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

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, 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. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mentally Ill Captain Crashes Plane

Flight For Control, where fiction mirrors truth, is predicated on what happens when you push the human mind beyond it's limits. We need to take care of our pilots, both mentally and physically.

The following excerpt may not be right for all audiences. But the sad truth is... pilots are just human. We need to look out for each other, and help make the skies safe.

“JAL Flight 350 took off from Fukuoka (FUK) runway 16 at 07:34 for a regular flight to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). The aircraft climbed to the cruising altitude of FL290.

08:22 the crew started their descend to FL160. After reaching that altitude, they were cleared to descend down to 3000 feet. The aircraft was cleared for a runway 33R ILS approach and 5deg of flaps were selected at 08:35, followed by 25 degrees of flaps one minute later.

The landing gear was lowered at 08:39 and 50 degrees of flaps were selected two minutes after that. At 08:42 the aircraft descended through 1000 feet at an airspeed of 135 knots with wind from a direction of 360deg at 20 knots.

The co-pilot called out "500 feet" at 08:43:25 but the captain did not make the "stabilized" call-out as specified by JAL operational regulations. The airspeed decreased to 133 knots as the aircraft descended through 300 feet at 08:43:50 and the co-pilot warned the captain that the aircraft was approaching the decision height. At 08:43:56 the radio altimeter warning sounded, followed by the flight engineer calling out "200 feet", which was the decision height, three seconds later .

At 08:44:01 the aircraft descended through 164 feet at 130KIAS. At that moment the captain cancelled autopilot, pushed his controls forward and retarded the throttles to idle. The co-pilot tried to regain control but the aircraft crashed into the shallow water of Tokyo Bay, 510m short of the runway 33R threshold.

The nose and the right hand wing separated from the fuselage. The captain had recently suffered a psychosomatic disorder; preliminary reports suggested that the captain experienced some form of a mental abberation. He had been off duty from November 1980 to November 1981 for these reasons.”

Flight Safety Foundation

A story centered on what's happening in the world and our airline industry today, Flight For Control will take you on a heck of a ride. This fast paced thriller will keep you up at nights, long after your finish it.

Who is flying your plane?

I've been told it's a "page turner." For more comments from the readers check out Amazon.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. CRM needs to extend well beyond the current definition and encompass looking out for irregular /erratic behavior of fellow crew and skills to takeover from difficult situations and skills in identifying problem without losing precious time for recovery.
    It gets challenging

    1. Sriniva, yes... you are so correct. This should be in CRM training. The problem is, that this training can be extensive. People go for many years of schooling to learn how to identify behavior. But with that said, there are some bench marks that we could all learn in the schoolhouse.

      The problem is, airlines are moving away from "school house" training to on line learning. Can this happen? I hope so.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Most definitely a page turner, because it mirrors the reality so brilliantly. Even if that scares you.

    It's a shame it hasn't had the attention it needs, but maybe now?

    I agree with Srinivas, it gets challenging. If flying the plane wasn't hard enough, looking for symptoms, doesn't make it easier.

    1. Thank you so much Cecilie. The next interesting scenario will be when one pilot challenges another, and he's wrong... or reprimanded for doing such. Maybe we will be taking mental health assessments with our FAA physicals in the future.

  3. Who is flying it indeed? Wow, truth really can be scarier than fiction. And it just goes to show, Flight For Control is completely plausible.

    1. Thank you Heather! It is plausible despite the fear and reluctance to believe it. Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. We don't want to believe it, but this can happen. It's not just random, or totally unpredictable, either, as the article points out. Such a difficult issue, pilots losing control of their reason and their passengers' safety. The problems highlighted in Flight for Control sure seem real to me!

    1. Linda, this is only one of 6. I will be sharing more soon. Scary stuff and things that stories are made of. Thanks for your comment.

  5. I'm on page 171 and enjoying it so far. Thanks, Karlene.


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