US/AA 550 (PHX-BOS) diverted to SYR, pilot passes away in flight

 

Old Oct 6, 15, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
I was told in the past that an exercise treadmill test was required, with reasonably robust performance.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...aded_exercise/

Hmm....
The above link is just how the test must be done for the FAA to accept it if a graded exercise test is needed based on other findings, not a regular part of a flight physical.

If there's an abnormality in the ECG or history of heart disease the FAA wants to see additional testing done (likely not by the Aviation Medical Examiner doing the flight physical) but if there isn't then it's just one ECG after age 35 and then an ECG every 6 months after age 40 as part of the physical visit.

Every Airline Transport Pilot over 40 does a physical every 6 months. If he had bypass surgery as this indicates then he was on a special issuance and would have done at least the graded exercise test you list above. The criteria for issuing the special issuance with a bypass or heart attack is here. He would have had to done the test and brought in all test results, labs, status report from cardiologist, etc, and then a current status report and any labs done at every 6-month physical ongoing.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 8:38 am
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SYRACUSE, NY -- American Airlines CEO Doug Parker identified the captain whose death prompted an emergency landing at the Syracuse airport Monday morning, and he praised the crew that rescued the flight for its "extraordinary" service.

Parker said Michael Johnston, 57, was piloting American Airlines flight 550 when he "fell ill". He's a graduate of Brigham Young University and began his piloting career in January 1990 and has flown 737 and 757 planes, according to Parker's note to employees.

Beyond offering condolences to Johnston's family, Parker lauded the crews on the ground and in the air that prevented a catastrophe for the nearly 150 passengers on board. The flight left Phoenix for Boston early Monday morning.

"I want to take a moment to thank Mike's crewmembers on Flight #550. They took extraordinary care of Mike, each other and our customers," Parker wrote. "We couldn't be more proud of the teamwork this crew showed during an extremely difficult time. Our airport teams in Syracuse and Boston were also instrumental in assisting our customers, and their handling is also greatly appreciated."

The Onondaga Medical Examiner ruled late Monday that Johnston died of "natural causes".

Parker offered condolences to Johnston's wife, Betty Jean, and "to his entire family", saying they had lost a "husband and father". He went on to say that the company's focus is now to take care of the captain's family and to keep them in its thoughts and prayers.
Source: http://www.syracuse.com/crime/index....incart_m-rpt-1
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Old Oct 6, 15, 9:04 am
  #48  
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US/AA 550 (PHX-BOS) diverted to SYR, pilot passes away in flight

Heard about this yesterday
Can not even think what his family is going through
Best wishes to them
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Old Oct 6, 15, 8:59 pm
  #49  
 
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I am not trying to critical, nor am I familiar with AA/US policies regarding this type situation for safety reasons since there was only one pilot at the time but as a Paramedic I am curious why if he was in fact flying the plane, found to go unresponsive that help was not summoned immediately and he removed from the cockpit so that resuscitative efforts could have begun.

All commercial airliners are equipped with automatic external defibrillators (and flight attendants who are trained in their use) in addition to medical equipment. For someone who has gone into Cardiac Arrest the first 4 to 6 minutes are "make or break time". Good CPR, with assistance from an AED assuming he was in a shock able rhythm may be all it took to revive this individual.

The rumor that a nurse attempted to revive him seems unlikely if no one on the plane knew what was going on until they landed. My assumption if he was attempting to be revived would be that it was done in the floor of the forward galley.

I would love to know more if anyone has credible information.
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Old Oct 6, 15, 11:53 pm
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WSYR-TV is reporting this evening it was a heart attack. I'm surprised this isn't on the Syracuse.com / Post Standard newspaper site, they are usually all over these kinds of things, so I would wait to see if we see more details coming from them to confirm if more details were released by the medical examiner's office.

http://www.localsyr.com/news/local-n...a-heart-attack
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Old Oct 7, 15, 12:19 am
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Thumbs down

Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
SYR is my home airport.
What seems infuriating to me, after listening to the ATC feeds, is that our own tower originally told the cockpit to proceed over to the deicing pad where it would be met by rescue. It wasnt until after the First Officer asked if rescue had any way to get inside the plane, that the Syracuse tower then told them to proceed to gate 6 and that rescue would meet them there.

You would think that the SYR tower would know its own capabilities for rescue to board a plane for a medical emergency? Am I crazy?
This should not surprise you if you're a SYR regular and follow the airport operations. It's run by a bunch of people who have no idea what they are doing. They spent $50M on an expansion only to reduce the overall throughput of security to some of the longest lines I've seen in the country during peak hours for the general passenger queue... and reduce the amount of breakfast food options for morning flights. Then they blocked the central design feature of the place with two ugly kiosks. That's a multimillion dollar view they botched! I mean at least it looks nicer that it once did, but they really botched a lot of key things they could have done. They know how to plow the snow, but they don't know how to de-ice efficiently. They spent $2.5M and had a huge mess and hassle with the garage the last year and now they want to knock it down. And they gave Delta $500K in incentives to re-add service to MSP just for them to do a switcharoo and reduce the number of overall flights and seats into the market by dropping CVG altogether, JFK and ATL frequency.

