The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continually works with the aviation and medical communities to ensure that pilots are fit to fly. On March 2, the FAA will issue new medical guidance to Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs) that incorporates industry and Congressional feedback balanced with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) safety concerns about pilots flying with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
OSA inhibits restorative sleep. Untreated OSA always has been a disqualifying medical condition and will continue to be disqualifying. The FAA is not changing its medical standards related to OSA; however, it is revising the screening approach to help AMEs find undiagnosed and untreated OSA. The new guidance will improve safety and pilot health by reducing the burdens and disincentives that may have prevented some pilots from seeking an OSA evaluation and treatment.