View Full Version : LHR Inebriated DL Pilot Sentenced to Six Months


Airbubba
25th Jan 2011, 16:05
Drunk pilot didn't know where he was meant to be flying his plane

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 9:00 AM on 24th January 2011

A pilot who turned up so drunk at Heathrow that he didn’t know where he was supposed to fly his transatlantic passenger plane has been jailed for six months...

Drunk pilot who didn't know where he was flying to jailed for 6 months | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349952/Drunk-pilot-George-La-Perle-didnt-know-flying-jailed-6-months.html#ixzz1C3ym2Nvh)

Similar cases of U.S. pilots arrested at UK airports have usually resulted in acquittal or suspended sentences as I recall.



BRE
25th Jan 2011, 17:39
His blood alcohol was 0.089 %, i.e. slightly above what used to be the legal limit for driving in Germany (it now is 0.05). On top of that, he was found to be an alcoholic. Amazing that he could not recall his destination at that level.

SmilingKnifed
25th Jan 2011, 17:42
A shame. I hope the guy's given support to beat his illness and turn his life around when he gets out. I doubt he could return to flying due to the conviction (I'd be pleasantly surprised if this weren't the case).

J.O.
25th Jan 2011, 17:53
Before another lengthy thread gets started, I'd advise reading this one from the past. Pay particular attention to the postings of LProuse, starting on the third page.

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/256861-pilot-jailed-alcoholism-pilots.html

Airbubba
25th Jan 2011, 18:59
A U.S. pilot showing up at the airport in the UK with alcohol on his or her breath is certainly nothing new but the six month sentence seems to mark a change in fortune for the accused.

See:

American pilot who drank whiskey in his sleep is cleared - Times Online (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1550909.ece)

Drunk United Airlines pilot avoids jail sentence - NYPOST.com (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/drunk_pilot_avoids_jail_sentence_bh98Vl7zILRc2wCWFBFQKM)

Heathrow pilot was caught drunk at 9am about to fly to America | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1163609/Heathrow-pilot-caught-drunk-9am-fly-America-spared-jail.html)

aterpster
25th Jan 2011, 19:54
SmilingKnifed:

A shame. I hope the guy's given support to beat his illness and turn his life around when he gets out. I doubt he could return to flying due to the conviction (I'd be pleasantly surprised if this weren't the case).

Showing up for the flight in that condition is the end of his career far more than the conviction.

flash8
25th Jan 2011, 19:58
This guy needed helped not incarceration. Again our loopy laws are exposed for the complete joke they are.

And how exactly is this punishment supposed to a) Deter? and b) Rehabilitate?

My sympathies are with him and his family. I am not condoning his behaviour but believe this could have been dealt with in a way that didn't destroy his life whilst acting as a deterrent - a hefty fine, suspended sentence and an order to undertake rehabilitation come to mind.

Intruder
25th Jan 2011, 20:07
a) The jail time will be MUCH more of a "wakeup call" than a fine. First, he will be forced to stop drinking for at least 6 months, where with a fine he could (and likely would) continue to drink. Second...

b) There is a very high probability (depending on the jail, of course) that at least the beginnings of rehab, in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous, are READILY available to him. Also, there will be few distractions that might serve to keep him away from the meetings. After he gets out, he can seek formal inpatient or outpatient treatment if he seriously wants to stop drinking.

He "destroyed" his own life, and came VERY close to a situation where he could have destroyed many more. As aterpster noted, his airline career is over already. Maybe he'll decide to work to rebuild the rest of his life.

Cacophonix
25th Jan 2011, 20:18
There is a very high probability (depending on the jail, of course) that at least the beginnings of rehab, in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous, are READILY available to him. Also, there will be few distractions that might serve to keep him away from the meetings. After he gets out, he can seek formal inpatient or outpatient treatment if he seriously wants to stop drinking.

Jail is the last place to beat any addiction. If only your rose tinted view was correct.

Offchocks
25th Jan 2011, 20:18
I can't understand how the Captain and the other FO did not detect the alcohol on this fellow's breath whilst checking out of the hotel and sharing crew transport. They would have spent longer in his presence than the security personnel.

J.O.
25th Jan 2011, 21:13
Alcoholism is an addiction and deserves a great deal of help and assistance.

Not quite. It is a type of addictive disease. A disease is not something that can be turned on or off. You might as well say, "I understand you have cancer, but don't you dare bring it to work with you".

