Thursday, June 20, 2024

US officials believe 5,000 pilots are suspected of having serious health problems

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According to an exclusive report published in the American “Washington Post” newspaper, US federal authorities are investigating nearly 5,000 pilots suspected of falsifying their medical records and concealing the fact that they received financial benefits in exchange for mental disorders and other serious illnesses. Circumstances where they are not fit to fly. .

It said the audited pilots were military personnel and were in good health and thus qualified to take up the aviation profession. Veterans receive financial benefits for their disabilities, which would be enough to disqualify them from working in the cockpit.

Got it two years ago

Veterans Affairs investigators discovered the discrepancies two years ago by checking federal databases, but the FAA has kept many details of the case secret from the public.

FAA spokesman Matthew Lehner acknowledged in a statement that about 4,800 pilots may have provided false or misleading information as part of their medical requirements. The FAA has now put an end to about half of those cases, and has ordered about 60 pilots who pose a clear risk to flight safety to stop flying on an emergency basis while their records are reviewed.

A senior US official familiar with the matter – who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity – said about 600 of the pilots under investigation were licensed to work for passenger airlines. Most have business licenses that allow them to travel for hire, including shipping companies or tour operators.

Weaknesses in the flight management medical system

Experts said the investigation revealed longstanding weaknesses in the FAA’s medical system for screening pilots.

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He pointed out that pilots are required to pass routine health screenings, but that are often brief, and that the Federal Aviation Administration relies on pilots to self-report health conditions they find difficult to diagnose; Such as: depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the doctors doing the tests.

Doctors and former FAA officials say many veterans are underreporting their health problems to the FAA, and they’re telling VAs too much to increase their disability payments.

The report said the Office of the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs is currently investigating several cases involving 4,800 airmen to determine whether any of them should be referred to the Justice Department to face charges of fraud in the benefits system.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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