In short these people are ill advised and refuse to listen to frequent travelers when you reach out to them. I suggested a frequent traveler advisory board. They seem to not get a lot of things and honestly I don't think these people actually travel much and see how other airports work.

Every now and then they do something good, the new Middle Ages brew pub looks great but now we don't have a sit down place for breakfast. We either need a change in leadership, or perhaps leadership to listen to the people who use the airport and have also seen how hundreds of airports work or don't work and give them ideas.

Botching a rescue attempt doesn't surprise me in the least.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 8:00 am
  #52  
 
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I went to school about an hour from SYR so that is the nearest major airport. I still fly through a couple times a year. I'm not making excuses for them by any means but I'd imagine this is a very infrequent occurrence for SYR considering it's less than 30 minutes to other major airports. Hopefully they can use this as a learning experience for the future.

I had dinner at Middle Ages Pub back in June. It's pretty decent and has some nice plane spotting opportunities.

And to CVFDChief180, I'm curious as to why they didn't ask if a doctor or other health professional was onboard to assist. I read a FC passenger interview with someone who said he was a doctor and he watched the FA go back and forth to the flight deck with the oxygen tank.

Sad situation for all involved. My prayers to this crew and the Captain's family.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 10:09 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by CVFDCHIEF180 View Post
I am not trying to critical, nor am I familiar with AA/US policies regarding this type situation for safety reasons since there was only one pilot at the time but as a Paramedic I am curious why if he was in fact flying the plane, found to go unresponsive that help was not summoned immediately and he removed from the cockpit so that resuscitative efforts could have begun.
The flight deck of an A320 is a pretty cramped space, and the first officer's primary obligation is to fly the plane and set it down promptly. Removing a 180-200 pound man from the left seat and into the galley/aisle would have been a difficult task and would have required a crowd on the flight deck to accomplish and would have eaten up time when no lifesaving efforts would have taken place. Unless it's impossible to use the AED on a victim seated upright, I don't see anything wrong with attempting to revive him in place.

Originally Posted by CVFDCHIEF180 View Post
All commercial airliners are equipped with automatic external defibrillators (and flight attendants who are trained in their use) in addition to medical equipment. For someone who has gone into Cardiac Arrest the first 4 to 6 minutes are "make or break time". Good CPR, with assistance from an AED assuming he was in a shock able rhythm may be all it took to revive this individual.
Presumably, the flight attendant used the on-board AED.

Originally Posted by CVFDCHIEF180 View Post
The rumor that a nurse attempted to revive him seems unlikely if no one on the plane knew what was going on until they landed. My assumption if he was attempting to be revived would be that it was done in the floor of the forward galley.
The flight attendant who attempted to revive the captain happens to be a nurse, so it's not an unlikely rumour.

RWPrincess mentioned a media report that the crew may not have asked if a doctor was on board and that a doctor may have witnessed the activity from the sidelines. If the crew didn't ask if a physician were onboard, that's troubling.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 10:45 am
  #54  
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Originally Posted by CVFDCHIEF180 View Post
I am not trying to critical, nor am I familiar with AA/US policies regarding this type situation for safety reasons since there was only one pilot at the time but as a Paramedic I am curious why if he was in fact flying the plane, found to go unresponsive that help was not summoned immediately and he removed from the cockpit so that resuscitative efforts could have begun.

All commercial airliners are equipped with automatic external defibrillators (and flight attendants who are trained in their use) in addition to medical equipment. For someone who has gone into Cardiac Arrest the first 4 to 6 minutes are "make or break time". Good CPR, with assistance from an AED assuming he was in a shock able rhythm may be all it took to revive this individual.

The rumor that a nurse attempted to revive him seems unlikely if no one on the plane knew what was going on until they landed. My assumption if he was attempting to be revived would be that it was done in the floor of the forward galley.

I would love to know more if anyone has credible information.
The First Officer's primary concern and duty should be flying the aircraft? His primary duty was to the 147 passengers and 5 crew aboard. You weren't on the scene, though an ER nurse was. A thorough investigation must and will be done, and when the facts are known they will be duly published.

Michael Johnston, the Captain, was a 57 year old man with double bypass surgery in 2006 and had been declared fit for duty by competent medical authority and had passed his required biannual medical exam and certification. As I'd imagine under the circumstances, his death was likely catastrophic and sudden. The FO took command of the aircraft and landed safely. My sorrow extends to Mr. Johnston's family, friends and US Airways colleagues.

