General General Health

The person, who, for whatever reasons, does not feel well should not attempt to participate as a pilot in flying activities. General discomfort, whether due to colds, indigestion, nausea, overwork, lack of sleep, worry or any other bodily weakness is not conducive to safe flying. Perhaps the most insidious and common of all conditions that can result in dangerous inattentiveness, slow reactions, and confused mental processes is excessive fatigue. Marked fatigued is as valid a reason for canceling or postponing a flight as an engine which is found unacceptable during an operations check.

Self-medication can be a very hazardous undertaking for pilots. Probably the best general recommendation for flyers is abstinence from all drugs when flying is anticipated. In some instances, the need for a particular drug or medication is an indication that the pilot's health is such that flying is automatically precluded. In other cases, it is unlikely that a pilot who is ill enough to require a drug would be well enough to fly by the time the chance of toxicity from the drug has disappeared.

Antihistamines, tranquilizers, reducing pills, barbiturates, nerve tonics, and many other over the counter drugs, can be lethal to the pilot in flight. It is best for those in doubt about such medication to consult a doctor, preferably an FAA designated aviation medical examiner (Fig. 1-6).

FAA's Guide to Drug Hazards in Aviation Medicine, AC 91.11-1, is available through the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, and is recommended for those who are interested in more complete information on this subject. The FAA Airman's Information Manual (Basic Flight Manual and ATC Procedures) includes additional discussions on pilot aeromedical factors. All pilots should be aware that regulations forbid any person from acting as a flight crewmember while using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety.