Are Pilots Hiding Health Issues?

Published: 09-11-2023
Have pilots been misreporting their medical condition?

Photo by Markus Frieauff on Unsplash

Photo by Markus Frieauff on Unsplash

Being a pilot means taking on the responsibility for the lives of hundreds of people. All pilots, from commercial airline pilots to private pilots, must pass medical standards to get their license.

For commercial airline pilots, tests are done for vision, hearing, blood pressure, and even diabetes. But not all pilots have been open about their medical realities, especially as it pertains to mental disabilities and disorders.

A new report from The Washington Post reveals that about 4,800 are being investigated by the FAA for presenting false medical information. About 60, so far, have been forced to stop flying because they “posed a clear danger to aviation safety”.

These pilots were discovered due to the fact that many were receiving benefits for mental health disorders and other conditions that would make them unfit to fly, yet they never disclosed these conditions. The pilots were veterans that made disability claims, yet continued to keep their licenses to fly.

Approximately 600 of the total 4,800 had licenses for passenger airlines, while the rest held commercial licenses that permitted various jobs such as cargo or touring companies.

This incident raised questions as to whether or not the reporting on health conditions is strict enough for pilots. Fabricated health statements or nondisclosures put more than the pilots’ lives at risks. Especially as it pertains to mental health issues, the FAA relies on self-reporting for such diagnoses.

The FAA will continue to investigate, and changes may be coming, depending on their findings.

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