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On December 26, 2013, about 6:21 p.m. Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172K, N251JM, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH), in Fresno, California. The airplane was privately registered and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. At the time of the accident, it was dark night (about 1.5 hours after sunset) and visibility was 5 miles with haze, clear sky, and wind from 320° at 3 knots. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Develop and disseminate educational information for pilots regarding the December 26, 2013, aircraft accident in Fresno, California, and the risks cataracts may pose to flight safety including a discussion of degraded vision at night, and encourage pilots with cataracts to communicate with their eye care professionals regarding diagnosis and treatment options.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Fresno, CA, United States
Safety Recommendation Report: Improving Pilot and Aviation Medical Examiner Knowledge of Cataract Hazards
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
We note that you revised your Pilot Vision brochure to include information about the risks cataracts pose to flight safety, including degrading vision at night. The brochure also briefly discusses the treatment options available to pilots with cataracts, and informs readers that the visual effects of cataracts can be successfully treated with a 90% improvement in visual function for most patients. We further note that you participate in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA’s) BasicMed oversight group, and that, based on your participation in this group, in January 2018, AOPA added information regarding cataract-related flight safety risks, including degraded night vision, to its BasicMed course. We issued Safety Recommendation A-16-17 to AOPA at the same time we issued Safety Recommendation A-16-15 to you, asking AOPA to include information about cataracts and the risks they pose to flight safety, including degraded night vision, in its educational resources for pilots, and recommending that it encourage pilots with cataracts to communicate with their eye care professionals regarding diagnosis and treatment options. On April 30, 2018, we noted that AOPA had incorporated the recommended information in its BasicMed online course. As a result, Safety Recommendation A-16-17 was classified “Closed—Acceptable Action.” The revisions to your Pilot Vision brochure and your work with AOPA to revise its BasicMed course similarly satisfy Safety Recommendation A-16-15, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has included an addition to the publication and on line versions of our Pilot Vision brochure that incorporates this recommendation. The Pilot Vision brochure can be found at the following website: https://www.faa.gov/pilots/safety/pilotsafetybrochures/. In addition. an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association sponsored education course for BasicMed is now available online. We requested through the BasicMed oversight group that information regarding the risks cataracts may pose to flight safety. including a discussion of degraded vision at night. be added to the course during its next revision. In January 2018. the BasicMed oversight group added this information to the course.
We note that you intend to revise the Pilot Vision brochure and the online airman education program, which is required for third-class airmen who have bypassed the standard medical certification process, to include information about this accident and the risks cataracts pose to flight safety, especially at night. We point out that the educational material should also encourage pilots with cataracts to communicate with their eye care professionals regarding diagnosis and treatment options. Pending our review of the revised educational material that addresses the concerns discussed above, Safety Recommendation A-16-15 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will revise the Pilot Vision brochure to incorporate this recommendation. Additionally, The FAA Extension. Safety, and Security Act of 2016, § 2307, mandates an online airman education program for a large subset of 3rd Class airmen who may bypass the standard medical certification process. Although there may not be time to incorporate this recommendation in the initial course. which must be available prior to July 15, 2017, we will ensure that it is included in future updates of the course.
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