Flight Safety – Pilot Error?

Clayton Osbon
Captain Clayton Osbon

In Flight Safety Part 1, I covered how the side effects of aspartame could actually cause problems for pilots and crew. Flight Safety – Pilot Error discusses those pilots you have suffered from the affects of aspartame. Captain Clayton Osbon suffered a mental episode and has now lost his livelihood and has been vilified and treated abominably because of an illness that was not his fault.  How unfair!(See Part 3 and the Epilogue here)

Captain Osbon suing JetBlue

Captain Osbon is suing the airline JetBlue for failing to do anything about his behaviour, which he had no control over.  He gave plenty of clues of him suffering a brain seizure by being out of character, missing a preflight meeting and turning up disheveled, disoriented and slow to respond.  This behaviour was apparent from when he first arrived and throughout preflight, boarding and flight checks.  He should have been pulled from the flight and health checked.  Captain Osbon decided to sue the airline after the the crash of Germanwings flight in the French Alps, which killed 150 passengers and crew.  The pilot downed the plane deliberately.

Bill DeagleDr Bill Deagle

Dr Bill Deagle who has been a civil aviation examiner, has examined pilots who have suffered seizures and other problems causing a lack of judgment, he states:

“I have been a civil aviation examiner and have personally examined pilots who suffered dangerous absence seizures, blackout and dangerous lack of judgment. It was an unwritten rule that Aspartame was not to be used at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and most commercial pilots knew of the danger years ago of this excitoneurotoxin.”

Do modern pilots know the dangers?

We are now in 2019, so what’s happened over the last 20 odd years?  It would appear all has been forgotten and pilots, crew and passengers are still at risk.  The media, governments, the FDA, the manufacturers and all those to do with getting this toxin onto the market and who are lining their pockets, have done a brilliant job at keeping the public in the dark.  This being at the expense of public health and the public purse.  When will the truth about this dangerous fiasco, be realised by the public at large?

Beware everyone!

Beware everyone, but particularly you pilots and pregnant mothers! You both have others on board!

I give below a list of all the commercial accidents between the dates of 1994 and 2014.  This period seems to have been forgotten when it comes to knowing the adverse affects of aspartame on pilots and crew.  Some of these pilot errors just don’t make sense.

Here is a useful app written by Captain Pat Boone could be useful, especially if you’re a pilot or crew member.

Common pilot errors
  • CFIT (controlled flight into terrain)
  • Loss of spatial or situational awareness.
  • Not following SOP (standard operating procedures).
  • Lack of CRM (cockpit resource management)
  • Inadequate preflight inspections..
  • Not using a checklist.
  • Failure to perform the “I’M SAFE” checklist ie. Illness, Medication, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, Emotion.

The last item I think is vital for any pilot to check before he/she embarks on a flight with so many souls in their hands.

 Pilots are amazing

There are some amazing pilots out there.  How about Chesley Sullenberger who gently ditched his stricken plane into the Hudson river with no fatalities.  I think most pilots have the ability and skill but other factors are interfering with their job.  One is fatigue, another is pressure and a third, aspartame, could add to these problems, compounding what a pilot already has to contend with.

But mistakes do happenKegworth

Then there’s the 1989 British Midlands Flight 92 crash, known as the Kegworth air disaster.  Thinking he knew the plane, the captain presumed that the smoke in the cockpit was coming from the right engine which bleeds air for the air conditioning in variants of Boeing 737 and he consequently shut it down.  However, this new variant Boeing 737-400 bleeds air through both engines for the air conditioning; it was the left engine that had failed.  Shortly thereafter the plane lost all power.

Captain interrupted

The captain was in the process of checking his decisions when he was interupted by a transmission from East Midlands Airport informing him he could descend to 12,000 feet (3,700 m) ready for landing.  The crew gallantly tried to glide down to the runway, missing it by a few hundred metres as shown in the picture.  Amazingly there were survivors but 47 out of the 118 on board died. The two pilots survived with serious injuries, but both were dismissed.  These were good pilots, trying to think quickly in a dire situation but the captain took something for granted, easily done.

