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PHOTO BY TOM CROKE
Kevin A. Domingos, Ph.D.(right) and Michael Fearing, Ph.D. of Boston Neuropsychological Services LLC in Needham, Mass., believe the process for screening pilots for mental health issues does not go far enough.

Is aviation mental health flying under the radar?

By Phyllis Hanlon

When American Airlines hired pilot Steve Churchill in 1985, the company gave him a self-questionnaire intended to screen out individuals with serious psychological problems. Delta required its pilots to speak with a psychologist as part of the hiring process. Such measures provide minimal information regarding mental health, but some psychologists believe the industry could do more. Clinical psychologist and certified pilot and flight instructor Penny Levin, Ph.D., founder and owner of Aero-Psych in Lafayette Hill and Philadelphia, Penn., pointed out that pilots must manage a complex workload; maintain situational awareness; avoid fixation, complacency and fatigue; remain calm under stressful circumstances; [More]