Unruly pilots and crew have disrupted flights in the past.
Earlier this month, an American Airlines flight attendant took over the public-address system on a flight bound for Chicago and spoke for 15 minutes about Sept. 11 and the safety of their plane, saying "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing," several passengers said.
Passengers wrestled the flight attendant into a seat while the plane was grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; the flight attendant was hospitalized.
In 2008, an Air Canada co-pilot was forcibly removed from a Toronto-to-London flight, restrained and sedated after having a mental breakdown on a flight. A flight attendant with flying experience helped the pilot safely make an emergency landing in Ireland, and none of the 146 passengers and nine crew members on board was injured.
In August 2010, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater pulled the emergency chute on a flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He went on the public-address system, swore at a passenger, grabbed a beer and slid down the tarmac.
He was sentenced to probation, counseling and substance abuse treatment for attempted criminal mischief.
The FAA is likely to review the unidentified captain's medical certificate — essentially a seal of approval that the pilot is healthy. All pilots working for scheduled airlines must have a first-class medical certificate. The certificates must be renewed every six months to a year, depending on the pilot's age.
To receive the certificate, the pilot must receive a physical examination by an FAA-designated medical examiner that includes questions about pilot's psychological condition. Pilots are required to disclose all physical and psychological conditions and medications.
Blaney reported from Lubbock, Texas. Associated Press writers Samantha Bomkamp in New York and Joan Lowy in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.
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