WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board, in a Safety Recommendation Report issued recently, urged the FAA and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to educate pilots and aviation medical examiners about the hazards cataracts pose to flight safety.
The report contains three NTSB safety recommendations for the development and dissemination of educational information for pilots and aviation medical examiners about the risks cataracts may pose, particularly at night.
NTSB Safety Recommendation Reports contain recommendations derived from one or more NTSB investigations and are focused on a specific issue identified in the course of the investigation. The recommendations may not stem from a major investigation, however the issue is important enough to warrant a recommendation to improve transportation safety, NTSB officials explain.
In this report, the recommendations were derived from the NTSB’s investigation of a fatal, Dec. 26, 2013, accident in Fresno, California.
In that case, the pilot was able to pass FAA medical certification vision testing, but had progressive cataracts and had demonstrated difficulty landing his airplane at night.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident was “the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from trees while on approach, which subsequently led to a loss of airplane control. Also causal was the pilot’s continued operation of the airplane at night with a diagnosed medical condition that degraded his night vision.”
Medical fitness for duty is one of the issues on the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.
The Safety Recommendation Report is available here.