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NTSB Study on Drug Use in Aviation Shows Upward Trend in Use of Potentially Impairing Medications

First Step in Understanding Drug Use and Accident Risk

​WASHINGTON – In a study adopted today on the prevalence of drug use by pilots who died in crashes, the NTSB found an upward trend in the use of both potentially impairing medications and illicit drugs. Almost all of the crashes – 96 percent – were in general aviation.

“I think that the key take-away from this study for every pilot is to think twice about the medications you’re taking and how they might affect your flying,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs have the potential to impair performance, so pilots must be vigilant to ensure that their abilities are in no way compromised before taking to the skies.”

The study analyzed toxicology results for 6,677 pilots who died in aircraft accidents between 1990 and 2012. None of the pilots who died in large airline accidents had recently used illicit drugs, though some had been using potentially impairing medications.

Over the period studied, the proportion of pilots testing positive for drugs with impairment potential nearly doubled from about 11 percent to almost 23 percent. The most common impairing drug was a sedating antihistamine (diphenhydramine) found in many cold and allergy medications as well as sleep aids.

Study authors emphasized that it could not be stated with certainty that more pilots are actually flying impaired. While the study noted that the greater use of medications pointed to an increasing risk of impairment, it stressed that further research is needed to better understand the relationship between drug use and accident risk.

Since 1990, the NTSB cited pilot impairment as a cause or contributing factor in about 3 percent of fatal accidents, a figure that was relatively stable over the study period.

Importantly, the study explained that it was difficult to ascertain whether a pilot who tested positive was actually impaired at the time of the accident. However, the study did say that increasing numbers of accident pilots chose to fly after taking potentially impairing drugs, suggesting that some pilots are either unaware of the risks that such drugs present or consider such risks acceptable.

Illicit drug use was relatively uncommon among the study population, increasing from 2.4 percent of pilots who died in accidents in the 1990s to around 4 percent by 2012, largely due to increasing marijuana use.

The study included 6 safety recommendations, all related to gathering better information about impairment in transportation or urging better dissemination of information on potentially impairing drugs to pilots and others.

In addition to the safety recommendations, the NTSB issued a safety alert urging pilots to consult medical professionals about the potentially impairing effects of any drug that they are taking, carefully read medication dosing instructions, and to refrain from flying if they feel impaired in any way.

The complete report will be available in several weeks. An abstract is available.

Read the rest of this entry »

NASA crashes Cessna 172 for Safety

Check this out!


A Higher Call (excerpt)

Credit: I received this excerpt in an email; I thought the story was so good that I pulled it out, re-formatted it and posted. A link to the book is included at the bottom of this page. 


There is a wonderful book called “A Higher Call” about this TRUE story below.

The 21-year old American B-17 pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze.  He blinked hard and looked again, hoping it was just a mirage. But his Co-Pilot stared at the same horrible vision.  “My God, this is a nightmare,” the Co-Pilot said.

“He’s going to destroy us,” the Pilot agreed.

The men were looking at a gray German Messerschmitt fighter hovering just three feet off their wingtip.  It was five days before Christmas 1943, and the fighter had closed in on their crippled American B-17 bomber for the kill.

Watch this video

Brown’s Crippled B-17 Stalked by Stigler’s ME-109

The B-17 Pilot, Charles Brown, was a 21-year-old West Virginia farm boy on his first combat mission.  His bomber had been shot to pieces by swarming fighters, and his plane was alone, struggling to stay in the skies above Germany. Half his crew was wounded, and the tail gunner was dead, his blood frozen in icicles over the machine guns. Read the rest of this entry »

Pilot Insights – Who’s Flying?

Pilot Insights – Who’s Flying?
Notice Number: NOTC6069

Tell me if this situation sounds familiar:  You are flying with a friend in her aircraft.  All is well until you set up for landing and hear ATIS is calling for some strong gusty crosswinds. Although you have more total flight time than your friend, she has a lot more experience in this particular plane. Not dissuaded by the rough winds, your friend executes a safe, albeit scary landing. After exiting the runway, you each say, “I never would have done that if I was by myself, but I figured you knew what you were doing.” Read the rest of this entry »


Aviation community supporting activities with goal of making better, safer pilots

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (June 17, 2015) — Flight instructors and aviation companies are joining forces during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 to bring back the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center and build on last year’s success in improving pilot skills and enhancing safety with participants at the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”