Showing up for work intoxicated cannot be tolerated but any approach that ignores the medical facts of addictive disease is an approach that only treats the "convenient" symptoms.

Mike X
25th Jan 2011, 21:35
L. Prouse is correct.

Alcoholism is symptomatic as are so many addictions not frowned upon (coffee, chocolate, McOops as long as you don't get FAT).

We're all governed by psychology and use, according to influences at different stages of early life, different methods to ameliorate that which we are unaware of, lurking in our psyche.

Whichever way you want to look at it, everyone is addicted to something. A matter of degree ? Many have no clue of their addiction as it is not frowned upon by society.

Women need how many pairs of shoes ?

aterpster
25th Jan 2011, 21:51
J.O.:

Not quite. It is a type of addictive disease. A disease is not something that can be turned on or off. You might as well say, "I understand you have cancer, but don't you dare bring it to work with you".

Most, if not all, U.S. carriers have an intervention and treatment program, which is approved by the FAA. DAL is certainly a participant.

But, it requires that the alcoholic pilot either turn himself in off duty, or friends or family trigger an intervention. My experience as a union rep was that it was almost always an intervention that worked (well, worked at least to get the pilot into in-patient care paid for by the company).

When those two opportunities are missed and it goes to an on-duty situation, it's all over but the shouting.

SmilingKnifed
25th Jan 2011, 22:12
aterpster, it would seem not. I for one would be glad if it wasn't.

Having read LProse's account in the link J.O kindly provided, it seems there can be redemption. It'll be a difficult road, but I can only wish this individual every success.

Phileas Fogg
25th Jan 2011, 22:34
A lot of sympathy being shown towards an individual who, knowingly, went to his work fully aware that he was endangering all around him.

Would such sympathy be shown towards him were he tea total yet he had an addiction, a disease, towards nicotine?

Just making a point!

PhilW1981
25th Jan 2011, 22:49
As an outside observer I'm curious, what would have been the disciplinary implications for the fella had he called the airline and said "I'm really sorry, had a few too many last night and I believe I'm ok but over the limit to fly so I can't come to work"?

Mike X
25th Jan 2011, 22:52
Hi Fogg

Maybe I was unclear.

The effect of the addictive substance is what counts.

Best.

Mike

p.s. My support rests with this pilot wholeheartedly.

Sciolistes
25th Jan 2011, 23:25
A lot of sympathy being shown towards an individual who, knowingly, went to his work fully aware that he was endangering all around him.
Does anybody have any data on the relative risk of such levels of alcohol compared to flying significantly but not unusually fatigued?

SandyYoung
25th Jan 2011, 23:49
I'm sorry, but I profoundly disagree with some of what's been posted here.

This pilot has not been jailed because he is an alcoholic but because he was a danger to the passengers who should have been able to trust him. A pilot who doesn't know where he is flying to hardly inspires confidence.

And if we assume there are other pilots who may be tempted to drink before flying - whether alcoholic or plain stupid - this sentence may make them think twice. If so, a serious accident may have been avoided.

Think of it the other way round. If you are tempted to drink and fly the knowledge that, if caught, you will get off with a counseling session is hardly a serious consideration. Losing your liberty most certainly is.

aterpster
26th Jan 2011, 00:06
SmilingKnifed:

aterpster, it would seem not. I for one would be glad if it wasn't.

Having read LProse's account in the link J.O kindly provided, it seems there can be redemption. It'll be a difficult road, but I can only wish this individual every success.

Captain Prose was the singular exception that proved the rule. He was well liked and had friends in high places. Also, he had the determination to work his butt off to work back up from a private certificate on through to his ATP. And, all certificate revocations in the U.S. are afforded that opportunity to re-earn their certificates and ratings; usually after a one year wait. But, they also have the difficult issue of getting their medical certificate back in view of their alcoholism. Plus, with the exception of Captain Prose, their airline job is long gone.

Airbubba
26th Jan 2011, 02:48
Plus, with the exception of Captain Prose, their airline job is long gone.

Not necessarily in my observation. In fact, the FE on Captain Prouse's infamous 1990 flight is sober and now flies for American Airlines.

