March 3, 2023

NBAA is asking pilot members to participate in a groundbreaking study by the University of North Dakota (UND) into the community’s knowledge of healthcare services and procedures and how that could impact aviation safety.

Medical certification is a significant factor in aviation safety, ensuring that a pilot has met specific health standards to competently operate an aircraft. However, a recent study by UND, a recognized authority in aviation research, uncovered that pilots may be withholding information during their medical screenings to maintain their flight status.

According to UND faculty, the recent study found that 56% of U.S. pilots reported some form of healthcare avoidance to protect their ability to operate aircraft. This discovery has prompted this latest UND study, which seeks to determine if a lack of knowledge of healthcare practices and the healthcare system had a meaningful impact on these pilots’ behavior.

Review the UND Pilot Health Literacy Study.

“Safety is a core value of our industry and we have achieved significant safety gains by identifying, analyzing and resolving issues of concern. Culturally, we are changing our perceptions in a very positive way of how our mental and physical well-being can impact performance,” said Mark Larsen, CAM, NBAA’s director, safety and flight operations. “Through studies like UND’s review of health systems literacy, we will be better able to define practices and that will improve our culture and the health of everyone in business aviation.

“UND’s research raises important questions and NBAA is proud to be part of this effort to gain insights into a critical aviation issue,” he added. “We recommend that every pilot member take part in this study to further our community’s understanding and appreciation of how mental and physical health impact aviation operations.”

UND’s survey takes five to 10 minutes to complete and does not ask for any information that would identify who the responses belong to. All responses are treated confidentially and are stored on a secure server.