During EAA AirVenture 2015 (July 20-26) the center will feature “Tech Talks,” IFR and VFR flight scenarios in Redbird flight simulators, the opportunity to talk with certificated flight instructors and more. The EAA Pilot Proficiency Center will continue to partner with the IMC Club, which is dedicated to improving the skills of instrument-rated pilots. The Pilot Proficiency Center is open to all pilots and non-pilots who want to improve their flying skills and will feature IFR and basic airmanship challenges and forum programs. Read the rest of this entry »

World War II Victory Capitol Flyover Live Webcast


Live Webcast: Arsenal of Democracy:
World War II Victory Capitol Flyover
May 8th, 2015
10:15 -1300 ET
Read the rest of this entry »

FAA to review aviation footage from manned and unmanned aircraft aka drones

Heads up fellow aviators, especially guys and gals with “drones”.

The FAA has issued the below notice to it’s inspectors to begin the process of reviewing published internet content from Aviators of both maned and unmanned aircraft.

The following is an excerpt from the official notice found here: Read the rest of this entry »

Proper priming and starting procedure by Cessna (Video)

Textron has published the following video outlining the proper priming and starting procedure on the 182T, T182T, 172R and 172S Models. If you have ever been stuck on a ramp trying to start a hot fuel injected engine like I have, you’ll benefit from this video.

3-26-2015 9-24-36 AM

Read the rest of this entry »

Air Disasters: Breakup Over Texas

In a blink of an eye, a commuter plane carrying 11 passengers from Laredo to Houston plummets to Earth, dropping thousands of feet in mere seconds. The aircraft slams into a farmer’s field with an impact so violent, the wreckage is not even recognizable as an airplane. What caused the crash of Continental Express Flight 2574? Was it human error? Mechanical failure? An act of terrorism? Read the rest of this entry »

Preflight those electrons

3-4-2015 10-28-04 AMPreflight those electrons
Notice Number: NOTC5875

There are so many items that need attention before we fly – airplane condition, weather conditions and our own health conditions, just to name a few. But, now we have an entirely new group of items to check due to our fascination with all things electronic. And, all of the electronics that we take with us need our attention too.

Here are some things that need to be done before the electronics go into the flight bag: Read the rest of this entry »

Flying: I Learned About Flying From That: A Freight Dog’s Christmas

I just finished reading the account of a Commercial Pilot encountering Christmas Day thunderstorms in his company Cessna 210. A great ADM story.
I Learned About Flying From That: A Freight Dog’s Christmas
Read more at HereFlying Freight Dog's Christmas

Deadly Failure?

bosea20Check out this great lesson on loss of control in IMC conditions from Pilot Workshops and enter to win a Bose headset!

What happens when a simple piece of equipment fails in your airplane in low IMC? As you’ll see, it can quickly lead to a life-or-death situation. Watch the video below and take this IFR challenge. See if you can make the right decision and regain control of this flight.

Link to the lesson. Enjoy and good luck!

Lainey’s first airplane ride

I was watching an instructional video on Sporty’s and they mentioned this video. I thought it was good enough to share with the rest of you. Lainey’s first airplane ride!

Lainey's fist Airplane ride Read the rest of this entry »

EAA AirVenture 2013 highlight video

A little music video I put together highlighting our trip to EAA AirVenture 2013.

Check it out and please leave your comments.


EAA reacts to FAA announcement on medical certificate rulemaking

FAA-MedicalCertificate-0112aAgency announces initiative after strong EAA/AOPA push on exemption, legislation

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (April 2, 2014) — The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is calling the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement to begin a formal rulemaking process on expanding medical self-certification for pilots a good initial step, and supports any initiatives to modernize the aviation medical certification system for recreational flying. Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Pilot Check Ride

IMG_1635Finally, after almost two years of on and off training I passed my commercial pilot check ride.

A brief history:
As my friend Lou would say; ” So Mikey, why are you getting your commercial pilots license?”
The first answer that comes to mind (from the right brain) is that I have always enjoyed providing the service of air transport Read the rest of this entry »


AIR_MV-22_Osprey_Tilting_Rotor_lgAnother cool addition to this years show.
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (February 21, 2014) — The U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey, one of the world’s most unique military aircraft, will return to the EAA® AirVenture® OshkoshTM fly-in in 2014. The MV-22 will be on display at the event and also give demonstrations of its unique flying capabilities.EAA AirVenture 2014, the 62nd annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association, will take place July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.The Osprey is making its first appearance at Oshkosh since 2010. This appearance, however, is the first time the aircraft will perform its full Level III flight demonstration at the event. It is making only nine such air show appearances in the U.S. this year. According to the U.S. Marine Corps website, the Osprey has the speed and range of a turboprop aircraft, the maneuverability of a helicopter and the ability to carry 24 Marine combat troops twice as fast and five times farther than previous helicopters. Commenting on its advanced expeditionary capabilities and staggering operational reach, a top Marine commander went as far as to say it turned his battle space “from the size of Texas into the size of Rhode Island.

“The MV-22, which first flew in 1989, is designed for a variety of uses that include expeditionary assault and raids, cargo lift, and special warfare operations. Its tilt-rotor design allows both vertical takeoff and landing operations as well as short-field takeoff and landing capabilities. The Osprey can also be refueled in flight.Exact arrival, demonstration and departure dates for the aircraft at Oshkosh will be announced as they are finalized. The Osprey’s appearance continues EAA AirVenture’s long tradition of bringing aircraft from across the aviation spectrum, from the smallest ultralight to the largest transport, to “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”About EAA AirVenture OshkoshEAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit Immediate news is available at

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to perform at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014

110508-F-9616R-1084.jpgSome exciting news from EAA.

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (Dec. 5, 2013) —
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, one of the world’s premier military jet teams, has scheduled an appearance at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” as part of its 2014 flying schedule. Read the rest of this entry »

Sean Tucker Living With Passion


Sean D Tucker Living With Passion.
This man and people like him keep me focused on what I need to do in my life. Positively inspiring!

A behind the scenes look at Sean D. Tucker. A film by Director Brandon Hess and Producer Tara Tucker, filmed at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Shell Announces Lead Free Option to 100LL Avgas

Shell_Aviation_Lab_2As you are probably aware, the 100LL issue has been plaguing the general aviation industry for years. With the threat of additional EPA regulations on the horizon this product couldn’t come fast enough. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a bit longer as the new product will be subject to “a strict regulatory approvals process” that will likely take a year or more.

Shell’s new lead-free formulation comes after 10 years of exhaustive R&D, as well as successful initial testing, carried out in the last two months by two original equipment manufacturers.

Xinsheng (Sheng) Zhang, Vice-President of Shell Aviation, said: “We are proud of this first for Shell Aviation. This advanced product is the latest milestone in our long history of innovation. We believe that with industry support, a stringent approvals process can be completed for this new lead-free product within a short time-frame. We look forward to working alongside our technical partners and authorities to progress the necessary approvals needed to make this product a reality for use in light aircraft engines of all types.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Flying to EAA AirVenture 2013 full length video

Video of our flight to EAA AirVenture 2013.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 11.30.17 PM

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning lessons the hard way. Commercial Pilot Checkride gone bad

IMG_1635My life has been a bit of a blur lately. First it was my signoff for the commercial flight test back in June. Followed by examiner availability issues, then an annual inspection for the aircraft.

At the same time I needed to prepare for our flight to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture 2013. I needed an Instrument Proficiency Check and to change channels back to my IFR cross-country flying methods (no lazy eights en-route).

I finally gave up on scheduling the examiner that my school normally uses and decided to call my local DE with whom I did my Instrument flight test.

We booked the test at first for last week, then moved it twice for weather but finally it all came together –or so I thought-.  Read the rest of this entry »

EAA AirVenture recap video by SLICK

He has done it again! Another great video from our friend SLICK.Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 11.30.17 PM Read the rest of this entry »

Last moments of East Haven CT plane crash captured on


As I was walking back from lunch I heard about a plane crash in CT. Being a pilot, I naturally had some interest in the story.

Here is what I have be able to find so far.

According to a Fox News  report, the FAA said that the aircraft originated from Teterboro KTEB in NJ and crashed as it approached Tweed New Haven Airport at 11:25.

With that information I pulled the latest flights from TEB to HVN and I found N16322 Read the rest of this entry »

Beechcraft Secures Largest General Aviation Propeller Aircraft Order in History, Valued at $1.4 Billion

imageBeechcraft Secures Largest General Aviation Propeller Aircraft Order in History, Valued at $1.4 Billion

Deal includes up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft and associated maintenance services for Wheels Up, a new private aviation membership company, formed by Marquis Jet founder

Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial pilot training update: 6/24/2013

IMG_1635This update comes with some good news and some “not so good” news.

