Pilots & Flight Safety

The Dangerous Effects Of Aspartame When Flying - an interview with Mary Stoddard


Pilots Flying Safely | Aspartame Comics

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

PILOT ALERT: By Russell Blaylock, M.D., Neurosurgeon (2007)


Paul Scavone gave Dr.Russell Blaylock's Pilot Alert to Captain Peter Machtel. On flight he wrote a letter to Paul:

Dear Sir:

Coincidental that you would share this article with us. About 15 years ago I was a dedicated tri-athlete and during training I believed I had suffered an injury in my left foot. I suffered with worsening pain in it, to the extent that I purchased foam wedges for my uniform shoes, so as to not limp at work.

By good fortune, I mentioned my condition to my older brother who informed me I had gout caused by NutraSweet. He knew this because both he and our older brother suffered from the same condition. I began drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day and within 2 weeks, the condition disappeared completely. I have been preaching the evils of aspartame ever since. I have a 15 year old daughter who drinks too much Diet Coke. I have been encouraging her to stop for a good while now and I will share this article with her.

Should you wish to share this testimonial with others, feel free to do so!


Captain Peter A. Machtel

US Air Flight 1197

To Whom it May Concern:

I am a retired Captain form American Airlines. I was using Equal in my coffee from the time American took Sweet & Low off the planes in the 80s during the saccharin scare. In 1995 I was grounded for 9 months with arterial fib/arrhythmia caused by aspartame poisoning. Before I retired, 6 pilots died of aspartame-related poisoning, one in flight from a seizure. They all were heavy users of Equal or diet drinks. Another captain who used to fly with me as a co-pilot had a seizure on a 767 trip to Paris. The co-pilot had to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas where the captain woke up in the hospital. He never got his license back and had to retire early. He was a heavy user of Equal and/or diet drinks.

I sent numerous letters to the CEO, Medical, the pilots and flight attendants unions, and the VP of Flight concerning this potential disaster and they chose to disregard my warnings. How many other pilots have since been affected is unknown. Aspartame causes carbohydrate craving, and you only have to look at those who over-indulge, or more aptly, are addicted, to see how overweight they are. Some apparently suffer from bipolar disorder, another side effect.


On 11/3/87, Major Michael Collings, testified before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources "NutraSweet: Health and Safety Concerns". It destroyed his career. FAA said they couldn't do anything because aspartame was FDA approved. Here's his testimony:

"The following is a brief historical account of my medical problems from August 1983 through October 1985:

In August 1983, I began having a light tremor in my left arm. The tremor was uncontrollable, lasted a few seconds, and was always preceded by an "aura" similar to what is known a "butterflies" in the stomach. I know for sure that I was drinking fairly large quantities of kool aid sweetened with NutraSweet. I can only approximate the amount of NutraSweet beverages I was drinking. There were days that I would drink close to one gallon. Other days maybe only two quarts. I can say with relative confidence, that I at least drank 34 ounces per day, and general around three quarts. I am a runner and was very conscious about dehydration both from exercise and flyer fighter aircraft.

The tremor in my arm continued through December 1983. In January 1984, I was sent on a remote tour to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. Sometime during the first part of my tour, the tremors stopped. I am not exactly sure the exact date, but can say with assurance that by February 1984 they were gone.

The next episode occurred in June 1984. This was right after I had made a purchase of Crystal Lite at Osan Air Base. I purchased one or two jars which lasted me a few days. I don't remember if the tremors began immediately, but I do remember having an episode while on crutches from a sprained ankle. My trip to Osan AB was just prior to hurting my ankle the 2nd week in June 1984. My intake was approximately three to four quarts per day.

The tremors appeared again in August 1984 while I was back in the United States on mid-tour leave. My consumption was slightly reduced due to my decrease in running. While on leave I drank kool aid with NutraSweet.

I returned to Kunsan AB after leave and was tremor-free until the end of October 1984. I returned from a deployment to New Zealand and Australia and had a package from home waiting. This package contained kool aid with NutraSweet. I am not sure of the quantity, but my consumption rate was again between three to four quarts per day. My tremors surfaced once again. During this time frame, I had one which was noticeably more severe. My tremors stopped sometime shortly thereafter, and did not return until I returned to Nellis AFB.