His book about his journey is available on Amazon:

Amazon.com: FLYING DRUNK: The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight, Three Drunk Pilots, and One Man's Fight for Redemption (9781932714715): Joseph Balzer: Books (http://www.amazon.com/FLYING-DRUNK-Northwest-Airlines-Redemption/dp/1932714715/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1296007489&sr=8-2)

Also, I know of a few other individuals who have quietly had their careers salvaged through a HIMS program:

HIMS - A Substance Abuse Treatment Program For Commercial Pilots (http://www.himsprogram.com/HIMS_about.html)

Captain Prouse and the other crew members did hard time in prison for the NWA Fargo incident over 20 years ago. A contemporary news magazine article about the trial may be found here:

Flying Too High in the Sky? - TIME (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,970982,00.html)

Have airline pilots other than the one in today's news been sentenced to actual jail time for alcohol in the UK in recent memory?

J.O.
26th Jan 2011, 03:07
You'd be surprised at how many forward thinking airlines have programs that are quite successful in helping pilots to get sober and back to flying the line. But the first step is for the pilot to agree to enter the program and to stay there until the doctor releases them back to flying. Typically, if a pilot shows up for duty under the influence, it is much more difficult for them to be accepted in the program. The public damage to both the pilot's and his employer's reputation is very difficult to repair. As was said above, self identification or an intervention from colleagues, friends or family is the best way to get someone into a program.

Anyone who thinks that incarceration is a wake up call, never mind a path to sobriety, is sadly misinformed. Addicts are far more likely to be just as addicted after they get out as when they went in, and in many cases, they become addicted to even worse things than alcohol when they're incarcerated. The only exception would be an incarceration program that includes addiction therapy, but those are few and far between.

MagnusP
26th Jan 2011, 08:18
It's absolutely correct that this man should not have been flying while inebriated. However, what surprises me is the apparent incapacitation of an individual whose reported blood alcohol level wasn't significantly higher than that considered legal while driving. As a (presumably non-recovering) alcoholic, his system should have had a fair level of alcohol tolerance and, while unfit to fly, I'd have thought most symptoms would be well-masked. Inability to name destination? There's something else going on here.

renard
26th Jan 2011, 11:24
Airbubba,

He isn't the first to be jailed in UK.

Try this link.

Airline pilot jailed for being twice legal limit as he prepared to fly 200 passengers to Canary Islands | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1165451/Airline-pilot-jailed-twice-legal-limit-prepared-fly-200-passengers-Canary-Islands.html)

6 months in jail.

There may be others.

Denti
26th Jan 2011, 12:19
Inability to name destination? There's something else going on here.

Dunno, i never know about the destination i'm flying to until i read the destination section in the NOTAM package or the flightplan, whatever comes first. I just know how many uniform shirts i have to put into my suitcase, that is usually enough.

411A
26th Jan 2011, 13:44
Dunno, i never know about the destination i'm flying to until i read the destination section in the NOTAM package or the flightplan, whatever comes first. I just know how many uniform shirts i have to put into my suitcase, that is usually enough.
Yes, especially with rotating schedules, this can certainly be the case...or, if called out on standby.

Lord Spandex Masher
26th Jan 2011, 13:46
Or if it's early and you haven't had enough caffiene yet.

"Where are you off to today?"
"Can't remember, where's the coffee machine?"

And I'm teetotal.

Airbubba
26th Jan 2011, 17:49
He isn't the first to be jailed in UK.

Try this link.

Thanks, it looks like six months is a common sentence in the UK for this offense, sometimes it is suspended, sometimes not.

In fact, the FE on Captain Prouse's infamous 1990 flight is sober and now flies for American Airlines.

His book about his journey is available on Amazon:

I now see that Captain Prouse takes extreme exception to AA FO Balzer's account of events in his book:

Amazon.com: Profile For Lyle Prouse: Reviews (http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A15LCTZFL288NZ/ref=cm_cr_pr_auth_rev?)

Captain Prouse has been kind enough to communicate privately with me in the past concerning details of his own journey and I appreciate it.

PJ2
26th Jan 2011, 18:13
J.O.;

Many thanks for providing the link to Captain Prouse's posts.

There are a few who have been there, but, I see, many more who prefer to judge others rather than comprehend or learn. Captain Prouse's posts are instructive for those with eyes.

You are correct: punishment (incarceration, loss of job, home, family, friends) doesn't cure addiction - it just makes those who make academic judgements more self-righteous.

Only those who don't know first-hand the path that Captain Prouse and many like him have travelled, permit themselves the luxury of judging others.

There are many addictions. For those who judge alcoholic addiction and behaviour, your comment, " 'I understand you have cancer, but don't you dare bring it to work with you'. ", describes this attitude and is spot on.