Commercial accidents from 1994 – 2014: Summary below

1994 – 18 accidents – 8 pilot error, 1 human error, 3 mechanical failure, 3 hijacking, 2 weather, 1 bomb.  Fatalities – 1082

1995 – 15 accidents – 6 pilot error, 4 human error, 3 mechanical failure, 1 weather, 1 undetermined. Fatalities – 726

1996 – 16 accidents –  7 pilot error, 4 human error, 4 mechanical failure, 1 hijacking.  Fatalities – 1526

1997 – 15 accidents – 12 pilot error, 2 weather, 1 mechanical. Fatalities – 1025

1998 – 15 accidents – 10 pilot error, 1 human error, 1 mechanical failure, 1 hijacking, 1 possible terrorist act, 1 shot down. Fatalities – 1166

EgyptAir Flight 990 – Deliberately downed by co-pilot in 1999

1999 – 15 accidents – 10 pilot error, 3 human error, 2 hijacking. Fatalities – 440

2000 – 15 accidents – 11 pilot error, 1 human error, 1 mechanical failure (Concorde), 1 weather, 1 hijack attempt.  Fatalities – 860

2001 – 15 accidents – 5 pilot error, 5 hijacking (4 from 9/11), 2 human error, 1 accidental shoot down, 1 failed bomb. Fatalities – 908 (plus 2727 casualties from the twin towers and the Pentagon not included in the summary)

2002 – 16 accidents – 9 pilot error, 3 human error, 3 mechanical failure, 1 arson by passenger.  Fatalities – 1003

2003 – 10 accidents – 4 pilot error, 2 human error, 2 mechanical failure, 1 hijacking, 1 terrorist attack. Fatalities – 587

2004 – 11 accidents – 7 pilot error, 1 human error, 2 suicide bombings, 1 undetermined. Fatalities – 416

December 2005 Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 – runway overrun in snowstorm

2005 – 21 accidents – 9 pilot error, 2 human error, 3 undetermined, 6 mechanical failure, 1 weather. Fatalities – 993

2006 – 11 accidents – 6 pilot error, 1 human error, 3 mechanical failure, 1 hijacking. Fatalities – 903

2007 – 23 accidents – 8 pilot error, 6 human error, 6 mechanical failure, 1 undetermined, 1 hijacking, 1 suspected shoot down. Fatalities – 770

2008 – 18 accidents – 8 pilot error, 1 human error, 5 mechanical failure, 1 attempted hijack, 1 weather, 1 birdstrike, 1 undetermined. Fatalities – 496

2009 – 23 accidents – 12 pilot error, 2 human error, 4 mechanical failure, 2 birdstrike, 2 hijacking, 1 terrorist attack. Fatalities – 721

2010 – 27 accidents – 14 pilot error, 1 human error, 5 mechanical failure, 5 undetermined, 2 weather. Fatalities – 804

2011 Caribbean Airlines flight – pilot error

2011 – 25 accidents – 11 pilot error, 1 human error, 8 mechanical failure, 3 undetermined, 2 weather. Fatalities – 479  

2012 – 14 accidents – 9 pilot error, 1 human error, 2 mechanical failure, 1 undetermined, 1 hijacking.  Fatalities – 470

2013 – 13 accidents – 11 pilot error (1 pilot suicide), 1 human error, 1 undetermined. Fatalities – 195

2014 – 8 accidents – 4 pilot error, 1 mechanical failure, 1 hijack (by co-pilot), 1 undetermined, 1 shoot down. Fatalities – 920

Summary – Fatalities 1994 – 2014 = 16,490 
  • Total aircraft accidents = 344
  • Pilot error = 178
  • Mechanical failure = 58
  • Human error = 39
  • Hijacking = 21
  • Undetermined = 18
  • Weather = 16
  • Others causes = 4 bombings, 3 terrorist attacks, 1 arson, 3 birdstrike, 4 shot down
Nearly 52% pilot errors!
Another incident of shutting down the wrong engine!

You may not have realised that there have been so many aircraft accidents over the past 20 years.  What is shocking is the amount of recorded pilot errors.  I just don’t believe that all these pilots are so incompetent.

