House Committee Votes to Ensure Open Process for Aviation Rule-Making
A House committee agreed Wednesday to slow down the Federal Aviation Administration's effort to start testing overweight pilots and air-traffic controllers for sleep disorders.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved legislation that would require the FAA to conduct a formal rulemaking before adopting the new tests as part of medical certification for pilots and controllers.
The legislation, if adopted, would slow down the effort by FAA's air surgeon, Fred Tilton, to require medical tests for sleep disorders. He announced the "major" policy change in a November bulletin because of concerns that overweight pilots or controllers could lose sleep that could hurt their performance at work.
The proposal aimed to calculate each pilot's Body Mass Index, which is weight divided by height, when they are examined every six months or a year. Anyone with a BMI of at least 40 or who has at least a 17-inch neck would have to be evaluated by a sleep specialist.