An investigation has revealed that some 4,800 pilots on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) payroll have concealed that they are simultaneously receiving Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits for conditions that would disqualify them from flying.
The benefits the veteran airmen received were provided for physical and mental disabilities, according to the Washington Post, which broke the news and calculated that of the group studied, some 600 were active in civilian aviation.
The suspected fraud came to light after the VA cross-referenced its databases with those of the FAA more than two years ago. Still, the FAA held its lips tight shut about the inconvenient outcome of the survey for two years.
Finally, FAA spokesman Matthew Lehner conceded in a statement that the bureau has been investigating approximately 4,800 pilots “who might have submitted incorrect or false information as part of their medical applications.”
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According to data collected by the National Transportation Safety Board, medical issues in aviators were responsible for 9 percent of all plane crashes from 2012 to 2022.
Of the 4,800 flyers scrutinized, Lehner said only 60 “posed a clear danger to aviation safety” and had their licenses suspended on an emergency basis while investigations into their cases are ongoing.
According to Colorado-based aviation attorney Joseph LoRusso, it is a well-known fact that 85 percent of pilots falsified information on their FAA application forms or failed to disclose medical problems. About a third of all airmen received their training in the military.
Lowering pilots’ health requirement standards
It’s not the first time the FAA has been suspected of not keeping aviation staff and passengers’ safety in too high regard. The agency seems to get more and more inclusive by loosening up its health requirements for pilots.
Last October, the administration dramatically widened its EKG standards for screening aspiring and employed captains without announcement or explanation, technical entrepreneur and researcher Steve Kirsch wrote on his website.
According to Kirsch, the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners revealed the FAA quietly widened the EKG parameters beyond the normal range (from a PR max of .2 to unlimited), thus making the medical test passable for a much larger group, including those with heart-related medical issues, to take or stay on the job.
“Passenger safety is being compromised by the lowering of the standards to enable pilots to fly,” Kirsch wrote, adding that he suspects the threshold was broadened in light of cardiovascular damage sustained as a result of side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines that were often required for pilots and other staff.
Earlier this year, US Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen and Office of Aerospace Medicine Federal Air Surgeon Susan Northrup in which he revealed the skyrocketing increase in diseases and injuries in airline pilots which, the senator said, occurred after the mass vaccination mandates across the military.
The number went up from 164 in 2018 to 2,861 in 2021 and 4,059 in 2022, according to data Johnson received through a whistleblower, as reported by ZeroHedge. The congressman wondered whether such a dramatic hike would also have occurred in the civil aviation industry.