Sleep Apnea Update

The FAA held a webinar on December 12, 2013, to brief the aviation medical examiner (AME) community and the aviation industry on the status of new guidance material on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that is expected to be distributed mid-January 2014. The specifics of that guidance are still being developed by the federal flight surgeon and his staff; however, the FAA appears set to publish guidance for use by AMEs that will aid them in identifying OSA as an ongoing condition of medical certificate issuance. OSA has been a disqualifying condition since 1996, and hundreds of pilots who suffer from it have received special-issuance medical certificates. ALPA’s Aeromedical advisor, Dr. Quay Snyder, has developed a primer on the subject of OSA for the benefit of the membership.

ALPA is strongly supporting a new bill sponsored by Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) that would require a public comment period before new guidance material on OSA is implemented. We continue to urge the federal government to exercise reasonableness in the pursuit of any new medical certification guidance that may endanger our members’ livelihoods.

Any pilots who have been directed to obtain a sleep apnea evaluation or have had their medical application deferred by their AME are welcome to call the Aeromedical Office toll-free at 1-866-237-6633. ALPA members may call the ALPA-reserved line at 303-341-4435. ALPA will provide additional information about the status of its OSA efforts as it becomes available.