Medicine: Aircraft and Alcohol

Ever since World War I, the tales of fighting pilots' half-drunkenness in action have been proverbial. In April 1918, Captain A. Roy Brown shot down famed German Ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen. Said he, later describing his victory: "Milk and brandy were my only food [for two weeks]."

Last fortnight the Lancet confidently asserted that British nerves were now strong enough and British planes good enough to make drink unnecessary. "During the war of 1914-1918," said the editor, "heavy drinking became almost a convention among flying men, and this convention...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!