or machoism but out of practicality. We are trained for situations like this and generally the procedures we have make the situation while tense, and stressful, doable by the lone remaining pilot. I realize this sounds like a contradiction to what I said earlier, but someone on board without airline or even professional flying experience will be of little help simply because said person likely doesn't know how to or what to do. The time it would take to explain something or help them do something could be better spent doing it yourself and with less stress.

Please understand I don't say anything above to be condescending. I realize it might be construed as such but realize that I spent a few thousand hours flying all manner of general aviation and have since spent a few thousand hours flying airline operations. In my own humble opinion formed from experience and learning from others, the two worlds are too different for someone without professional flying experience to be of enough help to bring them up front.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 12):
I've often thought it would be a good idea as standard practice if FAA required all pilots who may be aboard as a pax to make their presence known to the flight deck in the event of such an emergency. Someone flying in uniform would be more obvious.

I can see some argument for this but we don't need every passenger with a certificate stopping up front while we're getting ready to go. If the situation calls for it, we'll find a way to ask.

[Edited 2013-02-01 10:49:37]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: longhauler
Posted 2013-02-01 10:52:53 and read 9951 times.

Quoting EGGD (Reply 14):
i.e the incapacitation occurs at a critical moment of the flight, during the takeoff roll before V1 or at Decision Altitude on the final approach.

Two incapacitations we do often are .... one pilot becomes incapacitated during a rapid depressurization, (not so far fetched) then the other pilot must do both sides of the emergency decent himself ... or (always on the F/O) the Captain does not respond to the 100 knot call, the F/O does a rejected take-off, to an engine fire, to an emergency evacuation!

When I was an F/O, I hated that exercise ... and ALWAYS left the Captain to burn with the ship.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 16):
I think, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, that pax who hold a transport rating are usually identified on the pax list that the FA's get.

Not that I am aware of. Non-revs are identified, but if the pilot is a full revenue passenger, we would not know.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: bwphoto
Posted 2013-02-01 10:54:17 and read 9911 times.

Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: longhauler
Posted 2013-02-01 10:56:22 and read 9877 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
If we felt it necessary to meet the needs of the emergency we would find a way to ask, but most airline pilots I know, myself included, would rather handle the situation and leave the people in back out of it, fellow airline, corporate or perhaps military pilots not withstanding.

Funny, you should say that, but many years ago, while traveling on UAL, there was a gear malfunction. I asked one of the F/A's to send my business card up, and asked if I could be any assistance.

I didn't get an answer ... fair ball, they ARE busy. No worries.

A month later, I got a very nice letter from UAL Flight Ops thanking me for my offer, a nice touch.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: type-rated
Posted 2013-02-01 11:34:42 and read 9316 times.

I imagine this pilots medical cert will be under review before he returns to flying. They'll have to figure out why he passed out and if the same circumstances could happen again before he is released to fly.

I don't think the pilot flying after an incident like this has to mention to the passengers what happened, couldn't he just say that they are having a technical difficulty causing them to divert to PDX?

Anyway I wish the captain well and hope he recovers quickly.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: BoeEngr
Posted 2013-02-01 11:40:31 and read 9213 times.

Quoting type-rated (Reply 21):
I don't think the pilot flying after an incident like this has to mention to the passengers what happened, couldn't he just say that they are having a technical difficulty causing them to divert to PDX?

Apparently, according to this article, he passed out in front of passengers so they were well aware of the situation.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/S...-after-pilot-faints-189327901.html

Prayers for quick healing.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-02-01 11:42:38 and read 9182 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
If we felt it necessary to meet the needs of the emergency we would find a way to ask, but most airline pilots I know, myself included, would rather handle the situation and leave the people in back out of it, fellow airline, corporate or perhaps military pilots not withstanding. Not out of ego or machoism but out of practicality. We are trained for situations like this and generally the procedures we have make the situation while tense, and stressful, doable by the lone remaining pilot. I realize this sounds like a contradiction to what I said earlier, but someone on board without airline or even professional flying experience will be of little help simply because said person likely doesn't know how to or what to do. The time it would take to explain something or help them do something could be better spent doing it yourself and with less stress.

The training material that I've seen for an Incapacitated Pilot says to consider using anyone in the back who may be qualified (e.g. a deadheading pilot who you are familiar with). Like many things, it's up to the other pilot's discretion whether to do so.

An AS pilot once told me that they sometimes train for this during recurring training. They hand one pilot a note in the simulator telling him to act like he's passing out. Then the other guy needs to recognize it and take control of the airplane. All modern airplanes are capable of being landed by one pilot. Some airlines train flight attendants how to read the checklists up front. Not sure if AS does this.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 11:52:03 and read 9030 times.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 18):
Two incapacitations we do often are .... one pilot becomes incapacitated during a rapid depressurization, (not so far fetched) then the other pilot must do both sides of the emergency decent himself ... or (always on the F/O) the Captain does not respond to the 100 knot call, the F/O does a rejected take-off, to an engine fire, to an emergency evacuation!

