The FAA says it’s revoked the pilot certificates of 60 pilots as part of a project by the Department of Veterans Affairs to cross-reference its list of those receiving benefits with the medical records of active pilots. According to a Washington Post report, there are a total of 4,800 pilots, including 600 ATPs, who were under review because they are also VA beneficiaries. FAA spokesman Matthew Lehner told the Post about half the files have been completed and the 60 revocations were for pilots who “posed a clear danger to aviation safety.”
Lehner said most of those under review have nothing to worry about. “The FAA used a risk-based approach to identify veterans whose medical conditions posed the greatest risk to safety and instructed them to cease flying while the agency reviews their cases,” Lehner said in a statement to the Post. “The vast majority of these pilots may continue to operate safely while we complete the reconciliation process.” Some have been told to fix the paperwork submitted with their medicals while others have to get fresh medicals.
For its part the VA is trying to weed out fraudulent claims while also protecting public safety. “Given the serious safety issues involved with flying commercial airplanes, and to promote the proper use of significant taxpayer dollars, we have been proactively reviewing certain VA disability benefits paid to commercial pilots based on conditions that may be disqualifying if true,” Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said in a statement. “We will continue to work with VA and other stakeholders to ensure the integrity of the benefits and services reserved for our nation’s veterans.”