A new study about pilot mental health published by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concludes “hundreds of pilots currently flying are managing depressive symptoms perhaps without the possibility of treatment due to the fear of negative career impacts.”
Pilot Mental Health
On December 9, EASA proposed new operational rules to better support pilot mental fitness, most of which seem to be correct. However, there might be some ambiguities that need to be resolved and refined.
EASA issued a regulatory framework to address cockpit mental health. FAA suggested including some interdiction points beyond the government.
FAA’s “thinking before jumping” resulted in a list of recommendations which will minimize the risk of pilot mental health issues in future flights.
The EASA work has flaws and some of those problems may have been the product of trying to respond quickly.
A more precise answer by the DoT might have mentioned that on May 11, the FAA issued the Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee Charter.
The Airline Pilot Association recently took strong positions on two high profile issues against two Washington aviation trade associations with considerable policy-making clout. In a time when aviation consensus is critical to passage of the FAA Reauthorization, such discord is problematic.
The Germanwings 9525 suicide flight has raised the question of pilots’ mental health and there is no doubt that assessing the psychology of a captain or second-in-command is very hard to determine. There are now two related tasks established by the FAA to find solutions.