I like the idea of the depressurization incapacitation, if there was every a situation where you'd get one I suppose that would be it. I'm surprised by the inclusion of a (highly improbable) engine fire after the Captain has fallen over on the takeoff roll, but I like the idea that these sort of scenarios are getting thrown into the simulator to give us some more 'lateral' thinking.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 16):
I actually had this happen a few weeks ago. I had to call 911, answer the operator's questions, try to get some info (e.g., the co-worker's birth date, which I had no idea of), and then direct the paramedics to the correct entrance in the large building complex that we work in. My nerves were rattled for hours afterward. (P.S., the co-worker has fully recovered.)

Exactly my point, imagine everything you went through being amplified due to all the additional factors you'd find on an airliner. Very difficult day at the office.. I'm glad your colleague recovered, and I hope for a similar outcome for the Captain involved.

[Edited 2013-02-01 11:52:25]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 12:10:45 and read 8977 times.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
An AS pilot once told me that they sometimes train for this during recurring training.

Pilot incapacitation training is a regulatory requirement here under JAA/EASA and most likely under the FAA as well, the frequency of the training I'm not entirely sure of but I believe we do it yearly in our training syllabus.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
Some airlines train flight attendants how to read the checklists up front. Not sure if AS does this.

I would not be surprised if they did. It was included in initial and recurrent training for my airline's cabin crew. The guidance on pilot incapacitation is quite detailed from how to secure the crewmember/administer first aid to reading the checklist and in extreme cases how to use the radios in the event of the unthinkable.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: GentFromAlaska
Posted 2013-02-01 12:59:20 and read 8333 times.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):
Very good work on the F/O.

Concur. Bravo Zulu is in order for the F/O or I suppose Captain for those intense moments.

After flying into JNU (Juneau) no less than fifty times across the years 1990-2007 several of those being bumpy and before RNP/GPS I've often though AS pilots are some of the best trained in the industry.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: Geezer
Posted 2013-02-01 13:13:38 and read 8264 times.

Quoting type-rated (Reply 21):
I don't think the pilot flying after an incident like this has to mention to the passengers what happened, couldn't he just say that they are having a technical difficulty causing them to divert to PDX?

Assuming that it happened behind a closed, locked door, I'm sure the F/O wouldn't mention it; as BoeEngr points out though, (and also the article I just now read), the Captain had just opened the cockpit door, and then passed out in full view of the pax.

Quoting BoeEngr (Reply 22):
Apparently, according to this article, he passed out in front of passengers so they were well aware of the situation.

When I read about something like this happening, I'm immediately reminded of the other articles I've read about : "so & so says a new plane being "developed" will only need ONE pilot, yada, yada, yada". Seriously ! There are always "bean counter types" who think because a plane is "below a certain weight", or normally carries "less than so-many pax", that with just a "bit more" bells and whistles, it would be perfectly fine to operate it with only ONE pilot; they have already made the F/E "obsolete"..........I think all stories such as this one should be "readily available" in order to quickly present to ANY regulatory body, even THINKING about certifying any "new" pax-carrying plane for single pilot operation.

I think this should also apply to corporate jets and business aviation as well as commercial; If your "bottom line" won't support a dual flight crew, perhaps your "company" needs to start thinking about flying commercial ?

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: HiFlyerAS
Posted 2013-02-01 13:20:14 and read 8149 times.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 16):
I think, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, that pax who hold a transport rating are usually identified on the pax list that the FA's get. I know it's true when the person in question is flying non-revenue.

Not true...although we do know where company employees are seated. If we knew for a fact that one of them was an AS pilot I'm sure he/she'd volunteer if aware of the situation before we even had a chance to ask to assist. Non-working air crew (both pilots and fa's) are very in tune to everything going on on-board and will always jump up to help.

I can't help but wonder about this awful flu season. I was quite sick myself...sudden fever, vomiting, dehydration and had to go to the hospital. Thankfully wasn't working at the time. Hilary Clinton and her fainting spell/concussion come to mind as well...she had the flu. It's a nasty virus out there this year!!

[Edited 2013-02-01 13:21:14]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: rcair1
Posted 2013-02-01 13:27:10 and read 8019 times.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):
During this whole time, he also has to temper the stress of doing this alone, as well as try to ignore the urgency of landing quickly as someone's health may be at risk.

