...CASA Looks At Heart-Exam Standards...

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But while science looks at making our synapses snappier, Australia's Civil Air Safety Authority (CASA) is examining the more basic imperative of trying to prevent pilots from dropping dead or becoming otherwise incapacitated at the controls. CASA has determined that the pilot of a Piper Aztec probably had a heart attack before the plane crashed on takeoff from Mareeba in northern Queensland in October of 2003. Gerald Mall, his wife and three children died in the crash. Now, CASA is reviewing its medical standards. Crash investigators couldn't find any mechanical causes for the crash although they couldn't rule out a bird strike or a cabin door coming open. However, the post mortem on the pilot found narrowing of the coronary arteries, something that wasn't picked up during his flight medical. CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the examination criteria would be looked at. "We will review the heart attack criteria in the light of this report but, probably more importantly, in the light of continuing research into cardiac health issues in the medical world in general," he told The Australian newspaper.