Piloting 2 Wellbeing founder, Captain Reyne O’Shaughnessy, had dedicated her career to aviation. She’s well aware of the stressors, as well as the rewards, of being in such a high-stress, high-performance environment. As a result, she authored This is Your Captain Speaking, and has faithfully pursued both aviation excellence and the latest innovations in wellbeing.
As an organization, Piloting 2 Wellbeing is providing mentoring and coaching for aviation schools and airline pilots based on the three pillars of Aviation, Awareness, & Safety. These pillars cover the effective use of all available resources for flight crew personnel in order to assure safe and efficient operations, reduce error, avoid stress, and increase efficiency. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health, our skills, and our knowledge. We offer practical, powerful techniques that your audience could quickly put into practice, all based on self-care and other wisdom techniques we’ve learned over the last decade.
Piloting 2 Wellbeing exists to provide high-performing aviators and aviation-based organizations with practical, powerful resources for achieving balance between professional performance and personal wellbeing.
For decades the FAA has ignored a major crisis, aeromedical standards. My name is Emma Laczko and I am a second generation pilot. Four years ago I lost my father and uncle due to archaic medical standards in place by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The current Aero-Medical standards are outdated and aviators everywhere are ready for reform. Pilots need a platform where they can be honest with their doctors and AMES without the threat of job loss. This would create a safe space and mitigate the fear of losing their wings.
The current system has created a shocking percentage of aviators who have an aversion to seeking healthcare. The Special Issuance(SI) process to get your medical back after disclosing is currently a 12-24 month waiting period… in some cases even longer than that. Almost all the medical procedures and tests required by the FAA will not be covered by your insurance, costing thousands of dollars out of pocket. Even more troubling is the lack in educated aviation medical examiners(AME). Pilots have noted a huge lack of transparency by the FAA causing the aviator to be unwilling to disclose health concerns. Pilots who are navigating the SI process for one of the four approved SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) are currently under the guidance of the HIMS program, a pathway set up for the recovery of addicts/alcoholics; this is inadequate to fit the needs of a pilot on the SSRI pathway. If you are a student pilot or the sole provider of a family these are huge hesitations for being truthful to your AME or seeking the help you need. Some quick statistics; 78.6% of pilots reported feeling worried about seeking medical care, 60.2% of pilots reported a history of delaying medical care, and 56.1% of pilots freely admitted to participating in unauthorized behavior due to fear of losing their medical certification.
(Hoffman WR, Aden J, Barbera RD, Mayes R, Willis A, Patel P, Tvaryanas A. Healthcare Avoidance in Aircraft Pilots Due to Concern for Aeromedical Certificate Loss: A Survey of 3765 Pilots. J Occup Environ Med. 2022 Apr 1;64(4):e245-e248. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002519. Epub 2022 Feb 15. PMID: 35166258.)
My father underwent heart issues which ultimately led to his license being suspended. My dad, the sole provider for a wife and 3 children, gave his life sacrificing his time, money, and well-being, to be put back on the flight line. If my father knew he had the ability to seek help without the threat of job loss, and the cost looming over his head, he would have sought help sooner.
In the wake of my fathers passing, 11 months went by and tragedy struck my family again. My uncle, in the grips of grief, an aviator himself, knew exactly where the road to help would lead him. So, he took his life.
These men, my uncle and father, they were senior captains for American Airlines.
With a fierce heart, please hear me when I say,
NOW IS THE TIME FOR CHANGE.
WE HAVE TO SHED LIGHT ON A LONG OVERDUE SUBJECT.
WE DESERVE THE BASIC HUMAN RIGHT TO WELLNESS, WITHOUT THE FEAR OF NEVER FLYING AGAIN!
WE DESERVE TO REGAIN A SPECIAL ISSUANCE WITHOUT PAYING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OUT OF POCKET.
& WE DESERVE A MENTAL HEALTH PATHWAY FOR AVIATORS EVERYWHERE.