Particularly if that person is a friend or colleague. I can guarantee that raises the stress level.
In the fire department I'm in - we are in a small community and often we will roll on a call to somebody we know. That is stressful -but even more so is when the call is to the address of one of the fire fighters or their family members.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 16):
I actually had this happen a few weeks ago. I had to call 911, answer the operator's questions, try to get some info (e.g., the co-worker's birth date, which I had no idea of), and then direct the paramedics to the correct entrance in the large building complex that we work in. My nerves were rattled for hours afterward. (P.S., the co-worker has fully recovered.)

Fully understandable - and I hope you realize how important to us (responders) what you do is. Good information, situational awareness and location info is critical. I hope, that if you found the crew responding somewhat 'offish' that we are focused too. When I'm running a scene, and I have resources, I will assign crew members to check with the "crowd" and make sure everybody is doing well.
Finally - after the call - we (the responders) will talk and de-compress afterward. It is important for your body to be able to flush out the adrenaline and other chemicals in our body. This is why we have one of the higher heart attack rate in fire fighters.

Quoting type-rated (Reply 21):
I imagine this pilots medical cert will be under review before he returns to flying. They'll have to figure out why he passed out and if the same circumstances could happen again before he is released to fly

Depends - if the source of what happened is clearly identified and transient - it may be no big deal. Likewise, if it is clearly understood and treatable. If it is a new or chronic condition- yes.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: canoecarrier
Posted 2013-02-01 13:42:59 and read 7757 times.

Quoting seven3seven (Reply 7):
The first officer did not get a career boost and, to put it bluntly, did not do an awesome job. By that I only mean he DID his job as any pilot flying the plane would do.

Probably with his coworkers he got a certain degree of respect boost, but either way he did his job and is and was before this event perfectly capable of landing the aircraft without the assistance of the PIC.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 8):
Flying the airplane isn't the hard part. Flying the airplane and dealing with a high stress situation you're now the only one left is. There is a lot more involved with this than actually manipulating the controls.

This isn't the first time an event like this has happened. He sounded quite calm in the audio that's been on the news lately. Stressful situation, absolutely, dangerous, not at all. I do wonder if they had a FA go to the cockpit though.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):
Very good work on the F/O.

Couldn't agree more.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):
He also had to co-ordinate the diversion, probably through Med-Link,

I could be wrong, but I seem to remember my ex-employer had the FAs coordinate medical care through Med-Link not the pilot. The pilot would deal with ATC and communicate with the FAs regarding what they thought the ground emergency response should be after they talked to Med-link. It sounds like once he went back to the passenger area they gave him O2 and he got better. Not an unusual occurrence for a passenger to fall ill and need emergency O2, I can remember at least a dozen times I've seen that happen. Here it just happened to be the PIC.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 14:02:22 and read 7483 times.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 30):
I could be wrong, but I seem to remember my ex-employer had the FAs coordinate medical care through Med-Link not the pilot. The pilot would deal with ATC and communicate with the FAs regarding what they thought the ground emergency response should be after they talked to Med-link.

I'm not sure of the procedure in the USA, but this is not the case in my airline. We contact Medlink by HF radio, we do this through the headset and it is selected through the audio selector panel. In the event of a passenger illness requiring us to contact Medlink one pilot will concentrate on that communication using information gleaned by the Cabin Crew. The Cabin Crew contacting medlink themselves would require them to have a decent working knowledge of the radio's including how to tune the radio and broadcast messages, they would also need a suitable headset as well. I cannot imagine Medlink being used in the event of a pilot incapacitation because the remaining pilot would have a workload that would make it impossible to contact them.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: planemaker
Posted 2013-02-01 14:19:31 and read 7222 times.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 27):
"..........I think all stories such as this one should be "readily available" in order to quickly present to ANY regulatory body, even THINKING about certifying any "new" pax-carrying plane for single pilot operation.

Not an issue. When a "regulatory body" certifies SP ops at some point in the future, there will be at least two or more options available to land the aircraft.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: canoecarrier
Posted 2013-02-01 14:23:59 and read 7183 times.

Quoting EGGD (Reply 31):

After going back and looking at the initial press release my airline put out, I'm almost positive the contact between MedLink and the aircraft is done between a physician and a FA. That said, I can't say certainly that the the FAs are the sole contact between the physician and crew on board.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: golfradio
Posted 2013-02-01 14:30:12 and read 7076 times.

