Civil aviation authority of Malaysia tells pilots to stay fit

 Wednesday, September 28, 2022 

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New medical guidelines have been issued by the civil aviation authority four months after a Malaysia Airlines pilot fainted in the toilet, causing an emergency.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said the new safety information (SI) guidelines to airlines and other employers of pilots to mitigate medical incapacitation risks were drawn up after it received some mandatory occurrence reports (MOR) recently.

New medical guidelines have been issued by the civil aviation authority four months after a Malaysia Airlines pilot fainted in the toilet, causing an emergency.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said the new safety information (SI) guidelines to airlines and other employers of pilots to mitigate medical incapacitation risks were drawn up after it received some mandatory occurrence reports (MOR) recently.

On May 9, the pilot of a Malaysia Airlines flight heading from Kuala Lumpur to Miri fainted in the toilet about 50 nautical miles before landing, prompting the co-pilot to declare an emergency, according to a safety report.

It said the leading steward made an announcement soon after asking if there were any medical personnel on board the Boeing 737 flight.

A doctor was identified, said the report sighted by FMT. It said the doctor used the aircraft’s “physician kit” to help the pilot.

The report said the aircraft then maintained a normal flight profile until it reached Miri when a Mayday call was made to the air traffic control tower.

The crew requested for medical assistance and also ground assistance after landing as the co-pilot was unable to taxi the aircraft to the parking bay. It was then towed to the bay by the ground crew.

A post-event fitness assessment was conducted on the pilot two days after the incident. The captain’s medical leave was extended to May 15.

He was declared fit to resume working after his sick leave was completed, the report said.

Following the incident, the report said, an aviation medicine memo was issued to all Malaysia Airlines aircrew reminding them of food and beverage safety.

In the SI issued on Sept 21, CAAM chief executive officer Chester Voo said it had of late been receiving mandatory occurrence reports with regards to medical incapacitation.

This safety information is to highlight the importance of medical fitness to operate a flight and control air traffic.

This also recommends actions for the management of decrease in medical fitness (DMF), he said in the SI.

Voo said a study had indicated that among the most common causes of incapacitation were gastrointestinal symptoms, uncontrolled bowel action, earache and blocked ears, faintness and general weakness, headache, including migraine, and vertigo and disorientation.

He said the licence holder would have to report his DMF condition if his medical conditions, or their treatment had the potential to interfere with aviation safety in a variety of ways.

Among them are those that can:

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