Those who haven't had to deal with the serious problems of alcoholic addiction can, ironically, be thankful that they don't understand.

But they should have the grace to remain silent while others who must deal with addiction tell their story. You never know.

PJ2

Heliport
26th Jan 2011, 18:23
Airbubba Have airline pilots other than the one in today's news been sentenced to actual jail time for alcohol in the UK in recent memory?
Memory failing? ;)
You're always an active participant in 'pilots and alcohol' threads, and have started some of them.
Finnair pilot, Manchester, Dec 2004: 6 months
Royal Brunei pilot, Isleworth (LHR), Dec 2004: 6 months
Emirates pilot, Isleworth (LHR), Dec 2006: 4 months
Thomson pilot, Coventry (Birmingham airport) Mar 2009: 6 months

There have also been
- some suspended sentences
- some pilots arrested on suspicion but who turned out not to be over the limit
The total of all the above is very small. The overwhelming majority of pilots behave responsibly and in accordance with the law.

There have also been some pilots who were prosecuted for being over the limit and turned out not to be guilty of the alleged wrongdoing.


Sandy Young If you are tempted to drink and fly the knowledge that, if caught, you will get off with a counseling session is hardly a serious consideration.I know you have no connection with the aviation industry so you probably don't realise the knowledge that, if caught, you'll lose your job, probably be unemployed for a long time and may never fly again is a very serious consideration.

Airbubba
26th Jan 2011, 19:33
Memory failing?

It sure is!:ok:

Thanks for the list. The Americans somehow seemed to always avoid jail time in the UK prior to this incident.

chrisbl
26th Jan 2011, 20:33
Little sympathy really, life is about making choices and we have to take responsibility for the choices we make.

Two other issues, what were his colleagues thinking? Either they knew the state he was in and were prepared to cover up for him which in my mind is just as bad or they were oblivious to something that even our half baked airport security personnel spotted.

The other issue is about the passengers, the onces who put their care in his professional hands. They assume the pilot is fit to fly and rely on him to be honest with himself.

6 months prison which will, probably only be three months time served in the end will be a deterrent all round.

J.O.
26th Jan 2011, 21:10
Little sympathy really, life is about making choices and we have to take responsibility for the choices we make.

I really shouldn't bother, but it's uninformed drivel like this that makes my skin crawl.

It's a commonly held (and incorrect) belief that addiction is a character flaw. It is a medically proven fact that addiction is a disease of the brain. There is no "choice" made to become addicted. Many people can have a snoot full of pints on a Friday night and other than the headache the next morning, be none the worse for wear. For those with an addictive brain, one drink, or one hit of cocaine, or one bet at the craps table, can be enough to set off the addiction. The reasons for some people being more susceptible are not fully known, but in many cases, heredity is involved. Those whose mothers were heavy users of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy (fetal alcohol syndrome) are also more prone to addiction.

Showing up for work under the influence was wrong. Full stop. But that doesn't mean that we can't look beyond society's misplaced need for retribution to look at the whole human involved.

In other words, do some reading, such as the writings of Lyle Prouse that I provided a link to on the first page of this thread. Just maybe you will be enlightened.

PJ2
26th Jan 2011, 21:42
J.O.;

The views expressed were so far into dream-land that I actually deleted my response to chrisbl. Glad you took a moment to respond to such blind ignorance and an "every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost" view of one's fellow men. Not much experience or living behind those comments and not much practised thought for others.

mary meagher
26th Jan 2011, 22:21
Alcohol is woven throughout the fabric of life in the UK, probably the US as well; prohibition is notoriously ineffective.

The drunk who ends up in jail (gaol if you prefer) in the UK is not necessarily free from the temptations of alcohol, as in a recent open prison riot which was set off when the three wardens present on New Years Eve wanted to breathalyse some of the inmates.... It is unlikely that a short term prisoner will benefit from treatment.

The alcoholic serving time in a UK prison is more likely to be approached by adherents of a religion that entirely disapproves of alcohol in any form...as happened to a certain Richard Reid.

Intruder
26th Jan 2011, 23:42
Jail is the last place to beat any addiction. If only your rose tinted view was correct.
Where did I say that he would beat the addiction in jail? Did you not read the part where I mentioned inpatient or outpatient rehab AFTER jail?

