Published September 15, 2010
By Jessica Heslam
Hundreds of commercial and private U.S. pilots have been diagnosed and treated for a broad array of serious psychiatric and medical conditions, including schizophrenia, attempted suicide, sexual deviance, alcoholism and drug abuse, a Herald review has found.
The review comes in the wake of a chilling episode at Logan International Airport four months ago involving a distraught JetBlue [JBLU] pilot who threatened to “harm himself in spectacular fashion” an hour before takeoff - an incident that sent shudders through airline passengers across the country.
Medical record data from 2008, 2009 and 2010 provided by the Federal Aviation Administration under a public records request show:
-- 15 pilots - including one from Massachusetts - have been treated for or diagnosed with schizophrenia.
-- Another 292 pilots have attempted suicide, including five Bay Staters.
-- 2,700 pilots have been treated for alcohol abuse, including 34 from Massachusetts, and another 1,253 have been diagnosed as alcoholics - including 20 Bay Staters.
-- 1,377 pilots have been treated for drug abuse - 23 from Massachusetts - and another 94 for drug dependence.