Fatigue must be a factor but…

I think fatigue has much to do with it but also some of these professionals will be consuming diet food and drink laced with aspartame.  When they do, they are more at risk of having side effects from this chemical concoction.  Even without fatigue, they will be more susceptible to loss of mental acuity, impairment of vision, seizures, serious headaches, brain fog, tremours, confusion, anxiety, personality changes, phobias, the list extends to 92 side effects and adverse reactions.

Pilots’ Stories
Pilot George E. Leighton

The General Aviation News told of “pilot George E. Leighton experienced blurred vision so severe he was unable to read instruments on his panels and narrowly avoided a tragic landing after consuming two cups of NutraSweetened hot chocolate prior to his flight.” George Leighton wrote a letter to the editor of the USAF Flying Safety magazine after they published an aspartame warning to all Air Force pilots. Below is part of the letter “Let me ask you a question.  If you became aware of a component of every Air Force aircraft which was subject to sudden, catastrophic in-flight failure, would you simply write an innocuous ‘heads up to pilots’ at the end of an obscure article in your magazine?  Of course not?  You would take immediate emergency action to ground all aircraft until the safety-of-flight item was removed.  Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal) is that safety-of-flight item!”
flight safety

He finishes his letter with:    “My immediate, personal goal, however is to have all pilots informed of the potential safety-of-flight hazard posed by Aspartame. At least, they could then make an informed decision whether they wished to risk their lives and careers by playing airborne Russian roulette with Aspartame-laced products. Of course, a more appropriate question may be asked: ‘Should pilots even have this right, when other people’s lives are at stake?”

Captain Harold Wilson

Collapsed during a charter flight above the Bering Sea.  He was out for at least 5 minutes, meanwhile a passenger took the copilot seat and got radio help from a naval ship. He says:  “In one day I went from being one of the senior pilots, to being not only unemployed, but also unemployable and seemingly unwanted, my career stripped away forever. Words alone cannot describe the magnitude of the void that now flooded my life. And, all because of a sweetener? How sad.”

You can read the full versions of these two pilots’ plights here:

ContinentalPilot Haynes Dunn

Former USAF and Continental Airlines pilot Haynes Dunn says that aspartame ruined his career.  He suffered a grand mal seizure in 1990 which resulted in his flying status being automatically terminated.  He states that he is not an epileptic and only has seizures when he consumes food and drink containing aspartame.

Texas Pilot Charles King

Pilot Charles King had similar symptoms to Major Collings (see Flight Safety Part 1), only suffering them during his use of Aspartame products. The FAA revoked his medical certificate when he told of his problems but despite losing his licence for a few years, King managed to get it back.  Regaining a licence to fly after a serious medical issue, is very rare.

Captain Jim Sells Delta AirlinesDr Pepper

Captain Sells wrote this to Mary Nash Stoddard ”Thank you very much for the information. You have just ruined my four bottle day “Diet Dr. Pepper” habit.  I have seen others suffer from severe headaches using NutraSweet. I had no idea it caused so many more problems. I’m done with artificial sweeteners. I’ll start reading labels and protecting my health better. I certainly don’t need these chemicals. All I’m doing is fooling the taste buds as it passes through the mouth.  I see symptoms listed that bother me as I go through my day, diet soda in hand.  I’ll expect improvement and think of your wake up call as it happens.”

Why are pilots still ingesting aspartame?

Although in the last century pilots were advised to lay off the diet sodas etc., in our modern day, this seems to have been forgotten.  I think it would be quite reasonable for future passengers to hand over a request to their pilots and crew asking that they do not consume diet sodas and other products containing aspartame before and on their flight.  If this was done by even some passengers, perhaps it would make pilots and flight attendants think.

coke ad
The last thing you will be after ingesting aspartame is refreshed!
Who do you believe, big pharma?

There are always two sides to every story but the problem with aspartame is, those telling us that it is safe have a vested interested in it.  They are gaining billions of dollars every year by the sale of this concoction to you the consumer.

Or those who have nothing to gain by informing you?

On the other hand, those who are alerting you to what’s going on, have no axe to grind and have nothing to gain by imparting this information.  These independent doctors, researchers and others and the above pilots, are just trying to give you the facts so you can be aware about this artificial sweetener and decide whether you want to consume it and give it to your family and loved ones.

Next post covers accidents of 2015

My next post will be looking more closely at just one year of aircraft accidents, the year 2015.  I chose this year because any later, the accident investigations would not yet be complete in most instances. The majority of the investigations for 2015 have been finished and reports available.

If you are a pilot, or a have a pilot in your family, we would be interested to hear your views.  Perhaps you are a steward or stewardess or other member of the flight crew.  Do you know of anyone who has had an episode whilst on a flight.  Do you know any pilots Ches Powerand crew that ingest diet products on a daily basis such as diet coke, sprite, pepsi, chewing gum, equal etc..  Aspartame is everywhere and it is difficult to track which foods you are consuming that have aspartame in them, after all there are over 6,000 of them!


Spread the word!

Flight Safety - Pilot Error?
Article Name
Flight Safety - Pilot Error?
We are now in 2019, so what's happened over the last 20+ years? It would appear all has been forgotten and pilots, crew and passengers are still at risk.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo

29 thoughts on “Flight Safety – Pilot Error?

  1. Ches,

    Really pleased to have found your website. I’m writing a health comic about Aspartame and Pilots. I run Mission Possible, Scotland, UK – an outpost of Betty Martini’s organisation. I’m wondering if you have the text from the article by Captain Pat Boone, only the link has expired. I’d like to include his input in the comic.

    For interest, here’s a link to my Aspartame comics: https://kreskafiction.wixsite.com/artificial/the-aspartame-story

    Hope you can help.

    best wishes

    Avalina Kreska

    1. Hi there Avalina and thanks for your comment. As for the text from the article by Captain Pat Boone, it certainly doesn’t seem to be working. I do remember that the address was something like B737MRG.net I put in a search for ‘Captain Pat Boone Pilot” in Google and a number of Pat Boone references came up, including that address. I think your best bet is to do the same search using Google. You can then go through them one at a time to see if any will be useful for your comic. Best of luck and keep up the good work! Ches

  2. Hi Ches

    I run Mission Possible, Scotland, UK (an outpost of Betty Martini’s organisation) and I’m about to write a comic about Aspartame and Pilots. I’m gathering information and was wondering if you had the text of the article by Captain Pat Boone – the link errors when you click on it. His testimony would be a crucial part of the message.

    Many thanks

  3. If there are over 6,000 foods that contain aspartame, I think we are living in more dangerous world than we realized. This has caused more harms than any good, that’s if it have any benefit.If this has wrecked so many havoc in air transportation industry, I wonder what it may have done to in land transportation. I wonder, why is this unreported or underreported in my country. In the last 10 years, we’ve had more than 4 air crashes, but no single report point to this chemical. Something is wrong, I guess.I am going to do more research on this, I look forward to your next article!

    1. Hi there Autofreak and thanks for your comments and the valid question about other forms of transport. I have often wondered what has caused some accidents on the road with commercial lorries. I suspect it would be very difficult to prove one way or the other if any particular accident was caused by ingestion of the neurotoxin aspartame. 

      Aspartame’s long list of adverse effects is not surprising when you realize that it is composed of three brain-damaging chemicals — aspartic acid (40%), phenylalanine (50%), and methanol (10%). Why would you want to ingest these neurotoxins when you’re flying a plane, let alone a commercial airline. It must be ignorance on the part of the pilots and crew, because I’m sure if they knew just how dangerous this stuff is, they would be making sure they have none in their bodies, particularly when the lives of so many souls are in their hands. 

  4. There are few things which can result to flight failure and I think aspartame could be one of them. Pilots should stay away from anything that could lead to impaired vision or brain fog. Piloting a plane isn’t an easy work and has a high risk and every pilot should stay away from anything or lifestyle that could lead to air plane crash. 

    1. Hi there Kenechi, thanks for your input. I think, if pilots knew of the danger of drinking sugar free sodas, hot chocolates, fruit juices etc., and ingesting aspartame laced foods such as yoghurts, non free sweets, chewing gum, ice cream, biscuits and other snacks, they would steer clear of these products. After all, they don’t want to be the cause of an aircraft accident. Ignorance may be bliss but in this case, ignorance is an accident waiting to happen!

