Pilot Who Switched Off Engines Mid-Flight Was Tripping On Mushrooms & ‘Hadn’t Slept For Days’

Not groovy, dude.

Pilot Who Switched Off Engines Mid-Flight Was Tripping On Mushrooms & ‘Hadn’t Slept For Days’


The Horizon Air flight that saw a pilot attempt to switch off the plane’s engines mid-flight has taken an unexpected turn; it has been revealed the pilot was tripping on psychedelics.

We’ve long been believers of psychedelics’ transformative powers when it comes to mental health, covering Jada Smith’s revelations with the drugs and speaking to psychedelic tycoons about the oncoming psychedelic renaissance in Australia. This story, however, is a prime example of the potential pitfalls in the unstoppable rise of psychedelics.

On Sunday, an off-duty Horizon Air pilot, 44-year-old Joseph David Emerson, was charged with a serious attempt to shut down his plane’s engines midway through a packed flight. It has now been revealed that Emerson had consumed psychedelics shortly prior to the flight and that they drugs inspired his dangerous behaviour.

WATCH: Dr Robin Carhart-Harris On Psychedelics.

During the flight Emerson, who was seated in the cockpit’s jump seat, engaged the plane’s fire suppression system, pulling on two red handles designed to cut off fuel supplies to the plane’s engines. As reported by One Mile At A Time, two other pilots on board had to wrestle Emerson to the floor to avoid a total shutdown of the plane.

They swiftly called on the help of flight attendants who dragged Emerson to the very back of the plane and restrained him, keeping him as far away from the plane’s controls as possible. While Emerson was quick to express his remorse for endangering a plane full of people, it was too little too late.

Emerson has subsequently claimed to have been in the middle of a nervous breakdown, revealing that he hadn’t slept for over 40 hours directly prior to the incident and that he had tried psilocybin, aka Magic Mushrooms, for the first time only a day before the flight.

The man was an off-duty Boeing 737 pilot. Image: OMAAT

Emerson has since been cooperative with legal authorities and expressed a willingness to fully partake in any reprimanding measures that are likely to come his way. While on one hand, this story highlights the increasing presence of mental health issues amongst men and the community more widely, it also raises important questions about the role psychedelics should play in their treatment.

This story hits close to home for us given that psilocybin has just been legalised in Australia for mental health treatment. While many are excited at the potential of these substances to aid treatments across the nation, this incident shows that the drugs can have hugely adverse effects if not properly monitored or administered.