Avionics News July 2020 - 73

topic in September 2013, warning
pilots of the risk of flying while
using diphenhydramine, a common
antihistamine found in cold and allergy
medications. Diphenhydramine is a
sedating medication. In some cases,
performance tests show people taking
diphenhydramine are incapacitated on
par with someone illegally intoxicated
on alcohol.
During the entire study period, the
most-commonly identified drug category
was sedating antihistamines. Sedating
pain relievers - including opioids - were
the second-most commonly identified
category of potentially impairing drugs.
Of the pilots in the study period who
were positive for at least one illicit
drug, tetrahydrocannabinol, the main
psychoactive compound in marijuana, or
its metabolites were identified in 77% of
the 47 fatally injured pilots. Cocaine was
found in 15% and methamphetamine in
13% of pilots found positive for at least
one illicit drug.
With more states allowing recreational
marijuana, the NTSB also pointed
to a "gap" in FAA policies regarding
marijuana use, particularly by pilots not
subject to mandatory Department of
Transportation testing requirements.
Not all airmen are subject to
Department of Transportation drug and
alcohol testing, but airmen are subject
to medical certificate requirements.
Dependence on drug and alcohol testing
is a disqualifying factor for medical
certification.
However, the Board pointed out some
pilots aren't subject to an examination
typical to an FAA medical. BasicMed
allows a pilot with a valid U.S. driver's
license who held a medical after July
14, 2006, to obtain a physical exam
with a state-licensed physician using the
Comprehensive Medical Examination
Checklist and then completing a
BasicMed education course, rather than
obtaining an examination by an FAAauthorized physician and receiving a
normal medical certificate.

The Board previously recommended
the FAA develop and distribute a clear
policy regarding any marijuana use by
airmen, regardless of the type of flight
operation being conducted.
Due to the continued increase of
marijuana use, the NTSB specifically
recommended the FAA revise the
Aeronautical Information Manual and
the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical
Knowledge to clearly identify marijuana
as an illicit drug per federal law and its
prohibited use by airmen.
Pilots are encouraged to understand
the side effects of medications and, for
potentially sedating medications, to wait
at least five times the dosing time before
flying again, so if the maximum dosage
is every four to six hours, wait 30 hours
to fly. Pilots are also urged to use the I'M
SAFE acronym for assessing their own

fitness to fly; that is, Illness, Medication,
Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue or Emotion.
This advice applies to all aviation
professionals - whether subject
to mandatory Department of
Transportation drug and alcohol testing
or not.
The FAA provides information for
pilots at www.faa.gov/go/pilotmeds.
This information can be a useful
resource for all aviation professionals.
The FAA also published a guidance
document titled "What over-the-counter
medications can I take and still be safe
to fly?" that sorts a number of OTC
medications into clear-cut "Go" versus
"No-Go" categories.
Review these resources to be sure
any medications you take are safe for
flight operations or other aviationrelated activities. q

avionics news

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http://www.faa.gov/go/pilotmeds http://ciescorp.com

Avionics News July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News July 2020

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Avionics News July 2020 - Intro
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Avionics News July 2020 - Cover2
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