JetBlue Captain Clayton Osbon and Resilient Security
This is the most intelligent thing I’ve read about the JetBlue incident where a pilot had a mental breakdown in the cockpit:
For decades, public safety officials and those who fund them have focused on training and equipment that has a dual-use function for any hazard that may come our way. The post-9/11 focus on terrorism, with all the gizmos that were bought in its name, was a moment of frenzy, and sometimes inconsistent with sound public policy. Over time, there was a return to security measures that were adaptable (dual or multiple use) to any threat and more sustainable in a world that has its fair share of both predictable and utterly bizarre events.
The mental condition of airline pilots is a relevant factor in their annual or bi-annual physicals. (FAA rules differ on the number of physicals required, based on the type of plane being flown.) But believing that the system is flawed because it didn’t predict the breakdown of one of 450,000 certified pilots is a myopic reaction.
In many ways, though, this kind of incident was anticipated. The system envisions pilot incapacitation — physical, mental, or possibly, as in the campy movie ”Snakes on a Plane,” a slithering foe.
That is, after all, why we have copilots.
The whole essay is worth reading.