EASA Seeks to Improve Pilot Mental Fitness

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | December 9, 2016
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[Avionics Magazine 12-8-2016] The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published a proposal to the European Commission on new operational rules to better support pilot mental fitness. EASA’s proposal is part of its Action Plan following the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident.
A Germanwings A320. Photo: Wikipedia.
Released in a document known as an Opinion (Opinion 14/2016), the proposals include the following new requirements:
Ensuring that all pilots have access to a support program;
Mandating airlines to perform a psychological assessment of pilots before the start of employment;
Introducing systematic Drug & Alcohol (D&A) testing of flight and cabin crew upon employment, after a serious incident or accident, with due cause (i.e. following reasonable suspicion), as well as
Unannounced D&A testing after rehabilitation and return to work;
As an additional safety barrier for airlines, which are not already subject to a national program for psychoactive substance testing: mandatory random alcohol screening of flight and cabin crew within the EU RAMP inspection program.
The proposed rules have been subject to consultation with all stakeholders concerned. As part of a total system approach, they complement the proposals EASA issued in August of this year on the update of medical requirements for pilots (Part-MED).

The proposals address relevant safety recommendations made after the Flight 9525 accident by the EASA-led Task Force, as well as by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA). 

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