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Pilots and Meds
42% of pilots in fatal accidents had blood with illicit drugs, and prescription or over-the counter medications.
Date and Time:
Thursday, October 14, 2021, starting at 19:00 Eastern Daylight Time Download Calendar File
Robert Breaux, Ph.D., CFII
Brief Description:

Audience discussion of

·       42% of pilots in fatal crashes had some sort of drug/medication in their systems during the flight.

·       In the United States, 65% of visits to medical doctors result in the writing of a prescription.

·       Some of these medications carry very specific warnings against operating machinery or motor vehicles or performing tasks requiring alertness. Flying certainly is included, even in a glider or hot-air balloon.  

·       Illicit drugs always impair human performance.

·       Healthcare providers may prescribe drugs that could compromise pilot’s abilities – especially if the doctor is not aware that the patient is a pilot.

·       Combinations of prescription and OTC medications can be particularly dangerous.  Pilots should consult their AME before taking a combination of medications.

·       Adverse reactions can also occur between prescribed or OTC medications and certain foods, beverages, and dietary supplements. 

·       AMEs are trained to advise pilots on negative and positive effects of drugs with respect to aviation.

·       Pilots must truthfully report all medical conditions and drug use on their medical application forms and should consult their AME with respect to all medical conditions and drug use before flight.

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Location of Seminar:
Orlando Executive Airport (ORL)
365 Rickenbacker Dr.

Orlando, FL 32802
Directions to Venue:

From Colonial Drive, turn south on Rickenbacker Dr. Continue through the Fairgreen St. intersection to the end of Rickenbacker Dr. and into the parking lot. Park in any available designated spot. Walk east to the Airport Administration Building.

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Fly-in Seminar?:
50 seats at the facility, 27 remaining for online registration.
Registration Information:
Seminar has passed.
Sponsoring Division:
Orlando FSDO FAASTeam
Contact Information:
Robert Breaux
Phone: (407) 644-4298
Additional Event Information & Acknowledgement of Industry Sponsor(s):

For additional and background information, please visit the Orlando Executive Airport FAASTeam Library web site:

Thanks to our speaker .

Thanks also to Karen Kosciusko at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) for use of their new Administrative Offices, to FAASTeam Rep David Conrad for registration and door prizes, to Obie Young, Florida Aviation Network, a FAASTeam Industry Member.

Several studies published by the FAA Toxicology Laboratory on toxicology samples of deceased pilots indicated the presence of illicit drugs, and prescription or over-the counter medications in 42% of subjects tested.  While NTSB and FAA have not necessarily cited drug or medication use as a causal factor in these accidents; the magnitude of these findings poses two questions.  Have the drugs found in recent investigations, diminished pilots ability to safely conduct flight operations?  Have the medical conditions requiring use of those drugs compromised pilots ability to fly safely?  It may be impossible to say after the fact to what extent a drug compromised a pilot’s capability but it’s safe to say that a consultation with one’s Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) is a good idea before flying while using any drug.  The sometimes adverse reactions between prescribed and OTC drugs and between drugs and food, beverages, and dietary supplements is also cause for concern – particularly so because most pilots are not sufficiently knowledgable to predict these adverse reactions.  AMEs are trained to identify possible adverse reactions and to recommend appropriate courses of action.


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Equal Access Information:
The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) is committed to providing equal access to this meeting/event for all participants. If you need alternative formats or services because of a disability, please communicate your request as soon as possible with the person in the “Contact Information” area of the meeting/event notice. Note that two weeks is usually required to arrange services.
Credit Applicability:
1 Credit for Basic Knowledge Topic 3
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