After a JetBlue pilot came unglued at 35,000 feet, some aviation experts argue the system for detecting psychological problems in pilots is shoddy. According to The Wall Street Journal, airline pilots are subjected to a battery of physical tests every six months, but doctors rarely question their mental state. Furthermore, many pilots would probably be hesitant to tell the truth for fear of jeopardizing their career.
John Gadzinski, a captain for a major airline and aviation consultant, said, “It is very clear to every pilot that moment you say yes, you’ve had an issue, they’re going to deny your license.” There appears to be little interest in beefing up mental examinations because breakdowns in the cockpit are extremely rare. Out of the tens of thousands of people employed by the airlines, only a few have lost it.
On Tuesday afternoon, a JetBlue pilot started screaming about a bomb on board, claiming, “They’re gonna take us down!” A co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit, and made an emergency landing in Amarillo. The passengers wrestled the disturbed pilot to the ground in the cabin. He was carried off the plane and taken to the hospital.