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Airbus A320 Lands Safely After PIC Incapacitation

Lights Out, Lights Out Scotland

An easyJet Airbus A320 made an emergency landing in Edinburgh, Scotland [UK] after the Pilot in Command became incapacitated.  

The incident occurred in the early hours of 12 June 2022, when the aircraft, registration G-EZTK, was operating as easyJet flight U2-6938 between Heraklion in Greece and Edinburgh.

According to unofficial, online flight history, the flight was scheduled to depart Heraklion International Airport (HER) at 21:20 UTC  and arrive Edinburgh Airport (EDI) a few hours later. However, for undisclosed reasons, the flight was delayed for more than an hour and didn’t depart HER until approximately 22:48 UTC.

Flight U2-6938 operated normally throughout climb and cruise. On descent into EDI, however, the First Officer notified ATC that the Pilot in Command had become incapacitated. The First Officer subsequently requested priority handling and landed without incident on EDI Runway 24 at approximately 01:16 UTC. 

It was later learned that the captain of the flight had become incapacitated during a short visit to the Airbus A320’s forward lavatory. Passengers reported seeing the pilot entering the lavatory, but he failed to return to the cockpit. 

Upon the flight’s arrival in EDI, the captain was consigned to the care of local paramedics. 

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA) describes pilot incapacitation as “any physiological or psychological state or situation, which negatively affects pilot performance.” There exist two types of pilot incapacitation: obvious and subtle .  

Obvious incapacitation is a sudden and often prolonged event that usually results in a complete loss of the pilot’s operating function.  Such incapacitations include heart attacks, cerebrovascular incidents, and FedEx DC-10 crash axes. 

Contrariwise, subtle incapacitation—considered the more dangerous in-flight event—comprises partial loss of the pilot’s ability to perform duties. Usually, subtle incapacitation is transient, but precludes the sufferer from rationally evaluating his actions on the flight deck. Hypoxia is the most common manifestation of subtle incapacitation. 



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