Pilots' mental health a concern amid jet mystery

Pilots' mental health a concern amid jet mystery

DALLAS (AP) — A variety of measures are used to keep dangerous people out of the cockpit.

But what if the pilot is the problem?

Many U.S. airlines perform mental health screenings when pilots and crew apply for jobs. Once a pilot is hired, however, U.S. airlines rarely if ever retest a pilot for mental health. Under federal rules, U.S. pilots must pass a physical exam annually or every six months, depending on their age. There is no specific requirement for a mental-health test, though.

The FAA does require pilots to report any use of prescription drugs, substance abuse, drunken-driving arrests, "mental disorders of any sort" and if they have attempted suicide. Some conditions disqualify a person from being an airline pilot, including bipolar disease, a "severe" and repeated personality disorder, and psychosis.