  5. Thanks for the post. Wow! I can only say a big sorry the pilots that have taken fully the responsibility of the flight agencies ignorance. Everyone thinks of the pilot after a crash and now I have see that many a times it can be as a result of what they have taken in oblivion of the fact that that could course them to make wrong judgement up there or even knock them out. Thanks for the post 

    1. Thanks for your comments Polycarp Momoh. Yes, pilots need to be educated as to what can happen if they have a reaction from aspartame intake. It does and has happened and will keep on happening. Problem is, if aspartame has caused an accident through ‘pilot error’ the pilot will be blamed and his career ruined. Aspartame and its effects on pilots and crew should be thoroughly investigated. There is also plenty of evidence from past accidents which points to aspartame caused problems with cognition.  

  6. This is an incredible post which serves as an eye opener for me. I must commend you for putting up this lovely post together. I am just getting to know about the dangers attached with  aspertame; airline officials should try in as much as possible to train pilots and let them know the effects in place. Thanks for this great insight

    1. Hi Ola and I’m pleased you are taking ‘onboard’ (excuse my pun) the dangers of aspartame, whether it be you who ingests it, or the pilot and crew of the plane you’re on! You’re right the airlines should have a ruling about consuming aspartame laced food and drink before and during a flight. Even if just one accident can be avoided with this ruling, it is surely worth it.

  7. Your previous post about aspertame was really cool. Now your post on pilots error is more interesting and full of facts which i didn’t even know initially before reading up your article. The seven bulleted common pilot errors you listed are very educational and informative, if all pilots could avoid this then i bet there would not be plane crashes again. Thanks so much for this lovely post, i will hopefully be expectant to read more of your episodes.

    1. Thanks Dapoach for your valuable comment. I think it is within our best interests to even ask when we board a plane, or even book the ticket, if the pilots and crew ingest any aspartame laced foods or drink whilst piloting the aircraft, or the day before the flight. My next post will concentrate all accidents of 2015. 55% were put down to pilot/human error!

  8. Thanks for this article, it really she’s some lights on the error encountered during plane crashes. If not for this article I would have thought most of these crashes were caused by mechanical error in which is very wrong according to this analysis. This post really caught my attention, am bookmarking your page and checking back for more interesting posts like this. 

    1. Yes Ayodeji, it is a bit worrying when you board a plane, not knowing what your pilot or crew have been putting into their bodies. Have they been ingesting aspartame? Will they suffer a side effect during the flight because of it? These are questions we should be asking. Aspartame ingestion by pilots and crew should be banned before and during a flight. Afterall, these professionals are responsible for countless souls and any possible threat to their mental and physical health during a flight, must be taken seriously. 

  9. Thank you for alerting us about this problem. I read your other post of aspartame but this really shows that this problem is no joke. I hope that airline companies and flight schools really teach their pilots about the deadly consequences of consuming products with aspartame. For now, the best thing we can do is to inform others about this problem just like you did and try to make our voice heard so that airlines listen.

    1. Thank you Daniel for your wise words. Spreading the message is the key because I’m sure it will be an age before the FDA do anything about this toxin. But if there is a public outcry, they will have to do something. Meanwhile, people are suffering diseases and conditions mostly of which they don’t know the cause, neither do most medics. Apart from that, our skies are littered with aircraft, possibly concealing a disaster. The average number of passenger aircraft accidents per year from 1994-2014 is 16.38. Out of those, over half have been pilot error. Knowing the science, the research and how aspartame came to be passed for human consumption, I am convinced that at least some of these errors would have been avoided if aspartame was not on the scene. Ches

  10. Thanks Chessie for such an enlightening article. I never knew of the dangers of aspartame and never dreamed it could affect people in that manner. I also never realized that there were so many airplane accidents. It can be quite disconcerting sitting in an airplane and wondering about the health of the pilot. There is already enough anxiety connected to flying so I definitely don’t want to see my pilot passing by with his diet soda.

    I hope a lot of people and especially pilots will read your article and become educated about the dangers of aspartame.