If he is a eleven year veteran with AS, as is reported, he could have been a captain on a different type. He is in no way a low timer so not surprising that he handled it professionally. So not sure if this gives him a career boost or if he even needs one.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: johnbecker
Posted 2013-02-01 14:33:23 and read 7102 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
If we felt it necessary to meet the needs of the emergency we would find a way to ask, but most airline pilots I know, myself included, would rather handle the situation and leave the people in back out of it, fellow airline, corporate or perhaps military pilots not withstanding. Not out of ego or machoism but out of practicality. We are trained for situations like this and generally the procedures we have make the situation while tense, and stressful, doable by the lone remaining pilot. I realize this sounds like a contradiction to what I said earlier, but someone on board without airline or even professional flying experience will be of little help simply because said person likely doesn't know how to or what to do. The time it would take to explain something or help them do something could be better spent doing it yourself and with less stress.

Please understand I don't say anything above to be condescending. I realize it might be construed as such but realize that I spent a few thousand hours flying all manner of general aviation and have since spent a few thousand hours flying airline operations. In my own humble opinion formed from experience and learning from others, the two worlds are too different for someone without professional flying experience to be of enough help to bring them up front.

Condescending? Of course not. Hell I'm a retired 737 pilot and would be more in the way than an assist at this point. You don't need to be training a pilot, AND handling this particular situation, you're a busy man up there alone and can quite adequately able to bring it in alone.

Quoting bwphoto (Reply 19):
Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?

God No, for what? Some Coffee?

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: BoeingGuy
Posted 2013-02-01 14:45:29 and read 6841 times.

Quoting johnbecker (Reply 35):
Quoting bwphoto (Reply 19):
Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?

God No, for what? Some Coffee?

How about to competently assist with something more than getting some coffee, like, to read the QRH checklists or work the radios. Remember the AA 763 landing at ORD a few years ago with an incapacitated pilot? One of the Flight Attendants came up and did an admirable job in the right seat. Last I heard, not all flight attendants are just waitresses. Look at their performance in that ORD incident or accidents like AF358 where they got 250 people off a burning airplane in less than 90 seconds. That indicates a lot skill and training beyond getting you your coffee.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: Alasizon
Posted 2013-02-01 14:49:13 and read 6801 times.

Quoting golfradio (Reply 34):
If he is a eleven year veteran with AS, as is reported, he could have been a captain on a different type. He is in no way a low timer so not surprising that he handled it professionally. So not sure if this gives him a career boost or if he even needs one.

As I recall, and I may be wrong, but all AS pilots are in the same class since they only fly the 737 series and I believe most if not all pilots are good to go on both classic and NG.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 14:52:01 and read 6751 times.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 33):
After going back and looking at the initial press release my airline put out, I'm almost positive the contact between MedLink and the aircraft is done between a physician and a FA. That said, I can't say certainly that the the FAs are the sole contact between the physician and crew on board.

I am sure that is entirely possible. Unless the process of contacting medlink is different, I would assume that one of the flight crew would have made the initial contact through HF radio and then passed their headset to the crew member to converse with the medlink operative. In our airline though, the procedure is to receive the information from the cabin crew member including a completed 'medlink form' filled with all the details of the ill passenger that medlink will most likely need. It would then be up to the medlink representative and the flight crew member to discuss the most appropriate course of action.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: canoecarrier
Posted 2013-02-01 15:06:56 and read 6575 times.

Quoting EGGD (Reply 38):

I wonder what AS's protocol is when this happens. If one pilot goes to the lav most US airlines have a FA come into the cockpit. It's possible that they would have a protocol where if one pilot is incapacitated he/she would be replaced by a FA as well. In that case, it's possible the FA would likely be tasked with communicating with Med-Link via HF so the remaining pilot could fly the plane.

Either way, the FAs have direct contact in almost every case of a passenger with a medical condition, that's why I remember it might be that they are a primary contact with ground based physicians.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: Aaron747
Posted 2013-02-01 15:34:37 and read 6225 times.

Quoting type-rated (Reply 21):
I imagine this pilots medical cert will be under review before he returns to flying. They'll have to figure out why he passed out and if the same circumstances could happen again before he is released to fly.

You betcha. There are various reasons a person might experience unconsciousness; unfortunately some of them are harbingers of serious cardiovascular conditions that would certainly cancel one's first class medical certification.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: EGGD
Posted 2013-02-01 15:47:06 and read 6078 times.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 39):
I wonder what AS's protocol is when this happens. If one pilot goes to the lav most US airlines have a FA come into the cockpit. It's possible that they would have a protocol where if one pilot is incapacitated he/she would be replaced by a FA as well. In that case, it's possible the FA would likely be tasked with communicating with Med-Link via HF so the remaining pilot could fly the plane.

Either way, the FAs have direct contact in almost every case of a passenger with a medical condition, that's why I remember it might be that they are a primary contact with ground based physicians.

Quite possible, we do not have the same operating procedure unless the door entry system is inoperative. Our procedures are quite open to pilot interpretation and the onus is on the operating crew to make the most appropriate decisions in the individual situation. It would be a judgement to be made on the day as the flight crew memeber may decide that considering the circumstances having a crew member assist them during an emergency may increase their workload rather than reduce it.

