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Germanwings tragedy sparks UK reviewGetty istock

Mental health checks for British pilots are being reviewed in the wake of the French Alps plane crash, in which a pilot "deliberately" flew a Germanwings flight in to a mountainside.

UK airlines have been ordered to examine their screening procedures, after investigators in France said co-pilot Andreas Lubitz "set out to destroy" the Airbus A320 on purpose.

Following the catastrophe, in which Lubitz and 149 others were killed, it has emerged the 28-year-old German had suffered depression in the past. On Friday, investigators found a sick note signing Lubitz off work on the day of the crash.

Lubitz's mental health history has placed a spotlight on industry vetting processes for pilots; questions are of course being asked about whether mental health issues could have been spotted, which might have helped avert the disaster.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: "Following the details that have emerged regarding the tragic Germanwings incident, we are co-ordinating closely with colleagues at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and have contacted all UK operators to require them to review all relevant procedures.

"All UK airline pilots undergo extensive and regular medical assessments to determine their fitness to hold a licence.

"As part of this, aeromedical examiners are required to assess a commercial pilot's mental health at each medical examination which, for an airline pilot flying with at least one other pilot, is undertaken annually."

At present, every UK pilot takes a mental health assessment every 12 months. For aviators over 40 years-old, it is every six months, in line with international standards encoded in the industry bible, known as SARPs.

One issue for aviation medicine is the possibility of pilots hiding their mental health issues. So compliance with vetting procedures is enforced via the threat of heavy fines by regulators, of more than £150,000 per pilot.

The investigation into the Germanwings crash is likely to lead to increased calls for better ways of monitoring pilots' mental health.