The good news is that my CFI was happy with my performance and signed me off for the check ride after our flight on Monday. The bad news is that we soon discovered that the airplane would not be available until some time next week (7/1 – 7/7) for the check ride. Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Pilot training update 6/21/13: The final stretch.

Steep TurnSo here we are. After the “ups and downs” of my commercial pilot training, my CFI has given me the go-ahead and feels that I am just about ready for the check ride. No pressure.

We flew yesterday and I showed improvement with my last two maneuvers -lazy eights and eights on pylons-.

The lazy eights to the left look great, but the Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Flight Maneuvers practice 6/1/2013

IMG_1547So, in this video I thought I “had it”. Good news is, I now know that I didn’t “have it nailed” but I have a better idea of what I was doing wrong.

It’s a learning process. You know you are close to mastery when you can “see” what you are really doing wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Sun ‘N Fun 2013 here we come!


Good news, looks like I will get a sneak peek of summer next week. I will be attending Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland Florida for the first time. Unfortunately, I will be flying commercial this time. Don’t worry, AirVenture 2013 is already booked. Read the rest of this entry »

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh adds second night airshow


Evening performances on Wednesday and Saturday in 2013

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 21, 2013) — The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh night air show, one of the most popular additions to “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” lineup over the past quarter-century, will be even bigger in 2013 with the addition of a second night show scheduled for Wednesday, July 31.

“The additional night show is being scheduled this year in response to those EAA members and AirVenture attendees who said they missed this phenomenal event because they came to Oshkosh earlier in the week,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “We talked with the participating performers and they’re just as excited to have an additional opportunity to fly the twilight show here as the thousands who have enjoyed it each year.” Read the rest of this entry »

Flying the Dassault Falcon 7X FAA FFS Level D simulator

Mike Bennett flying the Falcon 7xThe call that I had been waiting for finally came. It was my Falcon pilot friend (who will go unnamed for this story). He was scheduled for his 12 month check flight in the Falcon 7X and invited me to stop by for some free flight time.

I cleared it with the boss, left work early and headed up to CAE. Once I arrived he escorted me to the simulator. As we got closer, I have to admit I was a bit intimidated. I had been away from flying for a little while due to other financial needs and wasn’t even IFR current or proficient in my Cessna 172, never mind a jet! NO PRESSURE. Read the rest of this entry »

Flying with firearms? Check out this guide from Lucy Gunner

ammobaggage-1024x678General Aviation Guide to Flying with Guns and Ammo

A while ago Lucky Gunner sent me a link to this site. At the time, I wasn’t considering the possibility of owning a firearm but things have changed and I have added a new hobby to my life.

That being said, I live in NJ so that means waiting over 3 months for the paperwork to go through.

Check out the video and their site. Read the rest of this entry »

Commercial Pilot Training Session 1

Hello fellow aviators,

It’s been a little while since I posted a flight log but the good news is that I have been flying.

Last month after my flight to Lou’s (cost a small fortune by the way) I started working on my Commercial flight maneuvers with a CFII friend of mine who has been encouraging me to get my CPL for over a year. Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Younkin Twin Beech Airshow in-flight video

Check out this awesome video of Matt Younkin during his airshow performance at Hamilton in the Beech 18. I have always loved watching him doing his thing and now thanks to LearnToFlyCA we can see what it’s like to fly along with Matt during one of his shows. Read the rest of this entry »

Dinner flight with Lou


Out of the blue, I responded to Lou’s Facebook post about flying the Dakota on Saturday morning. His description of the flight was tempting. Clear smooth sky’s with great aircraft performance thanks to cool temperatures on this crisp fall day.

I was working from home on a cutover and wasn’t thinking about flying. I offered to come up and see him “soon” thinking that I would fly up some time next week. Just then, my wife commented “when are you leaving?” Read the rest of this entry »

Helping to fill the bucket list

As a pilot, we are often asked to take people flying, sometimes it works out, other times it doesn’t but when it does, it can turn into a rewarding experience for both the pilot and the passenger, especially when that passenger has never flown in a small aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »

Flying to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to experience AirVenture (aka Oshkosh) you may wonder why so many of us attend year after year. Well for me, AirVenture is a little different every year, and this would be my fourth year in a row. I guess there is something alluring about spending a week with thousands of aviators from all walks of life. We are, after all, a relatively small percentage of the population and as you might expect, you tend to make a friend or two. If I had to list just one thing that brings me back year after year it is just that. You tend to meet some great people at Oshkosh! Read the rest of this entry »