If the Captain/First Officer was in a none critical state then the operating pilot may elect to use another crew member to assist with contacting Medlink but a lot of the communication would still have to run through the pilot. The HF radio is not easy to use, I don't like using it for communication even when workload is extremely slow, so trying to guide someone through it during a reasonably serious in flight situation could be undesirable. The decision whether to divert and where to divert to would also have to be made by the remaining pilot so I would imagine the cabin crew members input the situation would be at most a brief description/discussion of the sick or ill person(s).

If the Captain/First Officer was in a critical state then contacting medlink wouldn't be viable, it would be a case of diverting to the nearest suitable airport and in that instance I would rely on the ATS I was in contact with to give me the best possible information and make a decision from there.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: futureualpilot
Posted 2013-02-01 16:04:11 and read 5894 times.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 20):
A month later, I got a very nice letter from UAL Flight Ops thanking me for my offer, a nice touch.

We certainly appreciate offers, particularly in the manner you went about it.

Quoting bwphoto (Reply 19):
Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?

It is possible. There are a number of FAs who have undergone some flight training, or have learned how to do different tasks on the equipment they work on regularly but I wouldn't unless I knew this about the FA and trusted them. If things went from bad to worse, I'd rather have them in the back to get people out than up front with me.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
The training material that I've seen for an Incapacitated Pilot says to consider using anyone in the back who may be qualified (e.g. a deadheading pilot who you are familiar with). Like many things, it's up to the other pilot's discretion whether to do so.

Absolutely, it would be unwise to ignore the fact that there could be someone in back perfectly capable of being an asset during an emergency. What is considered "qualified" is a gray area though.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 23):
An AS pilot once told me that they sometimes train for this during recurring training. They hand one pilot a note in the simulator telling him to act like he's passing out. Then the other guy needs to recognize it and take control of the airplane. All modern airplanes are capable of being landed by one pilot. Some airlines train flight attendants how to read the checklists up front. Not sure if AS does this.

Most airlines train for this and have steps to follow should this happen. I don't know of many that train FAs to read checklists, if any but that isn't to say it doesn't happen.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 30):
This isn't the first time an event like this has happened. He sounded quite calm in the audio that's been on the news lately. Stressful situation, absolutely, dangerous, not at all.

No reason to freak out, you still have a job to do. Dangerous only in the sense that now there is one stressed out pilot up front and nobody to share the workload with. If an unfortunate event like this has to happen, it is fortunate that it did occur in the lower 48 near a big city and not up in the great white north.

Quoting johnbecker (Reply 35):
Condescending? Of course not. Hell I'm a retired 737 pilot

Happy retirement!

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 39):
If one pilot goes to the lav most US airlines have a FA come into the cockpit. It's possible that they would have a protocol where if one pilot is incapacitated he/she would be replaced by a FA as well. In that case, it's possible the FA would likely be tasked with communicating with Med-Link via HF so the remaining pilot could fly the plane.

I doubt most FAs know how to operate the HF radios or contact med-link. A few might, but this isn't the reason they go up front.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: johnbecker
Posted 2013-02-01 16:16:54 and read 5759 times.

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 36):
How about to competently assist with something more than getting some coffee, like, to read the QRH checklists or work the radios. Remember the AA 763 landing at ORD a few years ago with an incapacitated pilot? One of the Flight Attendants came up and did an admirable job in the right seat. Last I heard, not all flight attendants are just waitresses. Look at their performance in that ORD incident or accidents like AF358 where they got 250 people off a burning airplane in less than 90 seconds. That indicates a lot skill and training beyond getting you your coffee.

They're not all "female" either as you've articulated in the waitresses statement, while obviously trying to defend the female's role in flight ops for some reason. They handle the back, and they do it well, that's what they're trained for. Up front? I wouldn't never have wanted one up there in this same scenario because unless I couldn't handle it for some reason, (Which I can/could) they'd be a distraction trying to keep them up to speed while handling everything else. You have to keep in mind. We land these airplanes over and over and over again, checklists are redundant (Necessary redundancy) but still redundant. The captain becoming incapacitated is not the same as an inflight mechanical failure. So in these instances, it's an extra load to handle it alone, but procedurally speaking, nothing out of the ordinary. I don't speak for every pilot, I speak for myself, which is, I don't want any "help".

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: HiFlyerAS
Posted 2013-02-01 16:21:49 and read 5717 times.

Enough with the condescending remarks about Flight Attendants. Especially from retired pilots who should know better.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: DTWPurserBoy
Posted 2013-02-01 16:28:33 and read 5628 times.

