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Audit Initiated of FAA’s Evaluation of Pilot Mental Health

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Requested by Senator Dianne Feinstein
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for evaluating the psychological health of airline pilots. In March 2015, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the Alps, killing all 150 people on board. Since 1994, there have been at least four similar incidents, resulting in 398 fatalities. For all these crashes, the suspected or confirmed cause was the intentional action by a pilot. Senator Dianne Feinstein requested that DOT-OIG review FAA’s oversight of flight deck safety, airline pilots’ psychological health, and whether FAA medical requirements and pilot screening mitigate potential threats to aviation safety. In 2017, DOT-OIG issued a report addressing FAA’s oversight of flight deck vulnerabilities. Accordingly, the audit objectives will be to assess FAA’s procedures for (1) evaluating the psychological health of airline pilots and (2) mitigating potential threats to aviation safety from pilots with psychological health issues.