Captain David Hill – Rest In Peace.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I write this email to you with a heavy heart.
Starting in January 2010, I had the honor of getting to know a great man—Captain David Hill. The circumstances were not at all great – David and his crew had been exposed to oil fumes during a flight. He and his fellow crewmembers were taken off the aircraft on a stretcher and straight to the ER. And after a long and successful career of flying, both in the USAF and commercially, he never flew again, and nor did his first officer or most of his flight attendant crew – everyone was seriously affected by those fumes. The FAA took away his license because of the chronic ill health that followed that exposure. But despite that obvious and strong connection between the fumes and his cognitive problems, memory issues, and other neurological symptoms, his airline denied his workers compensation claim (twice), which had a major impact on his well-being, his access to appropriate health care, and his family’s finances. And last night, the pain of his illness and everything that accompanies losing one’s career and one’s health became too much of him to bear, and he ended his life. I have no doubt that, had he not suffered that fumes exposure, and had the “system” not treated him as it did, he would be alive and well today.
If you are receiving this message, it’s because you knew Dave, or you knew of him. You knew of his courage, and you had enjoyed his dry, self-deprecating humor and his bright mind. Since that January 2010 flight, Dave (along with other members of that tight-knit crew) flew across the country many times to raise awareness of the fumes issue on aircraft and to share his personal story. He met with the Chairwoman of the NTSB (she did nothing to investigate the incident), he presented on a panel at the FAA Fire Safety Conference (the FAA has done nothing), he talked to Good Morning America, and he helped to make a fund-raising video to raise research dollars for the oil fumes biomarker blood test at the University of Washington. He is already missed by so many people who thought highly of him. And beyond his career, he was a committed husband and father, and his loss has left an especially big hole in the lives of his dedicated wife of many years, Penny, and their grown children.
I’m writing to tell you that the world lost a great man. And I’m also writing to ask you to honor his life in whatever way you can — say a prayer, tell a joke (he was big on jokes), support a friend who needs support, convince your union to donate funds for the oil fumes research, do the world some kindness – because he was a kind, gentle, and brave soul, and his life matters.
Friends and colleagues wishing to send condolences by mail should contact the Aerotoxic Association for a contact address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Captain David Hill appeared in an ABC report on Contaminated Cabin Air on 22nd November 2016 – watch their report here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgaSYJ6rOLQ
Captain David Hill with friends and colleagues