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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dirty Socks in the Flight Deck?


Accident: Spirit A319 at Boston on Jul 17th 2015, 
fumes on board, captain died 50 days later

By Simon Hradecky, created Wednesday, Apr 4th 2018 10:14Z, last updated Wednesday, Apr 4th 2018 10:14Z

"A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100, registration N519NK performing flight NK-708 from Chicago O'Hare,IL to Boston,MA (USA), reached the top of descent into Boston when a strong odour of dirty socks occurred, both flight crew became aware of the odour. When ATC called to hand them off to the next frequency, both flight crew were unable to interprete the frequency and unable to select the new frequency until they finally managed to write it down after several repeats by air traffic control and process it from there. Operating increasingly erratically the first officer finally donned his oxygen mask, recovered a bit and recognized that the captain had sunk into his seat and was incapacitated. The first officer put the oxygen mask on the captain, too, who subsequently began to recover as well. The flight crew managed to land the aircraft without further incident, however, did not recall how they managed to land or taxi the aircraft.

Both flight crew continued two more sectors the next day after a night's rest at a hotel, then both pilots went to see doctors. The captain was diagnosed with internal bleeding and abnormal blood values consistent with ToCP poisoning. Both flight crew were sick with diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, body shakes and feeling of tiredness that began to subside only after a couple of days. 

The first officer returned to duty about a week later, the captain returned to duty a couple of days after the first officer, however, was described as unconcentrated and erratic throughout the following flights developing eye-hand coordination issues and increasingly unusual behaviour. 

On Sep 5th 2015, 50 days after the occurrence, the captain died. According to the captain's family the official cause of his passing was a heart attack.

Dr. Michel Mulder, a former airline pilot for KLM and Aviation Medical Examiner for the FAA, has spent the last 10 years on fundamental research regarding long term effects of exposure to contaminated air in jet aircraft. During this time he and a team of scientists, performed 6 post mortem studies of prematurely deceased cockpit and cabin personnel. Strangely enough all six candidates show similar neuro-degenerative damage to the brain, heart and peripheral nervous system. The heart showed a normally rare disease called a catecholamine mediated Lymphocytic Myocarditis (Taka Tsubo). This may give rise to heart rhythm disturbances or sudden heart failure (see the paper on "Autoantibody markers of neural degeneration are associated with post-mortem histopathological alterations of a neurologically injured pilot" by M.B. Abou-Donia, F.R.W. van de Goot and M.F.A. Mulder). 

Dr. Mulder thus stated:

"it is well known, that neurotoxic events produce myocarditis, and for that matter, myocarditis produces pulmonary embolism and sudden infarct/death."" 

To Read the full report Click Here

If you want to read the SAFO 
(Safety Alert For Operators)
Click Here. 

Enjoy the Journey 
And don't forget your Oxygen Mask!
XO Karlene 

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