Pilot: I kept having urges to crash
Wednesday 24 March 2010
Bryan Griffin, a veteran Qantas pilot, had a problem. During flights he experienced overwhelming urges to crash his plane. Once he had to pin his arm behind his seatbelt to prevent himself switching off the engines.
Mr Griffin told colleagues about these episodes, and the airline referred him to a series of doctors and psychiatrists. He received treatment, and leave to recuperate. Doctors declared him fit to fly, and he continued working for another three years.
But his problems multiplied, an industrial compensation tribunal heard this week. He got the urge to cry out in the cockpit. He ignored instructions, and missed radio and altitude calls. In 1982 he resigned after 16 years in the job, suffering from anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Mr Griffin told the tribunal his condition had been exacerbated by continuing to work. His psychiatrist said that Qantas had failed fully to understand his problems, and should have retired him on medical grounds.
During a Perth to Singapore flight in 1979, the former pilot recalled, his hand "involuntarily moved towards the start levers". He "struggled with the uncontrollable limb as though it wasn't mine", and had to restrain it by placing it under his seatbelt. "The force of the arm moving against the seatbelt towards the thrust levers was so much that it made the arm sore," he said. On subsequent flights, he continued to be assailed by repeated desires to crash the plane. En route from Singapore to Sydney, he again felt his hand "being abused by the uncontrollable pull of the start levers".
The Workers Compensation Commission agreed Qantas should not have cleared him to return to work, and awarded him almost £100,000 for loss of earnings, medical expenses and legal costs. The presiding commissioner, Derek Minus, told him the airline had failed to consider "the danger which you brought to passengers flying with you, and the public generally, should you have crashed an aircraft".
The reason for the time lapse before lodging his compensation claim was not immediately clear.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole officially the 'most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Ebola virus in the US: What are the symptoms, what is it and is there a cure?
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...