Those fiscal conservative readers may infer that the agency’s budget is being reduced and/or the unnecessary NextGen bells and whistles have been whittled down.
No, actually Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton has issued a policy requiring all airmen and controllers who have a body mass index of 40 or greater to undergo additional examinations. The bulletin specifies that these over 40 BMI women and men will have to get special statements from a Board certified sleep specialist that he or she can perform safety duties. This weight class is highly likely to suffer from sleep apnea and that problem has a high correlation with “excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment, cardiac dysrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, personality disturbances, and hypertension.” The FAA further supported its announcement with a reference to an NTSB safety recommendation.
Various pilot chat sites went wild with humorous and vitriolic comments, but the Flight Surgeon’s bulletin is supported by strong medical evidence and reflects the sort of preventative, analytical data which has provided great benefits in other aspects of aviation safety. Voices, EAA and AOPA , disagree. EAA’s reference to the Inhofe Pilots Bill of Rights is ingenious, but probably not determinative. More likely will be said.Share this article: