In a new policy statement released on Friday, the FAA said that individuals being treated for “mild to moderate” depression with one of four antidepressant medications–specifically, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and their generic equivalents–can be considered for special issuance of a pilot medical certificate.
Like all high-tech industries, aviation has hardware, software and wetware. The last is a euphemism for the gray matter between a pilot’s ears (or a controller’s, mechanic’s or any other operator’s, for that matter). Over the 10 decades of powered flight, we’ve vastly improved aircraft engines and airframes. In the past two decades or so, computer processors and databases have left their indelible imprint on avionics.
The Centre for Human Sciences at British aerospace and defense research group Qinetiq has developed software that it says can assess and predict crew fatigue for any given set of flight operations. The system for aircrew fatigue evaluation (Safe) has been produced with the support of the UK Civil Aviation Authority and is now undergoing operational evaluation by the agency and several leading airlines.
The FAA determined that the minimum percentage rate for substance abuse testing this year will remain at 25 percent of covered aviation employees for random drug testing and 10 percent for random alcohol testing. Data received in the last two years indicates that the positive rate for drug testing is less than 1 percent and the positive rate for alcohol testing has been less than 0.5 percent.
In February 2002 the FAA proposed to make it clear that each person who performs a safety-sensitive function directly or by contract for an employer (“including by subcontract at any tier”) is subject to drug and alcohol testing.
In response to “a number of accidents” in which the pilots had omitted or lied about substance/alcohol dependency during medical evaluations, the NTSB is recommending three policy changes to the FAA: the agency should require pilots to submit full arrest and court records to medical examiners, including details such as blood alcohol and behavior at the time of the offense; ensure that complete medical records from the Aerospace Medical Certifi
AgustaWestland has won a contract from the UK government’s cabinet office to supply resilience training. These services will be provided as part of the Project Gold Standard, which aims at effective management of emergencies and disasters. AgustaWestland will teach strategic Gold commanders using courses, simulation and exercises. The first Gold Standard Exercise is pegged for June 25.
Monday is the final day to comment on a proposed rule published by the FAA that, if enacted, would extend the duration of first- and third-class medical certificates for airmen under the age of 40. Currently, the maximum validity of a first-class medical certificate is six months, regardless of age. For a third-class medical certificate, the validity period is 36 months for pilots under 40.
Under a notice of proposed rulemaking published today, the FAA is seeking comments on its intention to increase the duration of first-class and third-class medicals for airmen under the age of 40. Currently, the maximum validity of a first-class medical certificate is six months, regardless of age.
Some 43 pilots in Northern California charged with making false statements on their applications for medical certifications entered plea agreements. But one went to trial and lost. Michael Pennington, a former chief pilot and maintenance director for Mountain Life Flight, an air ambulance service, was found guilty.