New Safety Recommendations from NTSB
Improving Pilot and Aviation Medical Examiner Knowledge of Cataract Hazards
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is providing the following information to urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to take action on the safety recommendations in this report. These recommendations address the flight safety of pilots who develop cataracts. These recommendations are derived from the NTSB’s investigation of a December 26, 2013, fatal aircraft accident in Fresno, CA, involving a pilot with progressive cataracts who had demonstrated recent difficulty landing his airplane at night, but was able to pass FAA medical certification vision testing. The NTSB has determined there is limited educational information provided to pilots and aviation medical examiners (AME) concerning the hazards cataracts pose to flight safety, especially at night. As a result, the NTSB is issuing two recommendations to the FAA and one recommendation to AOPA.
For more information please see http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/asr1603.aspx.
Membership Database Login Issues
Members: The login process issues associated with our AsMA website have been corrected and members can now login using your e-mail address as the Username and the new password you established in our new Association Managment System - Impexium. However, we have found that some government and military e-mail servers are blocking the Change Password e-mail from arriving to the e-mail destination. In some cases, upon changing e-mails associated with your member record to a personal e-mail address, the issue was resolved. If you would like for us to change your e-mail to a personal e-mail, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will e-mail you the reset password link to the personal e-mail address.
Membership Database Migration Complete
AsMA would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience during our new database transition. We know this has been an inconvenience, but we are sure that in time, you will recognize the benefits of the new database.
In order to gain access to the Members Only section of the AsMA website, you must reset your password. Your previous username and password are no longer valid.
To reset your password:
1. Please click here. This link will direct you to enter your e-mail address.
2. You must use the e-mail address that is associated with your AsMA account. (If you need to update your e-mail address, you will have the opportunity to do so once you have completed the Change Password process and are redirected to your new Member Profile.) To ensure that you receive emails from our database, please add email@example.com to your e-mail contacts.
3. One you have entered the e-mail address associated with your AsMA membership record, please click submit.
4. You will then be notified that an e-mail was sent to you at the e-mail address entered with a link to reset your password.
5. Please look for the e-mail in your inbox.
6. Click on the link provided in the e-mail which will then take you to a “Reset Password” page.
7. Enter and confirm the new password and click on “Change Password”.
8. You will then be directed to your profile page.
Please Note: We are still working through data and migration problems and once again ask for your patience during this time.
United States Commercial Aviation Community Targets Pilot Mental Fitness
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with commercial airlines and pilots’ unions to improve mental health evaluations, and encourage voluntary reporting of pilot mental health issues. An Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) comprised of aviation and medical experts has made several recommendations about pilot medical fitness.
Certain medical conditions, such as a psychosis, bipolar disorder and severe personality disorder automatically disqualify a pilot from obtaining an FAA medical certificate and prohibit them from flying. However, many pilots have conditions that are treatable. Several U.S. airlines already have reporting and monitoring programs that provide pilots with a path to report their condition, be treated for it and return to the cockpit once the FAA has determined – through a thorough evaluation – it is safe to do so. The FAA addresses the medical certificates of those pilots on a case-by-case basis.
The FAA, airlines and pilots’ unions considered the ARC’s recommendations and agreed to these actions:
- In January, the FAA began enhanced training for Aviation Medical Examiners so they can increase their knowledge on mental health and enhance their ability to identify warning signs.
- Airlines and unions will expand the use of pilot assistance programs. The FAA will support the development of these programs over the next year. These programs will be incorporated in the airline’s Safety Management Systems for identifying risk.
- The FAA will work with airlines over the next year as they develop programs to reduce the stigma around mental health issues by increasing awareness and promoting resources to help resolve mental health problems.
- The FAA will issue guidance to airlines to promote best practices about pilot support programs for mental health issues.
- The FAA will ask the Aerospace Medical Association to consider addressing the issue of professional reporting responsibilities on a national basis and to present a resolution to the American Medical Association. Reporting requirements currently vary by state and by licensing and specialty boards.
The ARC’s experts did not recommend routine psychological testing because there was no convincing evidence that it would improve safety, which the Aerospace Medical Association also concluded in a letter to Administrator Huerta in September 2015, stating that in-depth psychological testing of pilots as part of routine periodic care is neither productive nor cost effective. Instead, the FAA and the aviation community is embracing a holistic approach that includes education, outreach, training, and encourages reporting and treatment of mental health issues. The FAA will reconvene the ARC’s medical working group this year to determine if specific U.S. psychological research projects should be sponsored to better understand general pilot mental health. The FAA will also collaborate with the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority which is studying the psychological testing of pilots who underwent personality testing several decades ago, to include medical and psychiatric outcomes, as well as exploring early recognition of personality and behavioral issues that could pose issues in the future for pilots.
