In 2015, a pilot for Germanwings (an airline based in Germany) purposefully crashed a plane into a mountain in France while en route to Dusseldorf, Germany. Germany is one of thirty-two member nations whose aviation industries fall under the jurisdiction of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA), the French agency charged with investigating the crash, launched its inquiry with the goal of recommending ways to improve safety and prevent similar future incidents. While the requirements for a first-class pilot’s license are the same in Europe as in the United States, the monitoring of mental health conditions may not be as consistent in Europe due to strong privacy protection standards. The American counterpart to EASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has strict requirements for pilot mental health, and at least partially because of this vetting, there is a very low incidence of airplane accidents, especially intentional ones.
Katie Manworren, The FAA’s Mental Health Standards: Are They Reasonable?, 83 J. Air L. & Com. 391 (2018)