After returning from Korea the end of January 1985, I was stationed at Nellis AFB. Once again, I began consuming kool aid with NutraSweet. My intake varied, but normally was between three to three and one half quarters per day. Sometime in the spring of 1985, I noticed my tremors had gotten worse. Now my left arm would jerk and pull to the left and my left shoulder and neck would also turn to the left. The duration of these episodes were three to five seconds, and still preceded by an aura. I could not relate a specific time of day, personal activity or whatever to my episodes. They seemed to be grouped, where several would occur within a couple of days followed by some good days. By October 1985, the frequency had increased along with the severity. On 4 October 1985, I had a grand mal seizure, followed by three or so tremor episodes during my three-day stay in the hospital.

I was released from the hospital at Nellis AFB on 7 October 1985. I quit consuming products with NutraSweet or aspartame on 6 October 1985. I did not have any tremors or episodes from that date forward. On 21 October, while being treated at Wilford Hall Medical Center, I was put on Dilantin, an anti-seizure drug. The 15 days from 6 October 1985 to 21 October 1985 were the longest I had gone without a tremor for the past several months. Today, two years and 22 days later, I have been completely tremor and seizure free.

I would like to point out that I also consumed diet sodas with NutraSweet from the time they were marketed, except for my tour in Korea. My consumption of diet sodas was inconsistent, and I have no way of precisely de terming the amount, with the exception of that I usually drank one or two cans at work.

Michael A. Collings

On 8/7/1996 I received this fax from Cliff Evans:

"Dear Betty,

I was referred to you by Dr. Russell Blaylock who authored Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.

In February of this year I experienced an accident in my Mirage after landing at Somerset Airport in New Jersey. The decisions, or non-decisions I made in the moments preceding the accident were so bizarre and stupid that I determined to learn what circumstances contributed to this event, for I've been called many things, but stupid is not one of them.

Through sheer coincidence, a few days after the accident, I heard a statement that aspartame induced confusion and compromised decision-making in some pilots. That led me on a path of study and investigation that included, among others, Dr. Blaylock. He told me in a letter that, "a very nice and dedicated lady has for some years been collecting information on disorientation in pilots following aspartame ingestion." I then learned the name and address of the lady, you.

If, indeed, the reference I received for you is correct, I'd like to give you a full rundown of my aspartame experience and the details of the accident. Perhaps you can then point me towards paths of further inquiry and research.

I'm afraid my goose is seriously cooked as far as flying is concerned. No insurance carrier wants to hear from me when I talk of another Mirage or similar high-performance GA airplane. Presently, I'm flying an Archer which partially satisfies my flying urge, but it's certainly no Mirage. However, that's all my carrier will countenance.

My primary goal is to alert other pilots about the problems of aspartame or hypoglycemia, which it is that felled me. First though, I need to convince myself that one or the other or both were the culprits. You can reach me by any of the means noted at the top of this message.

Cliff Evans

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 pre-flight meeting and turning up disheveled, disoriented and slow to respond. This behaviour was apparent from when he first arrived and throughout pre-flight, 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. He 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.

This from Betty Martini, 2012: 

"Articles abound on the Internet about this Jet Blue pilot, and one report says he could go to prison for 20 years. Passengers aboard flight 191 watched in horror as Clayton Osbon, 49, ran through the aisle screaming 'say your prayers' and banged on the cockpit door after being locked out by his co-pilot on the New York to Las Vegas flight

However, with poisons on today's market that cause psychiatric problems, might he just be a victim and need education and care? One of the things that I picked up was a statement that Osbon was also a ViSalus diet drink salesman. I was shocked at some of the ingredients in this product.

Dr. Blaylock said: "The product in question contains no less that 4 excitotoxin additives as the most abundant ingredients. To be fasting and take this product could induced severe hypoglycemia in conjunction with an intense excitotoxic reaction that could possibly lead to such a psychotic reaction. Mix it with aspartame and you magnify the excitotoxic effects. He could have also been taking prescription medications that in combination could precipitate a psychotic breakdown."

I called Jet Blue and they confirmed that Coke products are served on the plane. Was Clayton Osbon a Diet Coke user which contains the addictive excitoneurotoxic, carcinogenic, genetically engineered drug and adjuvant aspartame. It damages the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell and interacts with drugs and vaccines. Several of the aspartame experts have mentioned that mental hospitals are full of patients that are simply aspartame victims. Because of the depletion of serotonin aspartame triggers all types of psychiatric and behavioral problems and interacts with "ALL" antidepressants".


Questions asked on a forum
asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

is it true US pilots are not allowed aspatamine?
someone told me today, it sounds plausable but i thought i`d better check up on it.

1 decade ago

Favorite Answer
I am a commerical pilot and had not seen any warnings about aspatamine previously. The company I fly for does not have a specific policy ion place in regards to aspatamine.

Both the Air Force's magazine Flying Safety and the Navy's magazine, Navy Physiology published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumlative deliterious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo. Twenty articles sounding warnings about ingesting aspartame while flying have also appeared in the National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), Aviation Medical Bulletin (1988), The Aviation Consumer (1988), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), Pacific Flyer (1988), General Aviation News (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), and Plane and Pilot (1990) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986).

Recently, a hotline was set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame.(21)


PPrune - Professional Pilots Rumour Network

Aspartame in the cockpit: Safety issue?

Mach Trim said: Jan 2000, from Europe

Does anyone have more info or facts on EEG spikes blackouts in the cockpit ?
I am interested in learning more...

In a letter to the editor and in one article published in the United States Air Force AirMen's News, it was noted that aspartame ingestion causes elevated spiking on the EEG, resulting in grand mal seizures and blackout episodes in the cockpit. Dozens have lost their jobs due to aspartame-related medical problems."

Enough said. Many of my business colleagues consume huge amounts of Diet Coke, despite this...

reply: from aviate1138, Jan 2003, Surrey Hills

Some years ago I started getting weird random flashes of light around the edge of my sight. Very noticeable at night, disturbing, enough to seek help. One thing that was noted was my asparteme uptake. I stopped consuming anything with asparteme on the label. Almost immediately [within a week] the flashing circles of light ceased and have never returned. Maybe a coincidence but I am really glad it stopped!

reply from JW411, Oct 2001, UK

aviate 1138:

Had the same phenomena 25 years ago. Flying doctor diagnosed dehydration. Don't drink coffee etc on longhaul flights and stick to water or the nearest thing to it.

Never ever had another problem.

reply from Wiley, June 2001

Had (still have, fortunately) a mate who lost his flying licence at 50 after a grand mal attack whilst airborne. It may have been a coincidence, but he drank a lot of diet coke....

repLy from NAROBS, Feb 2008, London

Some years ago I started getting weird random flashes of light around the edge of my sight. Very noticeable at night, disturbing, enough to seek help. One thing that was noted was my asparteme uptake. I stopped consuming anything with asparteme on the label. Almost immediately [within a week] the flashing circles of light ceased and have never returned. Maybe a coincidence but I am really glad it stopped!

An allergic reaction ?




reply from torquewrench, Sep 2007, CA, USA

...But I stay away from aspartame.

Before having had occasion to read up on things like the Cohen study, I had a spell of involuntary hand tremor and migraine headaches. It baffled my internist, who ordered a bunch of inconclusive studies. I had never connected it to aspartame, though a previous occupant of my desk had left behind in a drawer a box of aspartame sachets of which I had been availing myself several times per week. That would have been my only route of exposure: I don't drink cola products nor do I consume sweetened packaged foods.

That box ran out and, thinking that one artificial sweetener was as good or as bad as another, I replaced it with a saccharine sweetener product. Within three weeks, my hands were steady again and I have not had a migraine since.

By the way, the Snopes link quotes someone who quotes Russell Blaylock. For those who actually prefer to dig into the science, both pro and con, behind any controversial question, one could do worse than to read Dr. Blaylock on the aspartame issue.

from torquewrench

...A friend of mine had his medical pulled after failing vision checks. As well they should have done: closer examination revealed that his eyesight was messed up because of the previously undetected strawberry-sized astrocytoma which was pressing on his optic nerve!

I worked with this gentleman in a ground-based capacity for many years before his diagnosis, and I rarely if ever saw him without a can of aspartame diet soda at his elbow.

Perhaps he would have developed the tumor without the diet drinks.

Perhaps there is a causal link.

What is called for is more and better science. Preferably not science conducted at the behest of regulatory agencies which are already far too closely in thrall to the firms which they are meant to objectively oversee.

reply from blackbird71, Jan 2004, US

that stuff is bad sh..te, was having a lot of headaches few years ago till i read about aspartame and then found out the chewing gum i enjoyed so much during was full of it!
as soon as i quit the gum, the headaches went away.
read the fine print boys n girls.

all the best

reply from airfoilmod, 6th April 2008, guest

Why shouldn't Pilots be concerned about their Health. I had "light circles" and was diagnosed with Ocular Migraines. My Doctor (non-FAA) ordered me off Aspartame, AND cigarettes. Unfortunately for me, I smoked for too long, and ended up with a Heart glitch that cost me my Medical. Live and Learn. I hope your friend survived the Astrocytoma, Aspartame or no, I hope he's OK.

reply from Tigs2, Jan 2003, England

This is a 100% first hand story' I was at a dinner party with some friends and guests. One of our friends had been wheel chair bound for about 6 months, with increasing mobility difficulties. Diagnosed with MS some time earlier i think(though not sure of the diagnosis - ie no bull shit here)., She had been a perfectly healthy beautiful lady, now still Beautiful but in a wheel chair.

One of the 'guests' was a consultant surgeon from London. He was talking to her for some time. I went up and asked her did she want another drink. I thought a can of stella for me, a can of stella for the doc, and I said the 'normal' she said yes. a diet coke. I brought the drinks back. The surgeon said to her 'how many do you drink a day if you don't mind me asking'? She replied 'i don't know, it could be five or six cans a day, maybe a two litre bottle, more since she got ill'

The doc said , under no circumstances drink that can, have some water, or tea no sugar. He then explained why. It was a thought, not a proved theory that aspartame was the issue. He asked her to please please not drink this stuff for 2 months. She said ok she would do it. No word of a lie, 6 weeks later she was out of the wheel chair and walking. 2 years later, this friend who we all thought (including her) had a fatal degenerative disease is now a normal healthy, jogs 10 miles a week mature houswife.

I am no doc. There are many bad diseases out there that come over as MS or arthritis etc. If you have these symptoms, do NOT take diet coke (or ANY diet drink), sweetex etc, anything with aspertame in. Do NOT allow your children under any circumstances to have Aspertame in any drink or food stuff.

Just by perchance because of a meeting and a bit of reading in the medical journals, our 'guest' saved this womans life. It is not truley understood yet, but it is very bad stuff. Do not take it! Heroin addicts die quicker, which may be a blessing compared to self induced symptoms resembling MS, Arthritis and Altzheimers (is that the correct spelling?, I can't remember )

True story, first hand, take it or leave it.


Ed. Note: Aspartame is forbidden to US military aircrews in cockpit and 8 hours before flight:

Both the Air Force's magazine, Flying Safety, and the Navy's magazine, Navy Physiology, published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative delirious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo.
A hotline was even set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame. Makes you wonder when the NTSB claims pilot error as the cause of those crashes.

Mary Nash Stoddard
[Founder ACSN & Pilot Hotline]


Ches Power over at Magnesium and Health has an excellent four part series

Part One - Flight Safety – flying on Aspartame - HERE

Part Two - Flight Safety – Pilot Error? - HERE

Part Three - Aircraft Accidents of 2015 - HERE

Epilogue - Flight Safety – Epilogue - HERE

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Danger, Will Robinson!

My name is Avalina Kreska; I'm an author based in the Shetland Islands. My family and I suffered first-hand from consuming Aspartame an...