...Other Aberrations...

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Now, Alaska doesn't have a monopoly on questionable pilot decision making. As AVweb reported in 2003, the NTSB found that pilot Robert A. Monaco, of Lexington, Mass., had a cocktail of very potent drugs in his system when the Beech B200 he was flying hit a building a mile short of the Fitchburg (Mass.) Municipal Airport on April 4, 2003. He died in the crash along with five of the other six people on board. But the final report also sheds light on some disturbing details about the pilot's medical history. Monaco had the prescription drugs imipramine and carbamazepine in his system at the time. The NTSB noted that imipramine is an antidepressant that has "detrimental effects on driving skills and other cognitive functions" and carbamazepine has "measurable impairment of performance on a variety of psychomotor tests." He didn't have a prescription for the morphine that was also in his system. According to the NTSB, Monaco had "an extensive medical history" that included "episodes of not knowing where he is" and a bout with viral meningitis. The report said he didn't tell his FAA flight medical examiner any of it, but at least one doctor who had examined Monaco for abscesses on his arm knew he was a pilot and warned him against flying until the abscesses had been treated.