In addition to pilots, the FAA also plans on checking air traffic controllers for signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People that have OSA sleep poorly and have a high risk of falling asleep without warning.
Obese pilots and air traffic controllers will now be screened to determine whether their weight is causing them to lose sleep and affecting their work performance.
“Airman applicants with a BMI (Body mass index) of 40 or more will have to be evaluated by a physician who is a board certified sleep specialist,” FAA's air surgeon Fred Tilton wrote in a medical bulletin. “Anyone who is diagnosed with OSA will have to be treated before they can be medically certificated.”
The FAA also plans to start evaluating employees with a BMI of 30.
“Once we have appropriately dealt with every airman examinee who has a BMI of 40 or greater,” Tilton wrote, “we will gradually expand the testing pool by going to lower BMI measurements until we have identified and assured treatment for every airman with OSA.”
The full policy will be explained in the FAA’s aviation medical examiner guide.