The FAA’s plan to implement a new policy requiring screening of pilots for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has been put on hold, pending FAA consultation with industry stakeholders, according to GA lobby groups. FAA Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton had planned to have aviation medical examiners begin requiring pilots with a body mass index of 40 or more to undergo mandatory OSA screening, with plans eventually to lower that threshold to 30.
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.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association (CAMA), a group that represents aviation medical examiners (AMEs) in the U.S., is opposing the FAA’s newly proposed policy “that would task AMEs to determine body mass index (BMI) on all pilot applicants.” A BMI exceeding a set value–initially 40–would require evaluation by a board-certified sleep specialist to determine if the pilot applicant has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The House aviation subcommittee cleared legislation yesterday that would force the FAA to follow established rulemaking processes before implementing a new requirement that some pilots be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. The bill, H.R. 3578, was introduced on November 21 by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), chairman of the Transportation Committee’s aviation subcommittee.
The Jan. 4, 2014 implementation date for new Part 117 regulations on fatigue applies only to scheduled air carriers, but many observers believe elements of the new law will eventually work their way to business aviation.
NetJets is installing the Tempus IC system–a lightweight device that connects cabin crew to ground medical facilities through the aircraft’s satellite telephone system–aboard its midsize and large-cabin fleet of business aircraft. According to a NetJets spokesperson, some of the company’s current in-service fleet of Bombardier Global 5000s and 6000s already have the Tempus equipment installed and an additional number of the fractional ownership provider’s Globals, as well as its Challenger 350s and 605s, are being fitted with the system.
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.
NBAA and AOPA welcomed legislation introduced on Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the FAA to go through the rulemaking process before issuing any requirement for some pilots to undergo screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. Earlier this month, Federal Air Surgeon Dr.
The U.S. federal air surgeon, Dr. Fred Tilton, plans to demand specific sleep apnea testing for airmen who fit a particular profile. Untreated sleep apnea can be disqualifying to anyone with an FAA-issued medical certificate.