FAA Points to Pilot Emotional Distress as Factor in MH370 Disappearance

The FAA has announced that it is “working with the commercial aviation and medical communities to study the emotional and mental health of U.S. commercial pilots,” following recommendations from the joint FAA and industry group CAST (Commercial Aviation Safety Team).

CAST “recommended the study based on the recent Malaysia Flight 370 and Germanwings Flight 9525 accidents,” the FAA indicates.

The FAA further indicates that a Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) will make recommendations to the FAA within six months.

“The group will include U.S. and international government and industry aviation experts, including a working group of medical professionals who specialize in aerospace medicine,” the FAA writes. “U.S. pilots undergo robust medical screening, but recent accidents in other parts of the world prompted the FAA to take a new look at the important issue of pilot fitness.”

The ARC will examine the awareness and reporting of emotional and mental health issues in the industry, the methods used to evaluate pilot emotional and mental health, and any barriers to reporting.

The FAA may consider “changes to medical methods, aircraft design, policies and procedures, pilot training and testing, training for Aerospace Medical Examiners, or potential actions that may be taken by professional, airline, or union groups, based on recommendations from the group.” According to the FAA, the ARC’s meetings will not be open to the public.

Federal Aviation Regulations outline the medical requirements for pilots. U.S airline pilots undergo a medical exam with an FAA-approved physician every six or twelve months depending on the pilot’s age.

2 thoughts on “FAA Points to Pilot Emotional Distress as Factor in MH370 Disappearance

  1. The actions of Lubbitz on the Germanwings flight are entirely different from Zahari Shah on MH370. Lubbitz was an obviously unstable narcissistic personality for many years before the flight. Zahari was a well rounded balanced individual.

    Point of fact the bizarre Air New Zealand Boeing 777 flight from Perth in July 2014 when the Captain locked out his co-pilot proved that MH370 was not pilot suicide.

    It did not take the crew on that Air New Zealand flight 7+ hours to bypass a ballistic cockpit door. People need to use their heads about MH370 and stop being swayed by hysterical conjecture.

    1. This post was only intended to point out that the FAA included MH370 in this context, which, given how little authorities have said on the matter was odd.

      You are right to point out that Germanwings was an entirely different situation. In that case, we know what happened.

      The FAA does not say that pilot lockout played any part in MH370. What they say only points to pilot distress.

      Were it anyone but the FAA making this connection, I would not have written it up, but that they included it in this report bore mentioning.

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