Had Not Logged IFR Currency Time
its factual report released this week on the December 10, 2006
fatal downing of a Cessna 310Q near Waco, TX, the National
Transportation Safety Board states the plane's pilot tested
positive for a variety of substances -- including marijuana,
antihistamines, painkillers, and weight-loss drugs.
As ANN reported, Justin
Cardneaux was flying on an IFR flight plan from Natchez, MS with a
clearance to fly direct to Waco. While on a glideslope
approach to land at Waco Regional Airport just before 7:00 pm local
time, the aircraft descended below minimum altitude, prompting an
alert warning from a tower controller. After a brief climb at low
speeds, the aircraft once again descended before impacting terrain
short of runway 19L.
Cardneaux was killed in the accident, along with passengers Barr
Brown and Jerry Roberts. Light rain was falling at the time, with a
200-foot ceiling and fog in the area. According to the pilot's
logbook, Cardneaux had not met federal guidelines for keeping his
IFR skills current.
The drugs reportedly found in Cardneaux's system would create an
overall sedative effect, according to Susan Wellman, associate
professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of
Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. She was not part of the
"Hydrocodone will make people quite drowsy, among other things,"
Wellman told The Natchez (MS) Democrat. "THC (marijuana) produces a
feeling of euphoria and may also make people feel somewhat
Amounts of the anti-nausea drug Promethazine and phentermine, a
diet drug, were also found in the pilot's body.
"It’s basically an antihistamine," Wellman said of the
former. "It produces prominent sedation." She noted phentermine
would have the opposite effect, "making (a person) somewhat
agitated and wakeful."
The NTSB's probable cause report is at least 12 months away,
according to NTSB Public Affairs Officer Keith Holloway.