As we approach the end of the year, we are repeating the top twenty most-read articles of 2023, in reverse order. This is number 7 and it was first published on March 27.
‘MAYDAY! Mayday!’ is something no airline pilot wants to say, and no passenger wants to hear, but this month Virgin Australia, Emirates, United and Southwest airlines have all turned back aircraft or made emergency landings because air crew have suffered serious health incidents. A British Airways pilot died of a heart attack just before he was due to fly a plane from Egypt.
Here’s the timeline:
· March 3: Virgin Australia crew received a memo describing why flight VARA A320 from Adelaide to Perth returned 30 minutes into the journey: ‘The First Officer [co-pilot] became unwell. A return to Adelaide was considered the best course of action by the captain.’
· March 11: United flight 2007 from Guatemala to Chicago was diverted because the captain had chest pains, landing at George Bush airport in Houston.
· March 12: It is reported that a British Airways pilot collapsed and died in a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, shortly before he was due to fly.
· March 13: Emirates flight EK205 from Milan turned back because the co-pilot felt unwell 90 minutes after take-off.
· March 22: Josh Yoder, President of US Freedom Flyers, an organisation fighting vaccine mandates for airline staff, tweeted: ‘On a Southwest flight departing Las Vegas, the captain became incapacitated soon after take-off. He was replaced by a non-Southwest pilot who was commuting on that flight.’
According to pilot and medical aviation doctor Jackie Stone, airline pilots have Class One medical clearance. This means they are extremely fit and extremely healthy, with less than a 1 per cent chance per year of having a medical incident that could immobilise them. They receive extensive annual medicals and are grounded if an incapacitating condition is picked up.
This makes the above highly unusual, and the favourite explanation for this increase is vaccine injury. Especially as we now know vaccines can cause myocarditis, heart inflammation which can cause heart attacks, and blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes, although authorities claim these are ‘rare’.
Glen Waters, a member of Aussie Freedom Flyers, a group fighting aviation vaccine mandates, is a former captain with Virgin Australia whose career was terminated on its twentieth anniversary for refusing the Covid jab. He said: ‘Injuries in aviation following Covid-19 vaccination are occurring and data is not being vigilantly collected or reported. We have a growing list of anecdotal post-vaccination injury reports from pilots, and other staff, across the airline industry.’
Captain Lee Maisey, who worked for Jetstar, New Zealand (owned by Qantas), was fired after 13 years for not being fully vaccinated. She not only suffered vaccine injury but felt her employer was unsympathetic. She said: ‘In November 2021, I reluctantly took a first dose of Pfizer vaccine because I was threatened with being fired. Ten days later I was walking on the beach when my feet went a funny colour, then my legs started going numb and tingly. By the end of the day both arms and both legs were just fizzing.
‘My heart would miss beats and I’d have palpitations.
‘Then came the insomnia. I lay down in bed and my eyes just didn’t shut. It was like that all night. I found out later that this is a side-effect of the vaccine.
‘I told my bosses at Jetstar what was happening. They were not sympathetic. They arranged for me to speak with an aviation medical doctor over the phone. His response to my side-effects was “Yes, that’s normal.”
‘The second was the head of medical. I spent over two hours on the phone, and I was particularly worried about the insomnia. On any other occasion that would be enough to pull my medical [clearance to fly]. I asked her if this would happen, and she said: “It’s up to you.” Which I found remarkable.’
International airline pilot Brit Malone (not his real name) was injured by the AstraZeneca vaccine, not recommended by the FAA but available to pilots outside the US. He was advised not to have another AZ vaccine, but his airline then insisted he get a dose of Pfizer so that he had received the recommended two doses.
Mr Malone said: ‘I succumbed to pressure and had the first dose of AstraZeneca. While I was flying, I was aware of this pain forming in my leg. I didn’t pay too much attention, I go to the gym a lot and thought I’d pulled a muscle.
‘I woke up one morning and found a blue line up the inside of my leg. It was a blood clot. I was off work for three months on blood thinners. It’s been confirmed by a number of specialists that it was vaccine-related.’ Mr Malone has since been diagnosed with cancer and has a 17cm tumour in his liver.
Josh Yoder of US Freedom Flyers said: ‘To ensure passenger safety the pilot medical should be updated to include d-dimer tests, which pick up blood clots, and troponin tests, which measure troponin proteins released when the heart muscle has been damaged.’
Many airlines mandated Covid-19 vaccines even though pilots are not allowed to take part in drug trials and are allowed to receive only approved medication which has been in general use for a minimum of 12 months. The Covid vaccines were, and are still, experimental and we are currently in phase four trials, so pilots should have been exempt.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s recommendations are followed globally by all aviation governing bodies. The FAA website says: ‘The FAA generally requires at least one year of post-marketing experience with a new drug before consideration for aeromedical certification purposes. This observation period allows time for uncommon, but aeromedically significant, adverse effects to manifest themselves.’
Some airlines, especially in Australia and New Zealand, simply sacked pilots refusing to have a Covid vaccination with the result that those still in service and suffering health conditions potentially caused by the jab are trying to hide it. Glen Waters said: ‘The most worrying is flight deck crew failing to disclose medically significant conditions for fear of losing their pilot’s licence.’
Airlines are aware that Covid vaccinations are being questioned for causing serious adverse events but have chosen to ignore all safety signals.
Dr Kate Manderson, the principal medical officer of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), says she has no concerns about Covid vaccinations although she is aware of the case of American Airlines pilot Bob Snow, who suffered a heart attack last year, six minutes after landing his plane in Dallas, Texas. Citizen journalist and entrepreneur Steve Kirsch talked directly to Susan Northrup, who is the Federal Air Surgeon for the FAA, the top medical officer. She has never talked to Snow either although Kirsch provided her with Snow’s phone number. Bob Snow says that he has never been contacted by any authority for information about his vaccine-induced heart attack.
In June 2021, I reported that four British Airways pilots had died unexpectedly but BA refused to confirm or deny whether vaccines were implicated.
Fed up with negotiating with their airlines, pilots are fighting back. Qantas pilot Alan Dana, who set up Aussie Freedom Flyers, and former Virgin Australia captain Shane Murdock have launched a legal action on behalf of pilots, engineers, ground staff, and cabin crew, against Qantas and Virgin for breach of contract and unfair dismissal. They say aviation staff cannot be legally injected if they are being coerced, while both airlines argue this is not the case.
US Freedom Flyers have also launched a legal action.
The FAA issued this statement: ‘The FAA’s Federal Air Surgeon determined that pilots and air traffic controllers can safely receive the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or Novavax vaccine. The FAA has seen no credible evidence of aircraft accidents or incapacitations caused by pilots suffering medical complications associated with COVID-19 vaccines.’
A Jetstar spokesperson said: ‘All New Zealand-based pilots, irrespective of the airline they work for, were required under New Zealand government health orders to be fully vaccinated in order to fly. All Jetstar employees are required to comply with government requirements at all times.’
We contacted all five airlines mentioned at the top of this article and Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority but received no response.