To read more, see the complete press release
and the Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee Report
FAA to Finalize Rule Allowing Oxygen Machines on Flights
The Hill (5/23, Wheeler, 884K) reports that the FAA is finalizing a rule, which will “allow travelers with medically diagnosed breathing problems to carry their oxygen machines with them on flights.” The article writes that the rule requires the machines to be “approved by the Food and Drug Administration, must not contain any hazardous materials and must not interfere with aircraft systems.” The FAA “said manufacturers will save $108,000 over 10 years from no longer having to petition the FAA for a rulemaking with each new device they want to add to the list of POCs approved for use aboard an aircraft.” The FAA also estimates airlines will save $39 million “in the time it takes crew members to review notes from physicians.”
BEA Germanwings 9525 Final Report Released
The Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA) released the final report on their investigation of the Germanwings Flight 9525 that crashed in the French Alps on March 24, 2015. The AsMA Pilot Mental Health Working Group worked closely with the BEA investigation team and several of the AsMA Pilot Mental Health Working Group's recommendations are incorporated in the BEA final report.
Go to the AsMA Pilot Mental Health webpage.
Access the BEA Final Report on the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident.
Winner of the 2015 AsMA Fellows Scholarship
The AsMA Fellows Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce their selection of the winner of the 2015 scholarship. Babak Alagha, M.D. won the scholarship for his presentation and publication of a manuscript on "Conservative Management of Mechanical Neck Pain in a Helicopter Pilot”.
The $2,000 AsMA Fellows Scholarship is funded by the AsMA Foundation and is presented annually to an AsMA member who is a student in an aerospace medicine residency program, graduate program in aerospace medicine (Master or Ph.D.), medical certificate or aerospace diploma course, or in a full time education/training program in the allied fields of nursing, physiology, human factors, psychology, ergonomics, and engineering. Selection criteria include delivering a slide or poster presentation as a first author at the AsMA Annual Scientific Meeting and then submitting a manuscript as first author for publication in AsMA’s Aerospace Medicine & Human Performance Journal based on the same topic and/or material covered in the slide or poster presentation. The winner is selected by the AsMA Fellows Scholarship Committee based on the high scientific value, originality, quality and relevance of the candidates' presentations and published manuscripts.
Melchor Antuñano, M.D., M.S.
AsMA Fellows Scholarship Committee
AsMA Pilot Mental Health Recommendations Updated
The AsMA Pilot Mental Health Working Group recently reviewed their previously published recommendations on pilot mental health screening and updated those recommendations. This review was in response to the March 2015 Germanwings accident. Read the updated Pilot Mental Health recommendations.
AsMA Response to Draft Legislation on Third Class Medical Certification
Section 2 of the draft legislation titled Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 (H.R. 1062 and S. 571) makes significant changes to the medical certification requirements for a large portion of U.S. Private Pilots. The Aerospace Medical Association leadership and committees have carefully reviewed the draft legislation and a letter was sent to the FAA Administrator, members of the U.S. Congressional General Aviation Caucus, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, as well as the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation. The letter describes concerns with Section 2 of the draft legislation and encourages the use of the FAA Notice of Prposed Rule Making Processes so comments and concerns from the public can be properly voiced and considered by the rule makers.
READ THE ASMA LETTER
AsMA Response to Pilot Mental Health Issues
AsMA Pilot Mental Health Working Group Chairperson, Philip J. Scarpa, Jr., MD, MS, reponds to Pilot Mental Health Issues. Learn more about AsMA's efforts related to pilot mental health issues by visiting our Pilot Mental Health webpage.
Aeromedical Lessons Learned from Columbia Shuttle Mishap
Reflecting current efforts and understanding, Loss of Signal aims to present the story of Columbia from an aerospace medical angle, focusing holistically on what is important for future investigations and analysis of spacecraft mishaps. This book is written by those who participated in the crew recovery and analysis and is written from their first-hand perspective of the events. The loss of a human crew implies sensitivities that must be balanced against the public and industry need to know, with the guiding principle being prevention of further mishaps and enhanced protection for crewmembers.
Learn more here.