Go Pills Fighter Pilots Secret Weapon
How Do Fighter Pilots Battle Fatigue?
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I always thought fighter pilots were highly trained, and that’s why they can do superhuman things.
I was half right, fighter pilots are highly trained, but the superhuman stuff has some chemical help.
In the old days, elite soldiers, fighter pilots, etc, turned to amphetamines to fight fatigue.
But the side effects were so harmful that the Military had to find an alternative.
“Go find something that works the same, but without these dreadful side effects, was the order to the researchers.”
What did the researchers find?
Go Pills or hat we know today is Modafinil.
After Modafinil was given the go-ahead, researchers were intrigued by this attractive new stimulant’s potential.
While amphetamines had been used safely for nearly half a century to sharpen up pilots and prevent fatigue.
There remained the nagging potential for abuse and addiction, as well as bouts of post-dose sleeplessness.
In comparison, the results of studies with Modafinil were eye-popping:
- Modafinil enables intense and prolonged alertness without becoming addictive,
- It’s a non-stimulant and so does not interfere with sleep patterns,
- And, amazingly, it doesn’t yield tolerance.
- Modafinil is a unicorn.
The Air Force tested this new wonder drug with helicopter pilots, fighter pilots, and bomber pilots and found no apparent downsides, even after long-term use.
As a result, the Air Force began administering Modafinil to fighter pilots during the 2003 Iraq war.
How Much Does Modafinil Cost?
Prices are in US dollars, and we’ve used 100 tablets of Modalert 200mg as the benchmark.
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- Coupon discount applied,
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- Buymoda 100 tablets = $169.00,
- ModafinilXL 100 tablets = $169.00,
- Mod.AF 100 tablets = $179.00.
When ordering from High Street Pharma, use the coupon code, welcomeback, to receive the discount.
Alertness Is Everything.
It’s not out of the ordinary for fighter pilots to sit tight in a cockpit for 12 hours at a time, traversing time zones.
At the same time, the civilian world takes turns to sleep.
The feat requires not only endurance but also razor-sharp focus.
Maintaining such unflinching vigilance means fighter pilots need to hit the sack between trips. It’s a tricky balancing act: alternating alertness and shuteye, but they don’t have a choice.
So, flyboys keep fatigued in their crosshairs through a strict diet and sleep schedule.
Since the dawn of dogfighting, flyboys have been prescribed uppers, downers, and everything in between.
Speed, Meth, and new-age smart pills have all made their way into pilots’ hands.
Uncle Sam handed them the substances for free.
As the demands on pilots only continue to increase, the search for ever-more-powerful additives continues.
The Need for Speed
Here’s a look at how aviators have learned to stay sharp since World War II under the most extreme circumstances.
Though it had been synthesized in 1887, amphetamine, or speed, first hit the market in 1932 in the form of a decongestant inhaler called Benzedrene.
Besides helping asthmatics breathe better, it also had notable stimulant effects, which is why amphetamine ‘energy pills’ became attractive to soldiers and pilots of both the Axis and Allies during WWII.
Flyboys could pop a pill and suddenly be able to cruise unhindered for another four, six, or eight hours.
Notably, the frenzy and fearlessness of Japanese Kamikaze pilots have since been attributed to their being utterly cranked on speed.
Researchers eventually picked up on the notion that amphetamines, which weren’t initially considered to be addictive.
We’re creating severe health problems, a somewhat severe issue since U.S. and British forces consumed some 150 million speed pills during WWII.
For instance, at one U.S. military prison in 1945, a quarter of the population was found to be strung out, agitated and hallucinating, due to a habit of eating the amphetamine strips from Benzedrine inhalers (which were five times the usual dose).
Following WWII, the U.S. began testing the effects of the speed American troops were consuming and found wait for it that not only did sleep-deprived volunteers exhibit faster reaction time and better hand-eye coordination, but they also showed a complete restoration of standard functionality. Win-win!
Thus, by 1960 the U.S. Strategic Air Command had officially approved the use of amphetamine-based pep pills for pilots.
Go Pills were so common they became part of pilots’ flight kits during the Vietnam War.
Uppers to Downers
Anyone who has had one too many cups of coffee, or has gotten hopped up on cold pills, knows the difficulty of coming down at the end of the day and achieving quality shuteye.
Add to that equation night-time flights, a change in diet, cross-continental travel, and combat-fueled adrenaline, and the results are troubling.
To a pilot, whose entire livelihood is based on an ability to perform with perfection, enough high-quality rest is not just crucial but essential; the timing of flights and Go Pill intake is all part of the calculus.
The last decade has seen the introduction of hypnotics sleeping pills like Ambien and Restoril to the pilot’s arsenal.
They’re uncreatively dubbed No-Go Pills as a means to counter overstimulation, yes, but also as a way of forcing adherence to sleep regulations in the face of shifting schedules and locales.
A Time magazine report estimated that as far back as 2007, some 10,000 soldiers stationed overseas were authorized to take sleeping pills.
An About Face
The routine use of Dexedrine during long-haul and combat missions continued unabated for three decades until 1991.
When General Merrill McPeak, a particularly anti-drug Air Force Chief of Staff, banned Go-Pills and other in-flight medications after the first Persian Gulf War.
McPeak, a pilot himself, railed against the use of any drugs, saying he’d flown without them and that they posed an unnecessary health risk.
Despite the moral nature of McPeak’s move, it was an unpopular decision, both among pilots and researchers, who pointed out that Go-Pills had an extended and overwhelmingly safe history and were a fail-safe against deadly fatigue.
However, the realities of modern warfare, such as night sorties by fighters and bombers, who routinely spent 30 hours or more in the cockpit, proved to be more convincing.
And so the Air Force quietly reinstated the use of Dexedrine as a Go-Pill for pilots in 1996, though with strict guidelines that limited the frequency of use and quantity dispensed.
(Dexedrine is the same drug like Adderall.)
The Future of Fighter Pilot Sleep.
The use of drugs, especially for off-label use, has naturally caused some headaches for the Air Force, literally and figuratively.
There have been periodic media flare-ups, especially after a tragic incident in 2002 when a Go-Pilled US aircrew mistakenly bombed Canadian friendlies.
But there’s no doubting the scientific justification behind their use, especially when today’s Air Force pilots scorch the sky for ever-increasing flight times in insanely complex $50-million rental vehicles.
Consider a 2004 study by the Air Force in which F-117 fighter pilots were subjected to flight testing for up to 37 continuous hours while taking regular doses of Modafinil, with no ill effects.
Reference & Recommended Reading