    1. Thanks Freddie for your input and comments. I was worried about making those who hate flying more anxious, but unless we are informed, we can’t do anything about it. On my next flight I shall be asking if the pilots and crew know about the dangers of consuming aspartame laced drinks and food. It will be interesting to see how they answer! It would be great if passengers asked the same question or even gave a note to the flight crew because they probably do not realize the problems aspartame causes. It should be something the aircraft industry is addressing not us the paying passengers. Ches

  11. Wow, I’ve never heard of aspartame causing such a serious problem as seizures. I’m curious as to whether more research or testing was done to see if Haynes Dunn perhaps had an acute sensitivity to it.
    I am definitely not an advocate of aspartame and I do realise that it is something that we should NOT be consuming, but this is particularly alarming.
    Thank you for the insightful post, I have definitely been inspired to research this issue – and to steer clear of diet fizzy drinks.

    1. Hi there Joanne, I’m gratified you’ve been enlightened about the seriousness of aspartame. I’m not sure of the outcome of Haynes Dunn. This happened in the last century and despite my best efforts, info on these events are hard to come by. I do know though that the Pilots Hotline which was set up by Mary Stoddard has had hundreds of calls from distressed pilots and loved ones. It’s all veiled in secrecy because of the stigma associated with the side effects and pilots’ fear of losing their licence.

      Pilots have to be informed ‘off the record’ for anything to be achieved. Meanwhile, those who are ignorant of the adverse reactions of aspartame are still piloting passenger aircraft. I am about to write a post on evidence of depressed pilots and those with suicidal thoughts, should be out next Monday. Thanks so much for your input. Ches

  12. Wow, I had no idea that sweeteners are such a problem, especially when you think about people who are in positions of huge responsibility, like pilots. You have done a huge amount of research on this subject – very informative. I’m seriously considering passing a note to the flight attendants on my next flight (I don’t like flying at the best of times) to warn them and the captain not to load up on diet sodas – or else! I have chemotherapy treatments and the doctors constantly measure my potassium and magnesium levels, as well as the usual blood counts etc; that might be a good article for your site. Thank you!

    1. Hi Faith and I’m sorry to learn you are obviously not too chipper at the moment with chemo treatment. Great that your doctor is on par though about the mineral balances. I wonder which Mg test method he’s using on you? I have done a post on the Magnesium Deficiency Test. and some are more accurate than others! It’s quite difficult to overload on Mg, especially with so much Ca in our modern diet. Also a Mg deficiency exacerbates a K (potassium) deficiency. Replacing K does not help if you’re Mg deficient. The body is unable to deliver K to the cells without sufficient Mg.

      Indeed, if you do actually give a note to the pilots and crew on your next flight, it might make them think twice about aspartame consumption. I can remember on my last flight, there were always copious amounts of sodas going into the cockpit and pilots are notorious for chewing gum; supposed to help them concentrate!

      Thank you Faith, for your comment and input. I sincerely hope you are in prime health very soon. Ches

  13. Thanks for this insightful information! I knew that aspartame is terrible for one’s health and can be a cause of cancer but never knew about these side effects. It’s so very frustrating that this info is not widely shared. Thanks for getting this information out there. People need to be informed! Especially those who are responsible for other’s lives in their jobs.

    1. Your comment and input is much appreciated Katie. It is frustrating that the info is not shared and you can help with that. I suspect you will not be consuming this stuff now and you can inform your family and friends why. As for pilots, there needs to be a mandate from the aviation authorities. I’m sure if pilots and crew had the lowdown on aspartame products they would steer clear of them. They certainly don’t want to put their passengers’ and their own health and lives at risk, apart from their careers! Ches

  14. I have looked into artificial sweeteners myself a lot in the past years and the information is shocking!! I can’t believe these products are still allowed to be sold!! Artificial sweetener in my opinion is the new junk food. You’d be better off with the sugar.
    I hadn’t thought about how this effects people in positions such as pilots and this also makes me think about people using heavy machinery on a daily basis. We have drug testing at work to minimise risk associated with heavy machinery but these products could be causing as many problems as the drugs we are testing for.

    1. Hi Chris, I am so pleased that people like yourself are researching artificial sweeteners and finding out the true story about this particular chemical conconction. It’s more than junk food, it is toxic and you are better off with sugar, as you say. You are also right about those in control of heavy machinery and large trucks and articulated lorries. There have been cases of lorry drivers having serious effects from aspartame, perhaps I should look into that. Good health to you and yours. Ches

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *