In a 2014 study of fatally injured pilots from all forms of civil aviation, the NTSB said patterns of increasing drug use among pilots “are consistent with observed trends of increasing drug use by the U.S. population in general.”
At the time, the most common illicit drug detected in pilots involved in fatal plane crashes was marijuana, which was found in less than 4 percent of all pilots tested between 2008 and 2012, and was not found in any of the airline pilots tested.
But if Halye died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, as the Montgomery County Coroner’s office suspects, another concern may have unfolded. With heroin and fentanyl invading the ranks of so much of the general population, is it too much to conclude that it is also present among those flying aircraft?
Halye and wife Courtney Halye were found by their four children in the bedroom of their Centerville home March 16. The coroner’s office is waiting on toxicology reports but has said the deaths appear to be fentanyl-related. Centerville police also say the drug use appears to be voluntary and consistent with an accidental overdose.
Spirit Airlines, a Florida-based “ultra-low fare” carrier, told the Dayton Daily News that it is “cooperating with any and all agencies investigating this case.”
A spokesman for the carrier would not say when, if ever, the airline tested Halye during his time as a pilot.
The FAA declined to acknowledge whether it is investigating Spirit Airlines following Halye’s death. The agency confirmed it has inspected Spirit Airlines’ drug and alcohol testing program before, but would not say how recently.