Jet Mystery Spotlights How Airlines Gauge Pilots' Mental Fitness

Posted on March 21, 2014

Photo: flickr

Investigators’ focus on the role of pilots on the missing Malaysian jetliner casts a spotlight on how commercial aviators are screened for mental health.

Malaysian Airline System Bhd. gives psychological tests, a common industry practice in Asia, where two of five carriers with in-flight suicides since 1982 are based. In the U.S. and Europe, with no cases in that span, regulators don't mandate recurring psychological exams and depend on pilots to disclose past or current issues and medications during physical checkups.

Americans involved in training pilots say extensive psychological tests aren’t necessary in the world’s largest aviation market because U.S. airlines tend to hire accomplished military pilots or civilians with thousands of hours of experience who have proved their mettle in commuter planes. Lengthy flight experience weeds out potentially unstable recruits before they reach a jetliner cockpit, they say.

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Source material from Business Week

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