Nattanya Andersen's cherished career
as a flight attendant careened to a halt when a mid-flight
engine explosion in 1988 left her with a condition diagnosed
as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Classified as
"an incident" that narrowly missed becoming a full-fledged
aircraft disaster, the explosion claimed no lives, but its
aftermath slowly eroded Nattanya's physical and mental health
to the point where she could no longer fly. Unwilling to become
"earth-bound," Nattanya valiently fought to regain her wings.
PTSD in aircrew is little understood by the medical establishment and, as Broken Wings
illustrates, the airline industry has little to gain and much to lose from even acknowledging
or relating the disorder to aircrew. Devoid of self-pity, Nattanya chronicles her struggles
and her triumphs in dealing with governments, union and industry blockades, but it is a book
that offers more.
Through her research, Nattanya exposes rare data on aircrew health concerns, which are
inextricably interwoven with her own story and illustrated by personal accounts.
Broken Wings explores other health issues deeply affecting professional
flyers including: turbulence; air rage; radiation exposure; circadian rhythm disturbances;
flight phobia and anxiety; alcoholism and psychiatric illnesses in air crew; air quality
and quantity; and airplanes as disease incubators. Readers will be rivited by the revealing
data about pilots, interwoven with inflight anecdotes, and insights into aircrew lifestyle.
For the first time, a professional flyer offers us insights not ony into PTSD,
but into the airline industry, and some of it most serious failings when it
comes to the health and safety of its inflight workers and its clients.