Dec. 31 2019

As we head into the winter cold and flu season, business aviation operators should be aware of a new FAA resource that offers guidelines on over-the-counter (OTC) medication use.

“Pilots taking OTC medications are oftentimes unaware of the impairing impact these meds have on safety,” noted NBAA Senior Manager, Tax, Operations and Workforce Development Peter Korns. “This new FAA resource is a significant achievement for our industry – providing pilots with an easy-to-understand resource outlining the dangers of OTC meds, including go/no-go guidance related to specific medications.

“NBAA, through our work with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, has been working hard on this topic, including how to best get necessary information in the hands of pilots,” he added.

The resource includes questions operators should ask themselves to determine if they have a condition that makes them unsafe to fly, facts to consider before operating an aircraft, what to look for when choosing an OTC medication, information on dosing intervals and details about common OTC medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants.

It also includes a list of helpful websites to use as additional resources.

View the FAA’s OTC resource

According to the FAA, impairment from medication, particularly OTC medication, has been cited in a number of accidents in general aviation. In a 2011 study from the FAA’s CAMI Toxicology Lab, drugs/medications were found in 570 pilots (42%) from 1,353 total fatal pilots tested. Most of the pilots with positive drug results, 511 (90%), were flying under CFR part 91.