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Briefing January 2014 Issue

Briefing: January 2014

Industry Objects To New FAA Sleep-Apnea Policy

Industry watchdogs were quick to react when the FAA unilaterally implemented a new policy to detect and treat obstructive sleep apnea in pilots. Federal Flight Surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton told Aviation Medical Examiners to automatically refer pilots with a body mass index of more than 40 to sleep specialists for assessment, and if apnea is detected, pilots will be grounded until they’re successfully treated. The new policy, which bypassed the usual rulemaking process, was prompted by NTSB safety recommendations, the FAA said. EAA and AOPA demanded immediate suspension of the policy pending review. “There has been no evidence of sleep apnea as a cause...of general aviation accidents,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. AOPA president Mark Baker called the change “arbitrary and capricious.”

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