NBAA welcomed passage by the House of Representatives of H.R.3578, which compels the FAA to establish a rulemaking process before implementing any mandatory pilot-screening requirement for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as a condition for getting a medical certificate. In November, the FAA announced a plan to begin requiring OSA screening for pilots with a body mass index of 40 or greater. “The business aviation community thanks lawmakers for passing this measure seeking a fully transparent process for any consideration of OSA screening,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
NBAA has criticized the FAA’s proposed action on sleep apnea among pilots. Doug Carr, the group’s vice president for safety, security and regulation, last week condemned as “unacceptable” FAA flight surgeon Dr Fred Tilton’s plan to require some pilots and air traffic controllers to undergo screening for obstructive sleep apnea. Opponents of the policy claim it is not supported by research.
Proposed legislation addressing sleep apnea will require pilots to be tested for sleep apnea, but maintenance personnel, who are not required to pass an FAA physical, are not addressed.
Losing sleep is more than simply an inconvenience. Good slumber is essential for good health and clear mental and emotional functioning, and for this reason sleep disorders should concern pilots and maintenance technicians.