MichaelOLearyGenius
27th Jan 2011, 03:28
Just out of curiosity, imagine the scenario of a pilot in uniform jumpseating to his destination for a flight the next day and, partaken in a light libation and was stopped by security for smelling of alcohol.

I guess it would be against company policy and authority rules but technically he was off duty.

Any ideas??

condorbaaz
27th Jan 2011, 05:42
Jump Seat is technically Additional Crew Member.

Hence all duty rules apply insofar as the company and regulator is concerned.

411A
27th Jan 2011, 05:56
Jump Seat is technically Additional Crew Member.
Hence all duty rules apply insofar as the company and regulator is concerned.
Yup.
One asian airline years ago got around this slight problem by insisting that crew positioning travel with a FOC ticket and in civvies...and always in first class.
Our adult beverage glasses never got less than half full.
Grub was pretty good, too.

And then...there was FD crew reverse thrust, just after landing.:ok:

YorkshireTyke
27th Jan 2011, 08:27
.....Not quite. It is a type of addictive disease.........

No way.

I accept that it becomes an addiction, but it is a self inflicted injury, you don't 'catch it', like flu'.

Babies aren't born alcoholics.

J.O.
27th Jan 2011, 13:13
No way.

I accept that it becomes an addiction, but it is a self inflicted injury, you don't 'catch it', like flu'.

Babies aren't born alcoholics.

Being ignorant of the medical science of addiction doesn't make you right. Just ignorant.

Airbubba
27th Jan 2011, 16:41
Just out of curiosity, imagine the scenario of a pilot in uniform jumpseating to his destination for a flight the next day and, partaken in a light libation and was stopped by security for smelling of alcohol.

Most U.S. airline FOM's explicitly forbid drinking alcohol or even being in a bar while in uniform. Some international pax lounges will not let you enter in uniform even if you are on a ticket and from another carrier.

However, most U.S. carriers still have legacy language that states if you remove your wings and epaulets, you are no longer in uniform for the provisions of the alcohol restrictions.

As far as jumpseating and drinking alcohol, a few years ago places like United and Northwest would allow you to drink as long as you didn't return to the cockpit for eight hours. Not sure I would try this these days.

And, being stopped by security in uniform when you might be legal to have alcohol on your breath, I wouldn't recommend it.

As FedEx Chief Pilot Jack Lewis put it in a memo a few years ago:

...We have another Captain crew member who showed up drunk in the crew lounge recently after deadheading in for a trip. He wasn't checking in for 7 hours and was only transiting the crew lounge, getting his Jepps to prepare to fly later. Security nabbed him and we are all wear the label. Dumb move.

Dan Dare
27th Jan 2011, 16:52
Drink drivers are usually regarded as little less than potential murderers and rightly treated as such.

Every driver is a potential killer. Driver A with alcohol inside is likely to be less safe than without, but could be far safer than driver B will ever be sober. And what about driver C who has been up all night or driver D, who is driven to distraction wondering about how to pay off the mortgage and PTF rather than concentrating on the traffic or driver E who has never learned to drive in this country, but tries to muddle through our particular rules. Each of these could kill someone. Each could be mittigated against, but hypocritical society sees fit to condemn certain transgressions more than others. Driver A, who has never had an accident crucifeid if caught. Driver B is incompetent and always will be, but will never be stopped from driving no matter how many caused accidents. Driver C sleeps their way in to an accident, kills someone but society still expects them work though the night. There are ever more driver Ds etc.

Now apply to aviation.

Phantom Driver
27th Jan 2011, 19:32
One asian airline years ago got around this slight problem by insisting that crew positioning travel with a FOC ticket and in civvies...and always in first class.
Our adult beverage glasses never got less than half full.
Grub was pretty good, too.


Not much has changed :ok:

foxcharliep2
27th Jan 2011, 19:50
Most U.S. airline FOM's explicitly forbid drinking alcohol or even being in a bar while in uniform. Some international pax lounges will not let you enter in uniform even if you are on a ticket and from another carrier.


Same in Central Europe, even dead-heading, whatever.

Funniest thing I remember is what happened to a good friend, a naval aviator and then Defence Attache with a Central European nation to a northern African state.

He was travelling business class on duty in his finest uniform ... and was refused entry to the lounge as they confused/mistook him for a dead heading company crewmember. All his protests were futile.

Only later did the airline apologize after the embassy/foreign service concerned wrote a complaint and threatened to make it public.

