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Qantas pilot allowed to carry on flying... despite having urges to crash planes

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03/23/2010 05:38 AM
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Qantas pilot allowed to carry on flying... despite having urges to crash planes
A jumbo jet pilot has told how he repeatedly had overwhelming urges to crash the planes he was flying.

Bryan Griffin said that once he even had to 'immobilise' his arm to prevent him trying to down a Qantas passenger jet.

His hand had 'involuntarily moved towards the start levers' on the journey to Singapore.

The compulsion to cut out the engines was so strong, he had to leave the flight deck and did not return until he had calmed down.

The pilot revealed during a compensation hearing how he was also afflicted by urges to scream and cry, ignored instructions, and repeatedly missed radio and altitude calls.

But despite his health problems and seeing several doctors he was declared fit and kept on flying.

Mr Griffin said he fought the destructive urges to switch off his plane's engines for three years.

Even as his disorder worsened, he continued to work. He told colleagues and again he saw numerous doctors and psychiatrists before being given extended leave to recuperate.

But, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, he nevertheless returned to flying despite his health problems.

Eventually Mr Griffin resigned with severe obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. His alarming testimony emerged as he won £97,000 compensation from Qantas for not recognising that his condition had left him mentally unfit to be in charge of a plane.

A report by Mr Griffin's psychiatrist concluded the airline had failed to fully understand his serious mental health problems.

The company also failed to consider 'the danger which he brought to passengers and the public generally, should he have crashed an aircraft'.

The psychiatrist concluded Mr Griffin should have been medically retired when he was suffering his acute problems. The Workers Compensation Commission found that the pilot's condition had been worsened by continuing to work for Qantas until he resigned in 1982.

The panel ordered the airline to pay £97,000 compensation for loss of earnings plus Mr Griffin's medical and legal costs.

It said the evidence was 'overwhelmingly' that his 'obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety spectrum symptoms deteriorated because he continued to perform flying duties for Qantas'.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that Qantas was considering an appeal against the ruling.

[link to www.dailymail.co.uk]

Did the iron in your blood and calcium in your bones come from a long-ago supernova? Astronomer and writer Carl Sagan thought so. "We are star stuff", Sagan once said.
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We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands.

__Carl Sagan___