Epidemiology of Toxicological Factors in Civil Aviation Accident Pilot Fatalities, 1999-2003
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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Prevalence of drug and ethanol use in aviation is monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration FAA. Under such monitoring, epidemiological studies for the 1989-1993 and 11994-1998 periods indicated lower percentages of the presence of illegal abused drugs than that of prescription and nonprescription drugs in aviation accident pilot fatalities. In continuation of these studies, an epidemiological assessment was made for an additional period of 5 years. Postmortem samples from aviation accident pilot fatalities submitted to the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute CAMI are toxicologically analyzed, and those analytical findings are stored in a database. This CAMI database was examined for the period of 1999614852003 for the presence of controlled substances of Schedules I61485V, prescription and nonprescription drugs, and ethanol in the pilot fatalities. Out of 1629 fatal aviation accidents from which CAMI received biosamples, there were 1587 accidents wherein pilots were fatally injured. Drugs andor ethanol were found in 830 of the 1587 fatalities. Controlled substances of Schedules I and II and Schedules III61485V were detected in 113 and 42 pilots, respectively. Prescription drugs were present in 315 pilots, nonprescription drugs in 259 pilots, and ethanol in 101 pilots. Controlled substances of Schedules I and II were detected in only 5 of the 122 First-Class medical certificate-holding airline transport pilots. In addition to the controlled substances, many of the prescription and nonprescription drugs found in the fatalities have the potential for impairing performance, thereby adversely affecting the ability of an individual to optimally pilot an aircraft.
- Commercial and General Aviation
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations