FAA to Check Obese Pilots for Sleep Apnea

Obese pilots and air traffic controllers will soon need to be screened over concerns that their weight is causing them to lose sleep, negatively impacting their work performance, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Thanks to reader Sandie for passing on the story below:

FAA flight surgeon Fred Tilton said Tuesday that under the new policy all pilots and air traffic controllers with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 or a neck measurement of more than 17 inches will have to be checked by a sleep specialist before they can get their medical certificate to work. Eventually, the plan will move to test all pilots and air traffic controllers with a BMI of 30. Body mass index calculates weight divided by height. That means a 6-foot tall man with a BMI of 40 would weigh nearly 300 pounds. With a BMI of 30, that same man would weigh 220 pounds. This plan comes five years after two pilots aboard a Go Airlines flight between islands in Hawaii fell asleep and overshot the airport. The flight eventually landed without further incident but the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation. “It really has the same physiological effects as drinking. And so you don’t want a drunk pilot flying your airplane any more than you would want a pilot who hasn’t had appropriate sleep flying your airplane,” said former fighter pilot and ABC News consultant Stephen Ganyard Ganyard.

Check out the full video and story from ABC News here.

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