Photo: Air Canada

Aero Corner also highlights the major safety benefit of deadheading, saying:

“…if you are deadheading as a pilot, it is also possible that you will get asked to help in case one of the active pilots gets incapacitated. Even if you do not have the rating on that specific aircraft type, you could still be considered the best option to assist with radio communication, for example.”

While rare, the incapacitation of crew members has already occurred several times this year. And, in several cases, trained pilots traveling as passengers have been able to step in to fulfill the duties of incapacitated individuals. In March, we saw the first officer of an Air Transat A321 become incapacitated. However, a second officer was traveling onboard and was able to replace the first officer.

Days before the Air Transat incident, a Southwest Airlines captain had fallen ill and was unable to perform their duties. In this case, another pilot, traveling as a passenger, was available to step in. The individual was an off-duty, fully-licensed pilot for a different airline.

What do you think of this incident? Does this further discredit airline or aircraft manufacturer intentions for single pilot operations? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Sources:, The Aviation HeraldAero Corner

Like many airlines, Air Canada has had to rely on government loans and funding over the pandemic. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Air Canada
Airline Type:Full Service Carrier
Hub(s):Calgary International Airport, Montréal–Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport
Year Founded:1967
Alliance:Star Alliance
CEO:Michael Rousseau