The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says nearly 5,000 pilots licensed to operate in the U.S. are under investigation for allegedly falsifying medical records to hide conditions that could potentially render them unfit to fly.
All of these pilots are military veterans who are accused of deliberately concealing significant health conditions or mental disorders from the FAA, despite reporting them to other officials to claim disability benefits, according to The Washington Post.
The discovery of these irregularities dates back over two years, with around 4,800 pilots having undergone investigation, half of which have been concluded, according to FAA spokesman Matthew Lehner.
Of these cases, approximately 60 pilots were deemed to pose a substantial threat to aviation safety and were consequently grounded during the review of their records.
For those cases still pending, Lehner noted that the majority of pilots could continue to operate safely while the reconciliation process was ongoing.
Around 600 of the pilots under scrutiny hold licences to operate passenger airlines, while the remainder possess commercial licences that enable them to work for cargo companies and other enterprises, an unnamed senior US official revealed.
This situation has brought attention to a long-criticised aspect of the FAA’s medical screening system for pilots, which relies on pilots to self-report their medical conditions.
Experts argue that this approach creates an incentive for veterans to hide their conditions from the FAA while potentially exaggerating them to the Veterans Affairs to secure disability benefits.
Aviation medical examiner Jerome Limoge emphasised this dual-sided approach, stating, “There are people out there who I think are trying to play both sides of the game… Some of it is almost stolen valour.”
In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that some contracted physicians working for the FAA had advised pilots to conceal their medical conditions.
In response to these revelations, the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine has allocated $3.6 million to hire new medical experts and staff who will reassess certification records for the pilots implicated in the investigation.
While the existence of cases involving fraudulent reporting has been known for over two decades, renewed scrutiny arose globally after the 2015 incident in which Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally crashed a passenger plane into the French Alps.
It was later discovered that he had concealed his history of suicidal tendencies and depression from his employer.
The investigation gained further traction in 2019 when the FAA’s data was compared to VA records, revealing approximately 5,000 cases that raised concerns.
The Inspector General Michael’s office is currently determining whether any of the flagged pilots should face charges for defrauding the Veterans Affairs.
Court records indicate that at least ten pilots have been federally prosecuted for providing false information to the FAA since 2018, including former Army pilot Rick Mangini, aged 52.
Mangini, who has been grounded due to undisclosed sleep apnea, expressed his belief that the current crackdown disproportionately targets veterans, suggesting that non-veteran pilots often withhold medical conditions from the FAA without similar repercussions.
Approximately one-third of the 110,000 commercial pilots in the United States received their aviation training in the military, as per FAA records.
How to make your money work for you over the next decade
With high interest rates, persistent inflation, and a tight labor market—the next decade is expected to be very different from the last 10 years.
Companies and households around the world are still trying to get back to pre-pandemic economic outputs and lifestyles.
So, how can people successfully invest and better manage their personal finances?
James Faris, an Investing Reporter with Insider joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #InAmericaToday #featured #money #finance #economy #investing
Parents buying houses for their adult children
Rise in parents purchasing homes for adult children sparks concerns
A growing trend of parents buying houses for their adult children is causing a stir, raising questions about the potential downsides of such arrangements. While the gesture may seem benevolent, experts warn of the pitfalls associated with this practice.
Financial advisors express concerns about the impact on both generations’ financial independence. By providing ready-made homes, parents might inadvertently hinder their children’s ability to learn crucial financial lessons, such as budgeting, mortgage management, and property ownership responsibilities.
The trend also sparks debates on the long-term implications for the housing market. Critics argue that such parental interventions can distort property prices and exacerbate existing affordability challenges, particularly for younger individuals aspiring to enter the property market independently.
There’s a call for a broader societal discussion on the balance between parental support and fostering financial autonomy. While the intention is often rooted in care, the unintended consequences of sheltering adult children from financial realities are prompting a reassessment of this well-meaning practice.
Victoria’s Secret criticized for trans woman’s apology
Victoria’s Secret is facing backlash after issuing an apology to a transgender woman who had a negative experience while trying on bras at one of their stores.
The incident has ignited a debate about inclusivity and sensitivity in the fashion industry.
The controversy began when the trans woman, who remains anonymous, visited a Victoria’s Secret store to shop for bras. She reported feeling uncomfortable and discriminated against by store staff.
In response to her complaint, Victoria’s Secret issued an apology, acknowledging the incident and expressing their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
However, the apology itself has come under fire from both supporters and critics.
Some argue that the brand’s apology is insincere and merely an attempt to save face, while others believe it is a step in the right direction towards a more inclusive shopping experience for all customers.
The incident raises important questions about how brands should handle situations involving discrimination and whether their apologies are genuine or performative.
It also highlights the ongoing challenges faced by transgender individuals when accessing spaces traditionally designed for cisgender customers.
As the fashion industry continues to evolve, many are calling for a deeper examination of inclusivity and sensitivity, not just in policies but in practice.
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