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This isn't a joke, it's a news of the weird, from Australia Blind, disabled 'should be able to fly':

By MATTHEW DENHOLM Work and Family Reporter
27sep02
THE physically and mentally disabled may no longer be barred from becoming pilots or air traffic controllers.

Eyesight and other medical tests imposed on flight crew have been found to be in breach of anti-discrimination laws.

The finding, by the Federal Attorney General's Department has created fears air safety regulators will be hit with discrimination complaints.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority lawyers have made an urgent application to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for an exemption from federal Sex and Disability Discrimination Acts.

Under CASA rules, pilots, flight navigators, flight engineers and air traffic controllers must past strict eyesight and hearing tests.

They are also refused licences if they have heart, respiratory, immune system and blood pressure conditions which could affect safety.

In some cases, pregnant women or those with severe menstrual problems can also be barred.

CASA is confident the commission will back its call for an exemption to allow the medical standards to continue.

But its application – subject to a commission inquiry – is complicated by union fears about a wider agenda.

CASA plans to subject cabin crew to medical tests similar to those applied to pilots.

The Flight Attendant's Association fears the tests could be used to exclude crew who are overweight, short or suffer from minor complaints such as asthma.

"We don't want a one-size fits all medical approach," association official Guy Mclean said. The union has sought talks with the commission to discuss CASA's bid for an exemption to the discrimination Acts.

And it wants CASA to clarify its plans.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson warned any delay to the granting of an exemption could leave the way open to discrimination complaints.

"Clearly it's in our interests for the commission to make a determination as soon as it possibly can," he said.

"Without [enforceable medical standards] you would not be able to guarantee the safety of flights because you couldn't guarantee that pilots were safe to carry out their jobs."
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