GA News: Pilot’s Bill of Rights Signed Into Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate General Aviation Caucus and certified flight instructor with more than 10,000 flight hours, today announced that his Pilot’s Bill of Rights (S.1335) has been officially signed into law. Inhofe has worked to pass the legislation for the past year.  In the Senate where the bill enjoyed co-sponsorship by 65 other Senators, the measure passed by unanimous consent in June.  The House passed the measure by a voice voteRead the rest of this entry »


Oshkosh, Wisconsin (July 25, 2012) – Aviation is faced with many challenges, and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) has become a leader in the effort to effect change in the industry. Over the past few years, the CAF has worked to diversify its membership by recruiting a broader range of members. Through organizational focus and marketing efforts, the CAF and warbird aviation have begun to see a change in the ranks of enthusiasts. Read the rest of this entry »

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Flight Planning 2012

Once again, I am planning my yearly trek to Oshkosh WI for EAA AirVenture. After the 15 hour drive last year I decided that if I was going at all I would fly even if it was solo.

This year will also be a bit different for me as this is my first time attending an event as an official member of the “media”. My friend and fellow flying club member Steven Pope of Flying Magazine introduced me to the head of EAA media relations last year. He explained the process I would need to follow to be considered for a press pass. After filling out the required paperwork they evaluated my website and granted me my media credentials back in March.

Read the rest of this entry »

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 Preview!

Can’t wait for Oshkosh this year. I plan on flying our Cessna 172n n3054e from Morristown NJ (now that’s a long cross country). So meany things to get in place by then, I feel the stress already but I know it will be worth it when I arrive (solo) into OSH! Hope so see many of you this year!

Read the rest of this entry »

Dale Earnhardt Jr flies with the Blue Angels

I normally don’t post these on the site but this has got to be the best Blue Angles ride I have seen to date!

I love Dale’s reaction at 3:02. “What the hell… Who’s idea was that… You guys are crazy”

Read the rest of this entry »

F22 Demo and Blue Angels Jones Beach 2012

Some short clips from the Jones Beach Airshow this year. I didn’t get much of the Blue Angels deciding instead to sit back and enjoy the show. Read the rest of this entry »


EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (June 21, 2012) — The famed Goodyear blimp “Spirit of Goodyear” will grace the skies once again at EAA AirVenture 2012, scheduled for July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport.

The “Spirit of Goodyear” will arrive on Wednesday, July 25, and weather depending will fly regularly the following two days before departing on Saturday, July 28. While it is moored, spectators have the chance to get a rare, up-close look at the blimp at Pioneer Airport, located near the EAA AirVenture Museum.

Additionally, five lucky attendees will be taken for a ride of a lifetime in the “Spirit of Goodyear” blimp as winners in Goodyear’s “I Wanna Blimp Ride” Sweepstakes during AirVenture 2012. More details will be announced in the coming days. Read the rest of this entry »

360 Panoramic of Space Shuttle Discovery

Thanks to our friends at for bringing this to our attention. A 360 panoramic view of Space Shuttle Discovery‘s flight deck during the decommissioning process in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Sail: EA-18G Fighter HD Video (Awesome!)

One of my favorite YouTube videos:

Wish I could fly with them. Read the rest of this entry »

Dean Martin vs Foster Brooks I’m an Airline Pilot

A very funny classic enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Space Shuttle Discovery final mission Dulles (HD Video)

On Tuesday 4/17/2012 Stephen T, Neal and I flew the 182RG down to Dulles to witness the arrival of Space Shuttle Discovery atop the modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Truly a sight I will not soon forget! Read the rest of this entry »

Audio recording of 80 year old woman landing Cessna 414 after husband dies

Listen as Helen Collins lands her Cessna 414 with the help of pilot Robert Vuksanovic after her husband dies at the controls. Read the rest of this entry »

IFR flight to Bay Bridge W29

Flight log 2/19/2012 Bay Bridge with Stephen T
As mentioned in my previous writ-up I have cut back on flying so I could save for my Commercial Pilots License. I hadn’t flown in about two moths so when Stephen sent me a message asking if I would like to fly down to W29 -Bay Bridge- I figured it was about time I got back in the air. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda