Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Safety is a critical issues facing aviation today. The health of the pilot and the policies related to pilot well-being greatly contribute to the safety practices of flight. The purpose of this research study was to assess the status quo of unmandated, written alcohol and drug policies of corporate/executive flight departments operating under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Researchers found 68% of these operators had written general alcohol/drug, 20% had rehabilitation and 15% had job retention/recovery policies in place. Statistical tests showed that for each pilot added to the flight operation the odds of having a general alcohol/drug policy in place increased by 1.4 times. A strong statistical connectivity was uncovered between how important the policy is perceived to be by the leader and whether or not written policies are in place. Ultimately, this data supports that a need exists for further education of industry professionals of the resources available. The vast majority (94%) of leaders were unaware of resources or where to obtain them and nearly one-quarter reported having direct experience with these issues among the pilots in their flight operations. Furthermore, our research was an endeavor to aid those in our industry affected by substance abuse and dependence issues. Finally, this study upholds the aviation industry’s goal of achieving increased safety by establishing industry best practices of instituting written alcohol and drug policies.