SandyYoung
27th Jan 2011, 20:10
I know you have no connection with the aviation industry so you probably don't realise the knowledge that, if caught, you'll lose your job, probably be unemployed for a long time and may never fly again is a very serious consideration.

Yes, I am aware that pilots may never work again if found to be over the limit and I'm sure the vast majority of pilots have no wish to endanger themselves or their passengers.

I was trying to make two points - firstly, this sentence is not because the pilot has an alcohol problem but because he was intending to fly a plane whilst over the limit; and secondly, the knowledge that you may lose your liberty has a strong effect on most people, especially respectable professionals who would never dream of being incarcerated with 'normal' criminals.

Perhaps what has happened to this pilot will encourage others with a problem to seek help before being caught - or worse.

It's correct I have no connection with the airline industry but many years ago I served in the Met Police where the devastation caused by drivers over the limit, some not by much, I well remember. There are few winners in an accident. On a personal level I do have some sympathy for this pilot.

YorkshireTyke
27th Jan 2011, 20:21
Being ignorant of the medical science of addiction doesn't make you right. Just ignorant

Tough - I can live with it.

( There's always someone ready to defend the alcoholic !)

I'm reminded of a colleague who once remarked that medical science changes its' opinion about every 5 years, and when it's finally decided that lying on the couch, drinking beer and eating crisps as one watches TV was the secret to longevity - he was way ahead !

Me - I'm back to eating bacon and eggs ( but I do cut off the fat !) and chocolate - not at the same time of course - and coffee, and red wine.

Moderation in all things, including alcohol - alcoholism is a self inflicted injury which gets out of hand.

No contest. ( bigotted ? Moi ? )

blind pew
27th Jan 2011, 20:55
Personally I don't agree with the prison sentence but always remember about the japanese 747 freighter out of ANC which rolled upside down and went in.

The skipper was virtually carried up the stairs by the cab driver and engineer.
After that the company introduced compulsory alcohol testing.

I thought it was a shame it wasn't introduced worldwide as I flew with several guys who should have been grounded and put through a program.

My last employer paid for a six month residential rehab program and then employed the guys on the ground for another 18 months before reassessing them.
Most came back to flying.

Jailing them is a cruel waste of time (and money).

stepwilk
27th Jan 2011, 23:57
"Babies aren't born alcoholics."

The genetic, hereditary component of alcoholism is quite well-known. Except, apparently, by you.

J.O.
28th Jan 2011, 00:52
bigotted ? Moi ?

Well if your first one didn't, your second post in this thread has answered that question quite clearly. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

YorkshireTyke
28th Jan 2011, 05:02
.........There are none so blind as those who will not see..........

I'm glad you said 'will not' and not 'cannot'. Spot on.

I've absolutely no interest in alcoholics or their problems, Life's too short, and my contact with some confirm that - and my opinion.

If you've lived with one you are entitled to your opinion, too.

I'm comfortable with that.

Tough.

Fin.

SR71
28th Jan 2011, 13:10
Even with a medical acknowledgement of a hereditary component to some addictions, we all know that genes cannot be exclusively responsible. The test for that is obvious.

But I'm curious...

Lets suppose that the inebriated pilot in question actually piled into the dirt and killed 400 people but, miraculously, survived himself.

Are those defending the pilot who was drunk but didn't crash, still in favour of suggesting a jail sentence is unwarranted/useless...because its an addiction?

So should the sentence depend on whether or not you actually have an incident/accident at work whilst you're inebriated?

The needs of one, outweigh the justice entitled to 400?

The reactions to the issue are polarised in this thread but anyone who has actually lived with an alcoholic year in year out will know that you experience a whole spectrum of emotions whilst struggling to live your life side by side with them. They range from disgust to empathy and back....sometimes all within hours of each other...

As a general observation on our society today, my own sentiment is there is too little discussion of our general responsibilities towards our fellow citizens.

J.O.
28th Jan 2011, 16:51
Lets suppose that the inebriated pilot in question actually piled into the dirt and killed 400 people but, miraculously, survived himself.

Are those defending the pilot who was drunk but didn't crash, still in favour of suggesting a jail sentence is unwarranted/useless...because its an addiction?

So should the sentence depend on whether or not you actually have an incident/accident at work whilst you're inebriated?

The needs of one, outweigh the justice entitled to 400?

The law doesn't deal in hypotheticals. You can't charge someone with murder just because you catch them carrying an illegal weapon. Your hypothetical is also a stretch, IMO. There was more than one person on that crew.

