Catch-22 Redux

TitleCatch-22 Redux
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsSkipper, RB, Connolly, P, Althaus, RA, Malm, H
PublisherAssociation for Practical and Professional Ethics
Publication Languageeng
AbstractIn March 2015, twenty-eight-year-old co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and then crashed Germanwings flight 9525 into the French Alps killing all 150 people onboard. Many questioned how Lubitz’s apparent mental distress escaped attention and what protections exist for the flying public. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration has adopted standards that ban pilot applicants with a history of mental conditions, including attempted suicide, bipolar disorder, and many others, from getting a license to fly. Other conditions that can also lead to deferral or denial of licensing include adjustment disorder, bereavement, minor depression, or use of certain drugs. However once a pilot receives his license, it is extremely hard for doctors who give pilots their regular physicals from detecting mental health issues. Also, pilots themselves are required by the FAA to disclose existing psychological conditions and medications and can be fined $250,000 and lose their license for not doing so. Pilots are expected to report their own mental distress but doing so makes them nearly certain to lose their jobs and careers.
NotesCase from the 2016 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Championship.