The concept began in the US in the 1970's. A medical research project called HIMS (Human Intervention Motivation Study) was led by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). This study was designed to test a program for dealing with the presence of alcoholism in the airline pilot population. It was determined a recovering pilot's ability to function effectively was best observed by fellow pilots.
The HIMS Australia Advisory Group (HAAG) was formed in 2015 as a collaborative body comprising of representatives from the professional pilot associations as well as aviation medicine and addiction medicine specialists.
The catalyst for HIMS Australia's formation was back in 2002 after the tragic accident of a Cherokee Six off Hamilton Island, Queensland. The pilot of the light aircraft was under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. It was determined that his condition contributed to the accident and the death of six people - himself, a young family of four and a recently married young man. The Accident investigation report recommended the introduction of an alcohol and other drug testing programme for safety sensitive personnel.
CASR Part 99 – ‘Drug and Alcohol Management Plans’ (DAMP) Regulations were approved in 2008, with DAMP testing implemented the following year. Included were Designated Medical Examiner (DAME) Guidelines which incorporates HIMS type principles for peer monitoring/mentoring.
Today HIMS Australia is providing support for a number of pilots with strong relationships with airlines, medical professionals the regulator and unions.