FAA Change to Heart-Test Limit Triggers Worries Over Pilot Health, Public Safety

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Concerns and controversy are swirling around the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to alter an electrocardiogram test limit for pilots.

A researcher for an aviation advocacy group, US Freedom Flyers (USFF), stumbled upon the EKG change in December, several weeks after the FAA enacted it.

Because the revision was made without a published explanation, USFF turned to a nationally known cardiologist and other experts to assess its importance.

They say the FAA’s change involving “the PR interval” is significant. The PR interval represents the time it takes for an electrical impulse to travel from one part of the heart to another. It is an indicator of heart health.

But “the new normal” PR interval that the FAA set for pilots is 50 percent longer than the previous limit; it deviates from a long-accepted limit in cardiology.

Critics fear that expanding the limit could endanger pilots’ health and passengers’ safety.

This worry is especially acute amid rising reports of cardiac arrest and sudden death since the COVID pandemic began in 2020. Some researchers suggest that some heart conditions could be tied to aftereffects of COVID-19 injections or the virus. Because pilots were threatened with job termination, a large percentage of them took the COVID jabs.

These factors make a very worrisome mix, said Josh Yoder, a commercial airline pilot who heads the USFF advocacy group.

“This is a ticking time bomb on a level like we’ve never seen,” he told The Epoch Times in an interview.

While some people question whether that level of concern is justified, others agree with Yoder. For many months, he and others have railed against the FAA for declaring the COVID injections safe for pilots, as the Epoch Times reported previously.

Yoder and others say the FAA should be held accountable for relaxing the EKG standard. They say the new standard increases the odds that a pilot’s heart condition would slip past, undetected and untreated, setting the stage for disaster.

By Janice Hisle

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