As non aircrew still continue to claim that there is ‘no evidence’ that human exposure to toxic oil fumes in a confined space causes ill health – it has been decided to publish a series of 6 blogs on how a BAe 146 pilot eventually discovered the cause of his severe chronic ill health.
John Hoyte was a commercial pilot for nearly 30 years and co-authored ‘Aerotoxic Syndrome: Aviation’s Darkest Secret’ published by Pilot Press in 2014. His blogs will be published once a month over the next five months – concluding on Sunday 22nd May 2016 @ 1700 UTC with a ‘Statement’ held by a lawyer since 2007. The blog will expose what happens to professional aircrew when they are grounded with chronic ill health. As passengers (including children) breathe the same air, they too experience identical ill health.
Previous Blogs are here.
At this point I was about to be tested with 26 other BALPA pilots – half BAe 146 and half Boeing 757.
The testing was to establish the effect of oil fumes on our long-term health, and was supervised by Dr Sarah McKenzie Ross of University College London (UCL). We were all quite excited – it was rather like a school day-out!
After initially meeting Dr Mackenzie Ross we spent half of a day going through established cognitive tests with a researcher. Whilst the tests were challenging, it is part of the psychological make-up of pilots that we always want to do things precisely, we want to do them well and are always focused.
The tests were on cognition and memory: Multiple questions; even clever questions to assess possible malingering! However this was just a part of the total research.
Whilst UCL were doing the cognitive testing – a private laboratory, Biolab of London, were testing our blood and fat. These tests are not free or even available on the National Health Service (NHS). My colleague and fellow BALPA (pilot union) pilot Captain Loraine paid around £500 for each of us. Whilst it was kind that he had done so, he was expecting that BALPA would refund his cost…
I was still waiting for my loss of licence payment to compensate me for the fact I had been prematurely grounded as a pilot aged 49. I was now trying to find alternative work, and having failed the driving instructor test in February I was working as a general Health and Safety specialist for my wife’s training company. I also dug out a massive garden pond at our house and this led me to consider ‘pond construction’ as yet another possible career move – slightly different to flying passenger jets!
Health and safety work was interesting, and learning about it gave me an insight into how airlines score. It seemed to me that I had been sailing very close to the wind, as H&S principles were more theory, than reality.
I was beginning to recognise that the industry I had worked in for 30 years was engaging in some very sharp practices and I was beginning to quickly understand how it all logically explained the cause of my 16 years of chronic ‘mystery’ serious ill health whilst flying the BAe 146…
Questions: Would you pay £500 for specialist blood and fat tests? Should such memory and laboratory tests be freely available on the NHS?
NEXT Blog: ‘UCL – Biolab Test Results’ – to be published during April 2016.