FAA Rules That Depressed Pilots Are Allowed to Fly With Medication

Suzanne Murray
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airplane
Flickr photo by Kossy@FINEDAYS
I hate flying. I used to calm myself down with the theory that the pilot didn't want to die either so she wouldn't intentionally do anything to crash the plane. (That was pre 9/11.)

But until I saw the recent news on the FAA's decision to allow pilots taking antidepressants to fly, I had never really thought about depressed pilots. What if a pilot wanted to end her life -- and in doing so, took all his passengers down with her?

Previous FAA policy banned pilots suffering from depression from flying (even if they took medication) because "the condition can be distracting in the cockpit and pose a safety risk."

Now depressed pilots can fly as long as they seek treatment with one of four medications.

I, for one, would much rather have a depressed pilot on medication flying my plane than a depressed pilot who's not on medication. Under the old policy, a pilot would have lost her job if she was on medication --  kind of an incentive to forgo the meds that would help, and fly depressed.

Pilots who control their depression for one year using one of the four approved medications will be able to seek permission to fly.

The new policy makes me feel a lot safer. How about you?

Are you okay flying with a pilot who is being treated for depression?

 

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