A member of CUPE’s Air Canada Component has made world news by replacing an incapacitated co-pilot for the landing of a Boeing 767 in Ireland on January 28, 2008. A report released on November 19, 2008 by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit tells of an eventful flight that illustrates the vital work of CUPE flight attendants.
On that flight from Montreal to London, the First Officer (co-pilot) showed increasing signs of fatigue, disorientation and aggressivity. The Commander (pilot) tried unsuccessfully to get him to follow standard procedure. He then asked the flight attendants to remove the co-pilot from the cockpit. A flight attendant suffered an injured wrist in the ensuing struggle, after which the co-pilot was immobilised and entrusted to the care of two doctors who were passengers on the plane.
Alone at the controls and with poor weather conditions in London, the pilot asked to land at Shannon Airport in Ireland. He asked the in-charge flight attendant check the passenger list to see if there were any Air Canada pilots on board. There were none, but one of the flight attendants had a professional pilot’s license. She replaced the co-pilot and, according to the incident report, “provided useful assistance to the Commander” for the rest of the flight. The identity of this heroine has not yet been released.
- For the incident report of the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit, see: http://www.aaiu.ie/upload/general/11139-0.pdf
- To check out the impressive number of articles and comments on the Web: http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=shannon+%22air+canada%22+28+january+%22flight+attendant%22&meta=