As we approach the end of the year, we are repeating our twenty most-read articles of 2023, in reverse order. This is number 11 and it was first published on August 29.
PILOT deaths are in the news again as three more have ‘died suddenly’ this month. IndiGo Captain Manoj Subramanyam, 40, suffered a cardiac arrest boarding at the gate at Nagpur airport. He died on his way to hospital. Qatar airlines lost a ‘very fit’ senior pilot aged 51 who died while travelling as a passenger on flight QR579 flight from Delhi to Doha. LATAM Flight LA505 from Miami to Santiago, Chile, was diverted to Panama after Captain Ivan Andaur, 56, collapsed and died in the toilet. In Alabama, a student pilot suffered a cardiac arrest and received CPR mid-flight. He was revived on the ground. Meanwhile there are reports of 15 other incidents involving pilot collapses and deaths. One caused a crash that killed everyone on board, including a two-year-old girl.
In March alone we reported on five pilots who either collapsed or died. Canadian physician Dr William Makis, author of more than 100 peer-reviewed medical publications, has also been tracking pilot deaths with numerous articles on his Substack page like this one from June 2023 that detailed four Singapore Airlines pilots who died suddenly, or with cancer.
Many think Covid vaccines, rolled out at the end of 2020, are to blame. Between 2021 and 2022, the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) ‘unfit to fly’ numbers showed a 75 per cent increase, while the RAF said that 27 per cent of their pilots were medically downgraded. All pilots need to demonstrate a less than one per cent chance of developing serious illness to pass their annual medical, which makes these numbers unusual.
Recent freedom of information (FOI) requests to the CAA and the RAF show an alarming increase in the number of commercial and armed forces pilots registered unfit to fly post the vaccination rollout.
Here are the CAA’s numbers from the last five years of all medically grounded commercial and private pilots:
· 2018 – 1,550 – normal year
· 2019 – 1,663 – first covid cases reported in December 2019
· 2020 – 851 – air travel restricted because of lockdowns, covid infections at their worst, no vaccine until December
· 2021 – 1,594 – vaccine widely available from January and mandated for US and Australian pilots in November but not for British, the majority of whom would have taken the vaccine or faced restrictions flying to countries with vaccine mandates
· 2022 – 2,784 – post vaccination, huge increase in failed medicals – 75 per cent.
More than 25 per cent is an unusual increase for RAF pilots, but what about the 75 per cent increase in commercial pilot groundings? The correspondence on this issue has been long and arduous but it seems that Brexit is partly to blame.
When we exited the European Union (EU), British pilots were registered with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). They had to de-register with EASA then re-register with the CAA. A CAA spokesman claimed this process accounted for the increased numbers, saying: ‘Around 8,000 pilots transferred their European licences to other EU countries and then applied for a UK licence in 2022. During this period there may have been applicants returning to the UK whose application was given a temporary “unfit” status whilst we obtained relevant medical information relating to declared medical conditions. This status would have been mostly recorded for administrative reasons.
‘One applicant could be made unfit and then fit on a number of occasions within a year and each of those instances will be counted in our reports. So, the same applicant can appear more than once on a report if they have multiple transactions with an aeromedical examiner, multiple limitations on their certificate, or indeed if they take several medications.’
I found this confusing, inconclusive and unconvincing, so I submitted a further FOI request on Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MORs), which are compulsory reports to the CAA about anything that might happen during a flight to endanger aircraft, crew, or passengers. The CAA would not confirm nor deny whether they held the information.
So I contacted their Safety Intelligence department last month in the hope that they would share MOR details. They said that EU Regulation 376/2014 meant that they could not reveal MOR information to the public or media; it was only for the purpose of maintaining or improving aviation safety. They said: ‘Our medical team have sight and regularly review MORs, and they initiate appropriate regulatory actions.’
A brick wall, but what about the RAF’s numbers? In January 2023, US Airforce Lieutenant Colonel Theresa Long, a board-certified aerospace medicine doctor and Army Brigade flight surgeon, raised the alarm for service personnel. She said: ‘I saw unusual diagnoses and alarming trends only after the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccinations.’ Dr Long testified in court that in just one afternoon she had heard from four pilots whose MRI scans showed they had myocarditis.
The US mandated Covid vaccines for their military in August 2021 even though Lt Col Long said that immunity gained from infection was superior to vaccination, and that ‘less that 20 active-duty personnel out of 1.4million died of the underlying SARs-CoV-2.’
RAF pilot numbers are registered on two levels: temporarily medically downgraded because of failed medicals but still allowed to fly depending on illness, for example a twisted ankle, and permanently medically downgraded because of failed medicals, though they can fly again if they recover.
Vaccination was not mandated, but a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that 97 per cent per cent of defence personnel accepted first jabs and 95 per cent accepted second jabs.
Here are the RAF figures:
2018 – 220
2019 – 220
2020 – 230
2021 – 240
2022 – 280
2018 – 60
2019 – 70
2020 – 90 – Covid-19 infections at their worst
2021 – 100 – armed forces offered jab in July
2022 – 90 – MoD confirmed 97 per cent of defence personnel vaccinated, though not pilot numbers
What does that mean to air safety and our country’s air security? Pilot activists US Freedom Flyers and Aussie Freedom Flyers say vaccine side-effects, known to cause heart inflammation, blood clots and strokes, are a factor in pilot incapacitations.
Former Virgin Australia captain Glen Waters from the pilot support group Aussie Freedom Flyers revealed disturbing information: ‘Heart attacks and strokes in our industry are extremely rare.
One specialised GP with aeromedical qualifications known as a Designated Medical Examiner (DAME) said he had seen a significant increase in the heart condition myocarditis (that can be fatal), and pericarditis. I thought it was one in a hundred but the DAME said no, it’s more like one in ten. He did say that a lot of the symptoms he’d seen were treatable and transient.
‘Privately, I’ve spoken to pilots who know they’re vaccine injured. One pilot hardly made it home from his second shot. It took him three and a half hours to drive an 80-minute journey. He had to keep pulling over because he was fainting and sweating. He thought he was going to die. He ended up with pericarditis and leukaemia.
‘Another pilot had myocarditis post vaccination and had six months off work. He was hoping to get paid off through his insurance. After eight months his cardiologist said “I think you’re over it, you can go back to work”, and his DAME was prepared to give his medical [permission to fly] back. He said: “I don’t know why because I can hardly function. I wouldn’t survive a 12-hour day at work, and I don’t want to try.” He never got a payoff.
‘A third pilot in that situation got his medical back and did one day at work and it almost killed him. He resigned the next day. Now he has a carpet cleaning business.’
Despite a spike in pilot incapacitations and deaths no one in authority will investigate the Covid vaccination as a cause, terrified of liability. We do need to know the truth so if you are a commercial or RAF pilot who can shed light on what is happening, please contact Sally Beck here. email@example.com