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Should Airline Pilots be Given a brief health Checkup before each flight?
A major airline's pilot died from a heart attack last week while flying across country. The pilot took over and none of the passengers knew the situation until they landed. Should pilots and co pilots get a health checkup before each long distance flight? Isn't this a matter of public safety and trust?
I do believe that pilots and co-pilots should have frequent and intense checkups, but I think the science just isn't to the point that checkups right before every long flight would be worthwhile. They'd only add to the prep time and increase pilot stress and tiredness, both of which are already problems, without providing a substantial chance of catching major issues.
A quick look-over by a doctor wouldn't predict a heart attack, anyway. Current medical tests don't have a sterling record of predicting heart attacks or even detecting heart attacks while they are occurring.
I just heard on the news that pilots are given complete medical physicals every six months. Although it was unfortunate what happened recently, the co-pilot's are trained and fully capable of flying the plane. Tragic as this situation was fortunately there was a co-pilot.
The mentioned incident is one of the very few one that took place in case of the pilots. For that we cannot question the medical checkup facilities with which the pilots are entertained. Also there is hardly any long distance flight before which the pilots don't go through routine checkup. These routine checkups are enough to ensure that the plane is being handed to a healthily pilot. What we can do is to ensure that the medical staff of the plane remains more alert and conscious. Because in the mentioned incident, the passengers come to know the reality upon landing! If the planes' medical staff stay very much alert and take necessary steps in emergency situations like this, hopefully we will be able to get better results in the upcoming future. Still we must remember that we have no hands upon anyone's death. So whatever measure we take if death is destined of a person on a particular day, we cannot stop that to happen.
Also if any pilot doesn't feel fully sound with regards to health, he/she should report the authority immediately so that they exclude him from that particular flight. This will reduce the chances of unwanted occurrence and the passengers will have a better chance of enjoying a safe journey.
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