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MedAv
Topic Author
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:55 pm

Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:51 am

I was shocked reading this story.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-28778728

Essentially this Flybe captain has a prosthetic left arm, which became detached while flaring during the landing and he lost control of the yoke. He then let go of the power levers to grab the yoke, which meant he couldn't reduce the power, resulting in a fast and bouncy landing...

I'm all for treating the disabled with dignity and accommodation, but my first reaction is that this is madness; utter madness. This plane could have easily crashed and killed all aboard. Heck, we barely let people who have heart conditions, seizures, etc fly aircraft and for good reason.

[Edited 2014-08-13 20:55:34]
 
sierrakilo44
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RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:12 am

Quoting MedAv (Thread starter):
I'm all for treating the disabled with dignity and accommodation, but my first reaction is that this is madness; utter madness. This plane could have easily crashed and killed all aboard. Heck, we barely let people who have heart conditions, seizures, etc fly aircraft and for good reason.

Actually this incident was not caused by the fact the pilot had a prosthetic limb, but the fact that the pilot forgot to check it was properly attached, something he will no doubt check thoroughly in the future. Or the civil aviation authority will mandate better prosthetic limb attachments. Believe it or not there are many pilots around the world who fly effectively and safely with prosthetic limbs, Douglas Bader anyone? Let's not rush to a kneejerk reaction.

Use this as an example. Some pilot wear glasses. It's a requirement to carry a second pair whilst flying. One day a pilot goes to work and forgets to check the second pair is in their flight bag. They drop and break their first pair. Should we now ground all pilots who wear glasses because of this incident? Of course not. There are many risk mitigators used when a person who has some medical condition has a pilot's license (a requirement to fly multi crew ops only, a spare set of glasses, properly attached prosthetic limbs)
 
MedAv
Topic Author
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:55 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:21 am

Fair point about glasses; I wear them myself. I don't question these pilots' flying abilities. I guess what bothers me about the arm specifically is that if something does go wrong while you're holding on to the yoke, disaster can take just a little nudge of the yoke in the wrong direction. Losing glasses, even most medical conditions like a 'small' heart attack, doesn't usually introduce a mechanical force into the cockpit.

Douglas Bader flew a fighter aircraft, I believe, and obviously in wartime; somewhat different than flying a plane full of people. I'm not surprised about the number of pilots flying with prosthesis, but am surprised they're allowed to fly commercial. Obviously they're not in the news so this is a very uncommon event and I agree it can be prevented, but I wonder what the public reaction would've been had this ended in disaster.
 
elmothehobo
Posts: 988
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:10 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:34 am

There are also two pilots on board. While passing off controls while flaring isn't really feasible or reasonable, it is for the other 98% of the flight.

Let's not overreact to what is an isolated incident.
 
MesaFlyGuy
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:36 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:37 am

Quoting sierrakilo44 (Reply 1):
They drop and break their first pair. Should we now ground all pilots who wear glasses because of this incident? Of course not.

Hopefully not, or I'm screwed!  
 
ukoverlander
Posts: 413
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RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:41 am

This is an overblown story in my opinion. The pilot in question has in any case, to routinely demonstrate his piloting skills and pass his regular checks (and probably more so than other able-bodied pilots - though that should not be the case). Flybe operates two man flight crews and i have know doubt the pilot not flying was more than ready and able to step in if necessary.

If you want to go after somebody here it should not be the pilot (who flies with a fully legal commercial pilots license). It becomes a regulatory issue, and I have no doubt that no 'free passes' are being given out to pilots with prosthetic limbs.

This pilot is I'm sure, as capable as any other out there and this story (no matter how unfortunate) is newsworthy (only) because of a prosthetic limb - not because the lives of passengers were endangered.
 
AR385
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:43 am

The TACA captain who landed his 737-300 in a levy in New Orleans had only one eye. The other one was a glass prosthetic. He was nominated for an AW&ST airmanship award for that year. I don´t think pilots with prosthetic limbs or other organs should be banned, as long as they display the same qualifications as "full limbed".
 
Dogbreath
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:49 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:27 am

This is a multi-crew airplane. Just 'hand over' to the other pilot.   
 
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seahawk
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RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:31 am

2 pilots in the cockpit - enough safety.
 
Revo1059
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:14 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:19 pm

Wow, I just don't know. A pilots job requires the use of both arms (and hands). Natural limbs just don't fall off if not connected properly. Even with glasses, if they fall off the pilot still has control of the A/C. The example of the pilot with one eye doesn't compare because he doesn't rely on that prosthetic eye to do anything. This pilot relies on his prosthetic arm and it failed at a critical point. I think any disabilities should be taken on a case by case basis........so basically one eye, ok, one arm....nope.
 
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scbriml
Posts: 20304
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:42 pm

Let's just be clear on one thing here - his prosthetic arm did not 'fall off'. The clamp used to attach it to the yolk became detached, so he effectively 'let go of the yolk'. Unfortunately, this was at a crucial stage of the landing.

I'm not a pilot, but I'm a little surprised he didn't ask the co-pilot to take over, even at that late point.
 
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AA777223
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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:12 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:55 pm

Quoting ukoverlander (Reply 5):
It becomes a regulatory issue, and I have no doubt that no 'free passes' are being given out to pilots with prosthetic limbs.

I love how regulation is the answer to everything in our litigious, politically correct society. What are now called "Regulatory Issues," used to be called common sense.

[Edited 2014-08-14 10:55:44]
 
Revo1059
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:14 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:00 pm

Quote:
Let's just be clear on one thing here - his prosthetic arm did not 'fall off'

Correct, I was being very general and not entirely accurate.
 
KC135Hydraulics
Posts: 443
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:05 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:30 pm

You have to admit that Flyby has reacted well to this incident. It's refreshing to see that instead of hanging the guy out to dry, they supported him and learned everything. Employees with sterling records who make a mistake deserve a second chance. Good for them.
 
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Tugger
Posts: 11569
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:38 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:42 pm

Quoting seahawk (Reply 8):
2 pilots in the cockpit - enough safety.

Thought just popped in my head: Can two pilots with a physical limitation (lets say each has a prosthetic limb) be pilot/co-pilot team in the cockpit at the same time? Or there a rule on this?

Tugg
 
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Aesma
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RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:28 pm

It is indeed up to the regulators, I know that for example eyesight requirements are not the same for an FAA medical and an European one, leading European pilots to go work in the US.
 
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Dano1977
Posts: 760
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:49 pm

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:55 pm

Quoting Tugger (Reply 14):
You have to admit that Flyby has reacted well to this incident.

Lets also be clear, the only reason this has come to light, is because the pilot reported the incident to the AAIB.
 
KELPkid
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

RE: Pilot's Prosthetic Arm Detaches During Landing

Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:12 pm

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 16):
Lets also be clear, the only reason this has come to light, is because the pilot reported the incident to the AAIB

He might have been forced to, if, for example, ACARS recorded a hard landing. The pilot's superiors would definitely want to know why!

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