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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 aviation medical examiners regarding the December 26, 2013, aircraft accident in Fresno, California; the risks cataracts may pose to flight safety including a discussion of degraded vision at night; and referral of pilots with cataracts to eye care professionals.
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 information about the accident in Fresno, California, and the impact of cataracts on vision is now being discussed by all ophthalmology instructors at your basic and refresher AME seminars. Further, you placed a banner announcement on the Aerospace Medical Certification Subsystem on July 20, 2017, which AMEs are required to read before they can log into the system and transmit the exams they have conducted. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation A-16-16, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: This accident and the impact of cataracts on vision is now being discussed by all three ophthalmology instructors at the basic and refresher Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) seminars through information slides in the core slide deck. In addition. an Aerospace Medical Certification Subsystem banner announcement was placed in the system on July 20. 2017. AME's are required to read this announcement before they can log into the system and transmit exams. A copy of the cataracts information slides and the banner announcement are enclosed (Enclosures 1, 2, and 3 ). I believe the FAA has effectively addressed these safety recommendations and consider our actions complete.
We note that you intend to revise the cataract curriculum of the AME basic and refresher seminar to include information about this accident and the risks cataracts pose to flight safety, especially at night. We point out that the seminar should also remind AMEs to refer pilots with cataracts to eye care professionals for diagnosis and treatment options. Pending our review of the revised cataract curriculum for AMEs that addresses the concerns discussed above, Safety Recommendation A-16-16 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA reviewed the cataract curriculum of the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) basic and refresher seminar, which is taught by three instructors. One of the three instructors already has expanded coverage of the topic of cataracts with the exception of specific mention of the Fresno accident. This expanded discussion of cataracts was presented at the June 2016 AME Basic Seminar. We will add the reference to the Fresno accident and ensure the discussion of the risks cataracts may pose to flight safety is equivalent among the three instructors responsible for this material. Additionally, within the next month. we will post an Aeromedical Certification Subsystem banner announcement that must be read before an AME can log into the system. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by October 3 I, 2017.
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