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Depressed pilots need sympathy and help now, just as before flight 4U9525 | Letters from Emma Van Oss, Agnes Kocsis, Colin Hoskins and Gordon Stevenson

Apr 2nd, 2015 by

Your article (Co-pilot ‘hid illness from airline and colleagues’, 28 March) frustrated and saddened me in its treatment of the investigations into the pilot of flight 4U9525. The portrait this article sketches of Andreas Lubitz is of a devious, “disturbed” madman who somehow concealed his “secret backstory” of struggles with mental illness, and it questions how he had been permitted to fly in a presumably suicidal state.

But depressive episodes, 18-month periods of treatment and “emotional problems” with a partner are not as rare as the Guardian seems to think, and vast numbers of people struggle through such experiences without causing others to lose their lives. I wonder if the Guardian thinks these individuals manage to care for children, administer medicine, drive cars and run countries by “skilfully” convincing the world that they are “well-structured”, all the while just waiting for a “window of opportunity” to do harm.

As a former airline pilot, I am surprised that there have not been more such safety-related incidents in recent years

If a pilot seeks help for even mild depression he or she is immediately grounded until ‘cured’

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