The Modern Pilot News

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

The and (GA) groups’ Safe national campaign aims to educate the GA community on how to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents this season.

What is Loss of Control (LOC)? A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled . LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the . Contributing factors may include: poor judgment/aeronautical decision making, failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action, intentional regulatory non-compliance, low pilot time in aircraft make and model, lack of piloting ability, failure to maintain airspeed, failure to follow procedure, pilot inexperience and proficiency, or the use of over-the-counter drugs that impact pilot performance.

What is the big deal about taking medication when you fly? As a pilot, you understand that illicit drugs always impair human performance. Do you fully understand the impact prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications have on your flying capabilities?

Did you know? Some medications may compromise a pilot’s ability to control the aircraft and/or adversely affect his or her judgment and decision-making ability. Following a GA accident, it may be difficult to determine the extent to which a drug may have impaired a pilot’s ability to fly safely. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may not cite drug or medication use as a causal factor in many fatal accidents, but a 2011 FAA study of toxicology samples of 1,353 deceased pilots indicated the presence of some sort of drug or medication in 570 (42%) of the pilots. Most of the pilots had prescription or OTC medications in their system. Antihistamines – especially diphenhydramine – were the most common medications found. More facts:

Message from FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker: The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our Fly Safe campaign! Each month on we’re providing pilots with a Loss of Control solution developed by the team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions – some of which are already reducing risk. We hope you will join us in this effort, and spread the word. Follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.




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