New York, NY-Continental Airlines (CO) pilot Craig Lenell of Houston, Texas died mid-flight Thursday morning, June 18, 2009, while flying Flight 61 from Brussels, Belgium to Newark, New Jersey. This left the two co-pilots aboard the Boeing 777 jet responsible for landing the plane. The plane carrying 247 passengers and 12 flight crewmembers, landed safely at 11:49 a.m., shortly before the scheduled landing time of 12:00 p.m., as reported by ABC News.
According to the Chicago Tribune, passengers were not informed of the pilot’s death until after the plane safely landed at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), approximately 15 miles from Midtown Manhattan, in New York City. An announcement asking if there were any doctors on the plane resulted in some passengers going to the cockpit to assess the pilot’s medical state. Captain Lenell was 60 years old and had 32 years of flight experience with Continental Airlines when he died flying the Boeing 777.
As informed by Bloomberg, before December 2007, pilots were required to retire at age 60. This regulation changed when President George W. Bush signed legislation to increase the mandatory age of retirement to 65; though on international flights, the copilot must be under 60 years of age. It is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) http://www.faa.gov requirement that all pilots meet a certain set of medical standards to receive a either a first-class certificate (airline transport pilot), second class certificate (commercial pilot), or third class certificate (private pilot).
According to a list of standards and protocols provided by Pilot Medical Solutions, to acquire FAA Medical Certification, a potential pilot must meet numerous medical guidelines. Some of these medical standards include; proper vision and hearing, maintain a blood pressure below 155/95, and mental clarity. In order to obtain FAA medical certification, a pilot must get a physical from an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). Provided the pilot has met the FAA’s medical standards, they will be issued their medical certificate.
News by New York personal injury attorney Jonathan C. Reiter an aviation accident lawyer. Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2811, New York, NY 10118. Telephone (212) 736-0979. www.jcreiterlaw.com