Off-duty pilot who tried to turn off plane engines may have been on shrooms

Originally published at: Off-duty pilot who tried to turn off plane engines may have been on shrooms | Boing Boing

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"Emerson said he had taken “magic mushrooms” about 48 hours before the incident. He told police he’d been struggling with depression for six years and that one of his friends recently died. "


so yeah, lets’ completely over look his ongoing chronic mental health issues and blame a drug that was most likely out of his system.

While I have compassion for Emerson, he done messed up BAD. I hope he gets the help he needs in whatever state institution he gets dumped on.


Yeah, 48 hours? The shrooms played zero role here, I’d say. Thanks for amplifying the scare headline, BB


He also hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, and that alone can bring on a psychotic episode.


“Shrooms made me try to crash plane” sounds like the “reefer madness” for a new generation.

At least he wasn’t on “bath salts”, or he’d probably have tried to eat the flight crew. Or … wait, “bath salts” was last decade wasn’t it? Am I showing my age here?


His statement was that he took shrooms about 48 hours before, had been up over 48 hours, and thought he was asleep and dreaming. And that how he usually ended dreams was by doing something overboard. It was only after the dream didn’t end that he realized something was wrong, which was why he asked them to cuff him in the back of the plane. Because on descent, he felt like it was still a dream and tried to open the aft door.

So the shrooms were likely not in his system at that point, but the effects of the trip and the sleep dep definitely were.


Maybe it was “Cake

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After 48 hours without sleep, I’m sure he’d have been in fine shape to do his job.

A 737-900 can carry 200 or more passengers, so it may have been a very good thing that he wigged out on his connecting flight and got taken off the duty roster.


Since the mass exodus of pilots because of the fact that a vast majority of them were right wing and were refusing to get the covid shot, there’s been a major problem getting pilots in general and getting them close to their home bases. This results in a lot of regional pilots basically operating on very little sleep as they spend a large amount of time commuting. Not 48 hours , that’s pretty new, but pilots operating sleepy is a major problem. As are pilots commuting five, six, seven hours to their jobs (and then back home) every day.

ETA: All this to say, the sleep deprivation was probably something pretty common in pilots. The sleep dep after a psychoactive mushroom trip following the death of a close personal friend, though, that was a perfect storm for what happened. In the end, I hope that this results in changes and concerns about pilot mental state. Because, had he reported he was having trouble coming to grips with his friend dying, he would have been grounded for 90 days.


Sleep deprivation and the crazy commute and duty schedules for pilots have been a problem since well before COVID. Fatigue was considered one of the major factors in the Colgan Air 3407 crash. There was quite a lot of press coverage about the problem following that crash, but I don’t know if that led to any significant improvements.


True. It’s just been made more exasperated by the retiring of those upper pilots and the mass hiring from the regionals up into those upper pilot jobs. It’s left the regionals scrambling for pilots to cover routes. I do a lot of flight simming and now the recruiters are reaching into the virtual airlines and flight sim communities to do recruiting for the regionals, making statements like, “Can have you in the right seat in six weeks.” And “Don’t worry about the medical, you’ll pass.” and “Eyesight isn’t an issue if it can be corrected to 20/40”


… it’s not like that’s a new problem


… JFC our whole civization is running on fumes :scream:


There’s a tricky perverse incentive there: one obviously doesn’t want people doing life-critical while feeling unwell; but the knowledge that you’ll be having a friendly chat with an AME about whether you get to keep your job in the not terribly distant future is…not exactly…the stuff of which candor and a willingness to seek assistance is made.

It’s not unlike the situation with doctors: also an area where you really want someone doing their best work while attending to your case; also an area where licensure concerns appear to discourage seeking treatment(especially in cases where questions include past as well as current status; there’s some state-to-state difference so they were able to compare the two cases).


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