The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has joined forces with the Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to study the emotional and mental health of commercial pilots in the country.
The study follows recommendation from the joint FAA and industry group Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), in the wake of recent Malaysia Flight 370 and Germanwings Flight 9525 incidents.
The ARC includes US and international government and industry aviation experts, as well as working group of medical professionals who specialise in aerospace medicine.
The committee will provide FAA with recommendations within six months. During the six months, the pilots will undergo medical screening as well as an evaluation to study their emotional and mental health.
In addition to the screening and evaluation, ARC will analyse the reasons that act as barriers for the pilots to report their mental condition.
Based on the recommendations, FAA may amend the existing medical methods, aircraft design, policies and procedures, pilot training and testing, training for aerospace medical examiners, or potential actions that may be taken by professional, airline, or union groups.
Currently, an FAA-approved physician examines US airline pilots for every six or 12 months depending on the pilot's age.