By Gary R’nel
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When government intrusion in our lives is warranted, we should collectively support the idea. The difficulty is that some are so tethered to their political ideology that they are devoid of all peripheral vision and view ideas cradled in the macro rather than the micro universe. This is the case with airlines and the mental health testing of pilots.
Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz ripped up a doctor’s note excusing him from work on the day he crashed a crowded passenger plane into a mountain, according to investigators. Prosecutors in Germany reported that Lubitz was being treated for a medical illness that he hid from his employer. Further investigation reveals Lubitz spent 18 months receiving psychiatric treatment and was diagnosed with a “severe depressive episode in the past.
Unfortunately, it takes the tragedy of 150 lives lost to recognize common sense when it is so apparent. Common sense, which is now on the extinct species list, dictates that pilots should be tested more than once concerning the fitness of their mental health.
There has been some pilot union opposition to the idea. That opposition is inexplicable. Airlines have accumulated large centers of profit from additional baggage and extended leg room charges (fees will soon be assessed for usage of an oxygen mask.) The application of some of these dollars to ensure safety is of paramount importance.
Memo to Airline Regulators: Your foremost concern is the safety of passengers. That concern leads straight to the cockpit. Testing for mental health defects with regularity is an absolute necessity. It is after all, common sense.
Our thoughts and prayers go the families of the loved ones aboard the Germanwings flight. We also remember those who lost their lives on three other commercial airliners attributable to pilot mental health defect.
There can be no sustainable opposing viewpoints to this idea. Union, management or otherwise.