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PPL » Human Factors » Alcohol and Drugs

10.32 Alcohol and Drugs

10.32.2 Explain the effects of alcohol on pilot performance. 

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.

Alcohol is very fat soluble and the brain contains a large amount of fat so alcohol gets into the brain very readily and has subtle and sometimes profound effects, particularly on decision making, judgment and balance.

These effects have, been shown to be disastrous in the flying environment, especially in an emergency situation.

Furthermore, even when there is no more alcohol in the blood, there may still be effects of alcohol in the brain for considerably longer.

In fact, the effects of one "standard drink" can be measured in the brain up to 14 hours later.

10.32.4 Explain the restriction associated with the consumption of alcohol and flying. 

Bottle to Throttle Time

No pilot should fly until at least 10 hours (some advocate 12 hours) have elapsed since the light drinking of alcohol. This is the minimum time between drinking and flying.

If a pilot is suffering from a hangover at the 10 hour point from the last drink, flying should not be commenced until the pilot feels well enough to do so.

10.32.6 Explain the effects of drugs on pilot performance. 

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