Premium on Safety - Issue 31, 2019 - 1



Best Practices: A Hidden Hazard to Flight 01
Lessons Learned: Lapsed Judgment 04
ASI Message: A Misguided Recommendation 08
Flight Ops Central: ADS-B and Traffic Awareness 09
Quiz: High Altitude Weather 11
USAIG Benefits: A Million Steps in and Still Climbing 12


Getting Your Head in
the Game
Hey, what are you taking into the cockpit? I'm not
talking about in the flight bag. I'm asking about what's on
your mind. Is your mental state ready to take the lead role
in a professional and safe flight? Probably, nobody will
ask, so it's good to ask yourself.
Some years back, I was dual-qualified in two aircraft
with important checklist differences. I came inches from
disaster one evening by doing the wrong steps in an even
worse order as we started up.
As the second-in-command stared disbelievingly at me
it would have been easy to break out excuses about
negative habit transfer. Truth is, I'd received news about a
rough turn in a friend's health an hour earlier and, without
realizing it mattered, I carried that mental baggage into
the cockpit and nearly wrecked an aircraft while we were
still in the chocks.
We all carry personal stressors and imperatives that
compete for attention. Borrowing from computer lingo,
we generally relegate them to 'running in the background'
while we're doing things that need our full attention-until
we can't. Mental duress is every bit as hazardous as
adverse weather or equipment malfunctions, but more
difficult to recognize and manage. At a simplistic level,
we are our own last line of defense on this. An honest
moment of preflight introspection is a healthy practice,
whether it results in ensuring the right process is running
in the foreground, a crew swap, or postponing the flight.
Fly smart and fly safe.

Paul Ratté
Director of Aviation Safety Programs, USAIG


A Hidden Hazard to Flight
FAA's stance on OTC medicines

You wake up, reach over and shut off the alarm clock. Just then, you sit
up and realize you're a bit stuffy. No problem. Just take a Tylenol PM and
it'll be fine. Gotta get to the airport and get things ready. The family is
counting on you to get them to the resort on the coast for spring break.
You've geared up for this trip for four weeks now. Everyone is counting on
you to make it happen. Nothing a little cold will stop.
Use of over-the-counter medications may seem like a fairly benign
decision, but use of these drugs have resulted in multiple in-flight
incapacitations and untoward events. Impairment from medication,
particularly over the counter (OTC) medication, has been cited in a
number of accidents in general aviation. In a 2011 study from the
FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) Toxicology Lab, drugs or
medications were found in 570 pilots (42%) from 1,353 total pilots tested
who were killed in crashes. Most of the pilots with positive drug results,
511 (90%), were flying under CFR Part 91. Although some side effects of
these over-the-counter medications can be relatively innocuous such as a
dry mouth or itchy eyes, other affects such as sedation can lead to poor
decision making or slow reaction times and ultimately, can be lethal.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires standard labeling
for all OTC medications. These standard labels indicate the active
ingredients, directions for use, and highlight potential side effects like
drowsiness. They also allow for easy comparison. Look for these labels on
any medication you take, especially those from over-the-counter sources.
Also, it is important to note that many brand name medications do not
necessarily disclose the ingredients. For example, in the case scenario
above, Tylenol PM has a powerful antihistamine diphenhydramine
(Benadryl®) but most individuals simply think about taking a "strong
Tylenol" and perhaps do not associate it with significant sedation.
According to the the FAA's CAMI study, sedating antihistamines are the
most commonly detected medication in fatal accidents.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Premium on Safety - Issue 31, 2019