Flight attendants are trained how to remove an incapacitated pilot from the cockpit as a routine part of our training. If necessary, one of us could operate the radios under the instruction of the remaining pilot and if all else fails I can scream really loud on 121.5.

The person who said this was a "career boost" for the f/o is 1. Obviously not a crew member and 2. A jerk for making a comment like that. We are a TEAM and we operate as one under the chain of command. That is the way professionals behave. And unless I knew that I had a QUALIFIED pilot rated on the airplane type in the cabin (YES, show me your type rating!) I would not bother the flying pilot with a business card. He/she has their hands full.

Why is it that more and more on a.net we see inane comments like these from pilot or airline wanna-be's? Is it the "I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night" syndrome?

My heartfelt best wishes to the fellow crewmember who became ill--hopefully it was nothing worse than the flu. And a great big hug to the rest of the crew that continued to do their jobs professionally and as a team. Debriefing is on me tonight. Nice work, folks. You kept your crew, your passengers and your aircraft (yes, in that order) safe and secure and got needed medical attention for your team member.

This subject is a sore point with me right now--just two days ago a colleague of over 30 years had a heart attack while on a layover in MAD. Thankfully, he received expert medical attention and will be home in a day or two. This is not a subject to be flip or cute about. Real people and good friends are involved.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-02-01 16:46:16 and read 5472 times.

Quoting bwphoto (Reply 19):
Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 45):
Flight attendants are trained how to remove an incapacitated pilot from the cockpit as a routine part of our training. If necessary, one of us could operate the radios under the instruction of the remaining pilot and if all else fails I can scream really loud on 121.5.

When the first officier on an AC 763 en route from YYZ to LHR in January 2008 had some type of mental breakdown and had to be removed from the cockpit, a flight attendant (female) who held a commercial multi-engine rating and an expired instrument rating assisted the captain for the remainder of the flight. It diverted to SNN.
http://aircrewbuzz.blogspot.ch/2008/...nada-flight-attendant-praised.html

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: cornutt
Posted 2013-02-01 17:23:08 and read 5052 times.

Quoting rcair1 (Reply 29):
I hope, that if you found the crew responding somewhat 'offish' that we are focused too. When I'm running a scene, and I have resources, I will assign crew members to check with the "crowd" and make sure everybody is doing well.

Oh not at all, they were fine. When they arrived, I knew they were going to be busy. I let them know that I was the one who called, and showed them to the cube of the person who was in distress, then I got out of the way. They were there for about half an hour. The co-worker eventually became coherent again and she declined to be transported, but her husband came and took her to their family doctor.

I was actually kind of PO'ed at the base command because they don't seem to have provided the first responders with SOPs for accessing the complex, or maps for which areas are where. There was a security gate in the parking lot that they have not been provided an access card for; they had to get out of the truck and bodily push the gate open. The first responders are on base and have clearances, so there's no excuse for that. I sent another co-worker to the entrance to meet them and show them through the building. To bring this back on topic, I assume that airports have SOPs for how and where first responders should access aircraft in a given situation. That sort of thing, as I found out, is really important in an emergency situation.

And yeah, this was a nice quiet office environment. I can't imagine the chaos of single pilot trying to land an airliner with the increased task loading, the chaos of the other pilot being attended to, and the worry about a friend and co-worker.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: olddominion727
Posted 2013-02-01 17:34:41 and read 4927 times.

Forgive me for asking this obvious scenario to some, but I am not a pilot. Shouldn't the co-pilot have the identical abilities to fly that aircraft? I hope the pilot is ok, but it's always amazing to me why it is such a big deal when the co-pilot takes over. I was flying UA Shuttle LAX-OAK and on landing the Captain announced the first officer flew the entire flight. What am I missing? Again I hope the pilot is ok...

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: F9animal
Posted 2013-02-01 17:35:30 and read 4940 times.

News is saying that the captain had a stomach bug or food poisoning. Which brings up a question. If this is true... Is it not considered a medical condition? If it is confirmed to be a bug or food poisoning, does the captain stand a good chance to return back to flying in the near future?

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: captainstefan
Posted 2013-02-01 17:39:38 and read 4893 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 42):
No reason to freak out, you still have a job to do.

A good bit of advice I give myself (student pilot) when flying solo: The first few times, it can be a little scary - but I always tell myself that if I fly scared, I'll die. Being cautious is one thing, but when you get scared/freak out you start making irrational and possibly unsafe decisions, which can lead to serious problems. Keeping composure (as futureualpilot mentioned) is critical, and seems to be how this FO conducted himself.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: futureualpilot
Posted 2013-02-01 17:48:29 and read 4808 times.

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 48):
Shouldn't the co-pilot have the identical abilities to fly that aircraft? I hope the pilot is ok, but it's always amazing to me why it is such a big deal when the co-pilot takes over.

Yes, First Officers these days must hold an ATP and receive the same training Captains go through. Each must pass the same check ride, each now earns a PIC type on the aircraft they are trained on and each are held to the same standards. Captains are the ones who sign on the dotted line, they ultimately accept responsibility for the safety and legality of the flight and the final decision rests with them. (Yes, at the airline level they share responsibility with the dispatcher but even then the Captain has the final say, lets keep that for a different discussion).

The notion that "co-pilots" don't fly or are not as well trained is a common misperception the public seems to have for a number of reasons. Traditionally speaking the Captain is the more experienced aviator and more time in type than the FO but not always. These days it is not uncommon to come across crews where the FO has more than a decade of experience, often on the particular type being flown (as is the case with the AS incident) and even at the regional level there are thousands of First Officers who have thousands of hours and years in the right seat. For example, I recently flew a trip where I had roughly the same amount of total time and more time in type than the Captain because they upgraded from a different aircraft, having not flown the airplane I fly yet.

As far as who actually flies the airplane, most, if not all airline crews try to split the flying evenly with the Captain and the First Officer sharing an equal number of legs as Pilot Flying and Pilot Monitoring. To me it is a bigger deal that the airplane was landed single pilot, than the fact that it happened to be the FO who handled the emergency.

[Edited 2013-02-01 17:54:17]

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: Alasizon
Posted 2013-02-01 18:06:02 and read 4559 times.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 51):
For example, I recently flew a trip where I had roughly the same amount of total time and more time in type than the Captain because they upgraded from a different aircraft, having not flown the airplane I fly yet.

I have ran into many crews where this is the case, particularly at the regional level.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: longhauler
Posted 2013-02-01 18:26:48 and read 4368 times.

Quoting EGGD (Reply 24):
I'm surprised by the inclusion of a (highly improbable) engine fire after the Captain has fallen over on the takeoff roll, but I like the idea that these sort of scenarios are getting thrown into the simulator to give us some more 'lateral' thinking.

While it sounds like cruel torture, the intent is to show each crew member what the other is required to do. It was always done on "practise day" and more often than not, it was done to a very high standard.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 30):
I could be wrong, but I seem to remember my ex-employer had the FAs coordinate medical care through Med-Link not the pilot. The pilot would deal with ATC and communicate with the FAs regarding what they thought the ground emergency response should be after they talked to Med-link.

It was done this way, when there were phones in the back. The F/A's has a special number for Medlink, and they would start the process rolling from there. It worked well this way, as they often could describe the condition of the ill passenger better.

Now that the phones have been removed, the F/A's fill out a form and pass it to the cockpit, where we call Medlink, usually through Arinc.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 46):
When the first officer on an AC 763 en route from YYZ to LHR in January 2008 had some type of mental breakdown and had to be removed from the cockpit, a flight attendant (female) who held a commercial multi-engine rating and an expired instrument rating assisted the captain for the remainder of the flight.

From what I understand, she did an excellent job. She had several thousand hours flying for a small jet charter company in Montreal. The In-Charge Flight Attendant was also an experienced commercial pilot, but he was required in the cabin to command his crew, as they have a lot on their plate as well, with the diversion. And that would be my only concern with "using" one of the F/A's ... as they have a job to do in the back as well, can it still be done with one crew-member short?

Luckily it was a B767-300 with 4 doors and 4 windows, had it been one of the ships with 8 doors, it may not have been legal!

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: bwphoto
Posted 2013-02-01 18:39:40 and read 4263 times.

When i asked whether an FA would be asked to come up front, it had more to do with having jjust one person behind a locked cockpit door - what if something happened to that pilot?

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: rcair1
Posted 2013-02-01 21:15:29 and read 3131 times.

Quoting cornutt (Reply 47):
That sort of thing, as I found out, is really important in an emergency situation.

Yes - we carry master "keys". They are about 6 ft long and most call them bolt cutters. We also have extrication gear (jaws of life) which can open most gates/doors quite nicely. We even train to open a locked door using them without doing much/any damage.

Funny story - I got paged to help rescue a cow from a cattle guard once. Bessie had casually walked onto the cattle guard and fallen through. I've done this with horses, and that is exciting, but cows are kind of 'quiet' usually. The vet sedated here a bit and then I used the spreader to break the welds on the cattle guard and spread the rails. BTW - there was no way I was going to cut the rails - this was a home made cattle guard and the rails were really rails - as in Railroad Track.

Here's a photo of us spreading the rails..... - whoops - probably a little off subject.... never mind..

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 48):
Shouldn't the co-pilot have the identical abilities to fly that aircraft?

Yes - and they do all the time. Crews will typically split legs.

Quoting olddominion727 (Reply 48):
the co-pilot takes over. I was flying UA Shuttle LAX-OAK and on landing the Captain announced the first officer flew the entire flight. What am I missing?

Nothing - except that when there are 2 pilots up there, one is flying (PF - Pilot Flying) and one is PNF (pilot not flying) or PM (Pilot Monitoring). The PNF/PM is doing plenty - he/she is just not flying. The ship is designed for 2 crew members to be doing stuff.
So - when one is incapacitated, the one that is left has to do a lot more 'stuff'.

Can they - yes- absolutely. Is it normal - no. That is why he diverted and landed. Probably - since the captain seemed to be recovering - it was not a medical diversion - but due to the single pilot.

Topic: RE: AS Emergency Landing PDX. Captain Unconscious
Username: PassedV1
Posted 2013-02-01 23:08:32 and read 2469 times.

To answer some of the previous questions...

Quoting ultrapig (Reply 6):
Not to detract from the first officer's actions-but how difficult is it for a single pilot to land a modern jet when there is no mechanical problem. (And don't tell me that I couldn't do it because I know I couldn't!) .

Not very difficult at all. You just configure a little early, get setup so you have time to do the non-flying pilots duties to.

The underlying mis-understanding most non-pilots have is what the pilots "job" really is...and it is NOT most importantly to fly the airplane. Flying the airplane is the easy part, and if it were just about flying the airplane, then we would have been designed out of Flight Decks long ago as the computers have no problem flying the airplane. The hard part about this situation is not landing by yourself but deciding WHERE to land, what route to take to get there, etc. The airplane was on it's way to Seattle, over Southern Oregon. Considering the weather at the various airports, the condition of the Captain, etc you have numerous choices. Why not LMT? Why not continue to SEA? There are valid arguments for choosing either of those two options. The pilots job is to process all of the information and come out with the final decision of diverting to Portland.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
I can see some argument for this but we don't need every passenger with a certificate stopping up front while we're getting ready to go. If the situation calls for it, we'll find a way to ask.

Like others have already answered, unless you have closely related airline experience, your usefulness would be minimal at best, and a liability at worse. I

If it were me, I would gladly take the assistance of a company pilot or instructor or a pilot of another airline, but beyond that, I am thinking it would be more of a distraction than anything. Before I had a non-pilot read me a QRH procedure...I think I would get a hold of another company aircraft, and have them read it to me over the radio.

My answer might change slightly if it was a high workload environment and we had a long way to go. For example, if I was having to hand-fly the airplane from the middle of the pacific 2.5 hours to our intended landing. It might well be worth trying to get a Commercial pilot or the flight attendant up to speed with some basics, but not in the scenario presented in this case.

Quoting bwphoto (Reply 19):
Would an FA be asked to come up front to assist?

As far as the flight attendants go, they are highly trained and do there job very well. I need them in the back with the passengers to run the evacuation, that is where there skills/training would be most effectively utilized.

Quoting golfradio (Reply 34):
If he is a eleven year veteran with AS, as is reported, he could have been a captain on a different type. He is in no way a low timer so not surprising that he handled it professionally. So not sure if this gives him a career boost or if he even needs one.
Quoting Alasizon (Reply 37):
As I recall, and I may be wrong, but all AS pilots are in the same class since they only fly the 737 series and I believe most if not all pilots are good to go on both classic and NG.

Not exactly true, all pilots at Alaska Airlines are qualified on every aircraft Alaska Airlines flies. The junior Captain at Alaska Airlines right now has just under 12 years seniority, however, that is in the ANC base which many people do not opt for. If this FO wanted to be a CA in his current base of SEA he would have to have at least 14-15 years seniority at Alaska Airlines.

Some people were asking how the medlink system worked...

Medlink is basically a doctor in phoenix. There are 3 basic ways to reach the doctor, Sat Comm, VHF, or HF. Sat Comm works like a phone, VHF is for use over North America, and HF is for use going to Hawaii in the AS system.

In all cases the flight crew (CA/FO) will establish communication with Medlink and let them know the "pilot stuff" (i.e. position, ETA to destination, etc.) Once communications is established, the FA takes over briefing the doctor on the patient, (vital signs etc.) the doctor also prescribes medicine, and gives other instructions to the FA for the care of the patient. While this is happening, the CA/FO/Dispatcher are monitoring the communication. Once the Medlink doctor has his questions answered, they will RECCOMMEND either continuing to the destination or diverting to a closer airport. The final decision to divert or continue rests with the Captain. Once the Captain makes his/her decision, it is then Medlinks responsibility to coordinate the ambulance/medical care at the destination/diversion airport.


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