DOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead has recommended that “Operation Safe Pilot” be expanded beyond its initial scope to include all of California and, presumably, other states. If you will recall from my July 20, 2005, “Operation Safe Pilot” compared a list of individuals collecting disability benefits from the Social Security Administration against the list of certificated airman in California. That comparison resulted in discovery of pilots who were collecting disability and had failed to disclose those disqualifying medical conditions on their airman medical certificate applications. Approximately 40 of those pilots are currently being prosecuted for fraud and, obviously, are losing their airman medical certificates.
On July 22, 2005, the Inspector General sent a Memorandum to the FAA stating that “it is important that FAA take steps to proactively identify and address similar falsifications occurring elsewhere across the greater community of certificated pilots.” The Inspector General went on to recommend that “FAA, working with SSA and the other disability benefits providers, expedite development and implementation of a strategy to carry out these checks and take appropriate certificate enforcement action where falsifications are found” and that “FAA should also consider revising its Application for Airman Medical Certificate in the near future to require applicants to explicitly identify whether they are receiving medical disability benefits from any provider.”
I won’t repeat here my observations and criticism of the pilots from my earlier post. Suffice it to say that the Inspector General and the FAA feel they are on to something and will likely be pursuing it in the future. Stay tuned.