Wed, Mar 30, 2005
Court Overrules CAA
Former Air New Zealand pilot Geoff Paterson has his medical
ticket back, after he was grounded by New Zealand's Civil Aviation
Administration because he... well, he faints.
Paterson has what doctors call "neurocardiogenic (or vasovagal)
syncope." If you cut through the Latin, you find it means he has
common fainting spells. He fainted in 1990 and 1995 and was allowed
to fly, but not along. The third time, the 52-year old 767 captain
was grounded in February, 2002, after he passed out during a
layover in Tahiti. An independent medical examiner recommended
authorities continue to let Paterson fly under the same provisions
-- he had to pass his medical and he had to fly with another pilot.
But this time, the CAA didn't buy it.
So Paterson appealed to New Zealand's judicial system. He told
the court no pilot was reluctant to fly with him. Tuesday, the
courts ordered Paterson reinstated.
"Every single pilot I have spoken to has shook my hand and said,
'thank goodness justice prevailed'," he told the New Zealand
Herald. "It's been a long time coming. For me, it is a victory for
Well, don't drag out that logbook just yet. A spokesman for the
CAA said the agency will probably appeal the court's decision.
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