For 33 years, Ap worked as a pilot for KLM with great enthusiasm. The first 7 years as a co-pilot on the DC9, and then as a captain on the DC9, B737, A310, and from 1994 on the B747-400. His enthusiasm was big enough that in 2011, after retiring from KLM, he didn’t want to sit idle and eagerly seized the opportunity to continue flying for Korean Air.

Ap: “In that ‘after career,’ I was more than happy: new destinations, interacting with different people and cultures, etc. Very intensive but, in one word, amazing! Unfortunately, that came to an abrupt end around mid-2014 when I suddenly experienced significant physical problems, such as acute hearing loss, various neurological issues, and extreme fatigue. That marked the end of my flying career and the beginning of a challenging time filled with numerous doctor visits, accepting limitations, and searching for possible causes, and, if possible, solutions…

Partly thanks to a colleague’s tip, I quickly discovered the cause of my symptoms: the air on board turned out to be contaminated with organophosphates, highly toxic substances that affect the nervous system. Even very low doses can accumulate in the body until they reach a critical level and then suddenly trigger the aforementioned symptoms.

I got in touch with people who greatly helped me with proper guidance, dietary supplements, and therapies like neurofeedback and Raymedy. I have benefited immensely from these, making daily life much ‘more normal’ again. Flying, even as a passenger, is no longer an option (unless it’s on a B787 Dreamliner, which doesn’t use the Bleed Air system). Hopefully, there will be many more Bleed-free aircraft available in the near future.

As an ‘experienced expert,’ I have realized the importance of receiving timely and accurate information and being able to access targeted assistance. That is precisely the goal of Stichting Fly Aware! With my contribution to the foundation, I hope to help others on their journey!”