WASHINGTON, D.C. — This could be the beginning of something big: The FAA has followed recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board and announced a program to check the weight of pilots in order to produce safer flight. The announced reason is that overweight people have a tendency to be more liable to suffer sleep apnea.
Officials at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says no data supports the NTSB/FAA claim that apnea is a problem in general aviation, adding there’s only been one known case of a commercial airliner flying with both pilots asleep.
Just imagine how much safer auto travel could become if drivers were weighed. Checking equestrians will produce safer travel, also. The poor horses will be protected. And in those cities where there are streetcars, weighing conductors could limit who could be given a job. Checking engineers on the railroads can certainly improve safety.
All this can severely restrict travel and people will have to walk wherever they wish to go. Of course, there is the danger here of getting bunions, but that can provide another big job for the federal rule makers at a later date, thus keeping government jobs secure.
How the FAA and NTSB can come up with ideas like this was brought to the forefront many years ago. Max Karant, an AOPA executive, asked an FAA official how the agency comes up with its ideas for regulations. The executive said: “We sit around our offices. Suddenly a voice is heard from above: “Make a rule,” it booms.”Yes,” we answer. “A good or bad rule?” “BAAAD,” says the voice.
That levity at the expense of the hard-working people as the FAA brings to mind another quip: Why doesn’t an FAA rule maker look out the window in the morning? Because if he did he would have nothing to do in the afternoon.
On top of all that, the NTSB made the recommendation to the FAA in 2009. Four years later, the FAA takes action. Isn’t it great that government moves so slow!