In flight cockpit airman death is quite rare - 7 commercial airline pilots, one charter pilot in the USA since 1994 (FAA via BBC). Sure makes me glad the European Aviation Safety Agency disagreed with Michael O'Leary (Ryanair CEO) when he sought to fly short haul flights with one pilot in the cockpit.

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 7, 15 at 11:55 am Reason: Update
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Old Oct 7, 15, 10:59 am
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Thanks for the update....at least they tried something in the cockpit however you are right, cockpit space is TINY and it would be hard to do much of anything in a cockpit......AED can be used upright but does not have the same effect as no CPR or good adequate airway management can be done at the same time. I also in the post 9/11 era you can't just say "I need 3 strong men to come into the cockpit and get the pilot out" as this creates probably a protocol violation as well as potential safety issues for the rest of the passengers on board.

I have drug many 300 pound people out of cramped bathrooms and bedrooms into an open area where resuscitation efforts could begin. I don't want to armchair quarterback this I am just completely curious.
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Old Oct 7, 15, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by CVFDCHIEF180 View Post
Thanks for the update....at least they tried something in the cockpit however you are right, cockpit space is TINY and it would be hard to do much of anything in a cockpit......AED can be used upright but does not have the same effect as no CPR or good adequate airway management can be done at the same time. I also in the post 9/11 era you can't just say "I need 3 strong men to come into the cockpit and get the pilot out" as this creates probably a protocol violation as well as potential safety issues for the rest of the passengers on board.

I have drug many 300 pound people out of cramped bathrooms and bedrooms into an open area where resuscitation efforts could begin. I don't want to armchair quarterback this I am just completely curious.
I don't envy what you do, but I honor and respect it.

The nurse / FA was an ER nurse to boot, according to someone who knows.

I'm sure, given the difficult circumstances, they did everything they could do to help their colleague.
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Old Oct 8, 15, 6:59 am
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My take on the AA incident is here:

http://www.askthepilot.com/pilot-dies-in-flight/

Pilots, Copilots, Heroics and Hyperbole. Will the Media Ever Get it Straight?

Not to diminish that unfortunate fate of the AA captain, but my gripe is with journalist's highly misleading use of the terms "pilot" and "copilot." One New York Times' headline was particularly emblematic of the problem.


Patrick Smith


(The poster of this message is the host of the website linked to, above.)
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Old Oct 8, 15, 10:30 am
  #58  
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"“Co-Pilot Lands Jet in Syracuse After Pilot Dies." is misleading? You refer to yourself as " copilots like me", so if someone like you landed the plane...what am I missing?

In your earlier article on the topic,
WHEN A PILOT DIES IN FLIGHT

ONCE IN A WHILE IT HAPPENS. In 2009, the captain of a Continental Airlines 777 flying from Brussels to Newark passed away during flight. And on September 26th, 63 year-old Henry Skillern, captain of a United Airlines flight bound for Seattle suffered a heart attack. In both cases, the first officer — i.e. the copilot — assumed command.
This reads pretty much the same as the NYT article, to my untrained eyes.

co-
pref.
1. Together; joint; jointly; mutually: coeducation.
If I'm jointly/mutually X, how does that imply that I'm not X? It's seems to be the exact opposite.

What would you have preferred the NYT to use instead of "Co-Pilot Lands Jet"?
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Old Oct 9, 15, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by xSTRIKEx6864 View Post
Why is this moved to the US forum? The media is reporting it was an American Airlines flight and WBZ took a photo of the plane after it landed and it is painted in AA livery.

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/10/0...cal-emergency/

Either way, sad story, but at least everyone aside from the pilot landed safely.
In a couple of weeks, this won't be a distinction any more, but this was a US coded flight.
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Old Oct 9, 15, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
"“Co-Pilot Lands Jet in Syracuse After Pilot Dies." is misleading? You refer to yourself as " copilots like me", so if someone like you landed the plane...what am I missing?

In your earlier article on the topic,


This reads pretty much the same as the NYT article, to my untrained eyes.



If I'm jointly/mutually X, how does that imply that I'm not X? It's seems to be the exact opposite.

What would you have preferred the NYT to use instead of "Co-Pilot Lands Jet"?
The problem is with the combination "pilot and copilot." I do prefer captain and first officer. Both are fully qualified pilots, and the more senior one is the captain who has the ultimate authority for the flight (pilot in command). However on many, many flights the first officer is the "pilot flying" for most of the trip.

Many of the news articles made it seem as if the jet were in danger of falling from the sky had it not been for the heroic efforts of this barely capable person in the second seat. It surely was a much harder job to land the plane without the captain helping with checklists, confirming actions and communication, but all pilots are trained for these scenarios.
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