Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is calling for mandatory cardiac risk assessments for all pilots older than 40 following a 2021 crash that may have been related to the pilot suffering a heart attack. Such a move would affect about half of the 33,000 licenced pilots in Canada. The TSB says Transport Canada medical examiners are not required to conduct blood lipid screening tests that might have found risk factors in the pilot of the 2021 crash. The ATP rated pilot died after the homebuilt Cavalier he was flying stalled and spun while on a sightseeing flight in Alberta. His passenger was seriously injured.

An autopsy determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma but “with cardiovascular disease as a significant contributing factor,” the TSB report said. Due to COVID restrictions, the pilot’s most recent medical had been done virtually and involved an attestation that he was fit to fly. The board said it’s the eighth crash in the last 20 years in which undetected or unreported heart issues were raised in an investigation. The board’s official recommendation to Transport Canada is that its guidance to medical examiners “contains the most effective screening tools for assessing medical conditions such as cardiovascular health issues.”

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