Pilot Peer Support Initial Training Course

Course Content

On May 11, 2015, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PFARC) to address safety concerns about airline pilot mental fitness that arose when Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was lost under unexplained circumstances, and German Wings flight 9525 was intentionally crashed—both events resulting in catastrophic loss of life. On November 18, 2015, the PFARC published recommendations to minimize the risk of mentally ill pilots operating aircraft. Among these was the recommendation that “air carriers develop effective pilot assistance programs (p. 2).” The PFARC described the rational of this recommendation:

An environment needs to be created where pilots feel comfortable disclosing mental fitness issues. Pilot support programs should provide the opportunity for a pilot to disclose a mental fitness concern and if appropriate, receive temporary relief from flight duties and be referred to professional resources. The successful implementation of pilot support programs benefits from a joint collaboration between the air carrier to include senior management support, its pilot representative organization, and pilot peer volunteers. The trusting relationship with a fellow pilot in a peer-supported program may provide the best opportunity to identify and engage an individual requiring assistance. To encourage use, pilots must be handled in a confidential, non-stigmatized, and safe environment. If a culture of mutual trust and cooperation is maintained, pilots are less likely to conceal a condition, and more likely to report and seek help for mental health issues.

This course provides participants with the knowledge, tools, and attitudes needed to assess their ability to serve in the role of a supportive peer for fellow professionals who are having difficulty coping with the stresses of work. At the completion of this 16-hour course, you will be able to determine your readiness to serve as a pilot peer volunteer, and efficiently assist your peers to regain optimal work performance and quality of life if you chose to serve in this capacity. This course is recommended for airline pilots with at least one year of line flying experience and is particularly well suited to those who possess strong critical thinking abilities and interpersonal communication skills—especially listening skills, and have developed qualities of empathy, respect, and open-mindedness.

Click here to download a full course syllabus.

Major Course Goals

Effectively collaborate with multiple peers to retain or regain optimal work performance and quality of life.

Course Objectives

  1. Students will be introduced to, and apply the knowledge, tools, and attitudes needed to serve in the role of a supportive peers.  
  2. Students will differentiate serious from minor mental health problems. 
  3. Students will apply new tools to facilitate outside support for their peers.
  4. Students will practice guiding peers to resources to address their unique needs.
  5. Students will create written reference materials to serve as support peers.
  6. Students will identify their own unique self-care needs and practices to improve their ability to effectively work as a supportive peer. 


Your MEC/CASC budget pays for all of your pilot expenses: travel, sleeping rooms, meals, and flight pay loss (if required). This includes no-shows for hotel rooms where reservations have been requested and NOT canceled 48 hours prior to arrival and/or if the attendee fails to notify the hotel, during check-in, of a different departure date than the reserved.