A disagreement with the legal system's handling of this issue is NOT the same as defending this man's actions. Showing up for duty while under the influence is not acceptable, full stop. Anyone who would say otherwise is a fool, IMO.

The law isn't linear (or at least it shouldn't be). We are not dealing with robots, we are dealing with human beings and all that comes with that, both good and bad. Every day, judges and juries make decisions based on more than just the legal language. The "same" crime can result in many different punishments. If I were the judge in this case, and assuming conditional sentencing was allowed, I would hand down a sentence of the maximum time allowed. That sentence would be suspended pending the successful completion of an addiction treatment program. His certificate would be suspended until he was successful in completing the treatment and his doctor passed him as medically fit. The pilot's employer and his union colleagues would have to agree to provide him with the help he needs, and the aviation authority and his aeromedical physician would have to sign off. When he was allowed to returned to work, the pilot would have to agree to random workplace screening at the authority's (or his employer's) discretion. Any further attempts to come to work under the influence and he would serve every day of the suspended jail term.

If he never succeeded in completing the treatment, his licence would remain suspended and his career would be over. That would be more than enough punishment, IMHO.

aterpster
28th Jan 2011, 19:27
J.O.

His certificate would be suspended until he was successful in completing the treatment and his doctor passed him as medically fit. The pilot's employer and his union colleagues would have to agree to provide him with the help he needs...

Because he showed up at the airport in uniform he is fired. That is a very big line he crossed, just like a drunk who gets behind the wheel of a car.

SR71
28th Jan 2011, 22:18
The law doesn't deal in hypotheticals. You can't charge someone with murder just because you catch them carrying an illegal weapon.

No but attempted murder is an indictable offence in UK law which revolves around certain matters relating to their intention.

But, it isn't the "law" that determines whether an act is morally wrong, merely, that it is unlawful.

So just because the law does not exert its strong arm over those who fly whilst they are drunk and don't get caught, nevertheless, the act of going to work (object) to fly a plane (intention) whilst drunk (circumstance) is morally bankrupt according to a classic Thomist view.

To that end, the culprit ought to experience some significant punishment.

I admire your suggestion for "justice" in the circumstances and do not necessarily disagree.

But I wonder (like aterpster perhaps?) if you'd extend the same to a drunk driver who killed your daughter?

No one is helping an alcoholic individual by ignoring or glossing over the need for them to come to terms with the consequences of their actions.

My $0.02.

fdr
29th Jan 2011, 04:06
In the context of the law, the actions of the individual are straightforward, in that they breach the provisions. The current law in this regard may have some level of hypocrisy with the availability, advertising and commercialism associated with CnH(2n+1)OH's, but they are current, and evolved from the general (at least assumed) intent to protect the public (such as DUI laws).

There is hardly any archaic holdover in these statutes, this doesn't involve stoning (no offense..) or dunking to assess whether the person is a witch... it is reasonable for a society to have provisions to protect itself.

The individual who for various reasons breaches such provisions is subject to the process and outcomes of the law, whatever that may be. That does not mean they are unable to be rehabilitated, in fact, in the case of this type, for a certain period they are arguably a lesser danger to themselves, and certainly others.

Alcoholic or otherwise, in itself that should have little bearing on the initial societal response for the perceived risky behaviour that has been identified. How the licensing state, and his employer handle the outcome is entirely up to their regulations and their social conscience in the absence of existing processes. With the overwhelming level of awareness of the potential for enforcement action to occur, it certainly would appear that the individual has an issue that is in need of corrective intervention.

Alcohol is just one of the poisons that socially are approved, to a point. Other drugs have as much or more potential for harm, and yes, there is an argument that in the case of fatigue, that the commercial and regulatory institutions are hypocritical in their actions, but thats the current state of evolution. Maybe that will change... (yeah, right, pigs will fly first...).

Drink? Please go sick, turn up, "Mens Rea.."

SR71
29th Jan 2011, 10:01
It must be lovely to stuff it up someone who got caught out.

Put into law by our betters, one of whom is already in prison for theft with more to follow.

Drilling up north stopped for the night has it?

;)

Tell me you're the only individual in the country who couldn't resist a smirk at the snouts in the trough getting their comeuppance?

The hypocrisy.

Who mentioned the guillotine?

In this country, people commit offences so they can go to jail. They get food, water, bed, light, heat, don't have to pay rent, maybe even a TV....

:E

Shell Management
29th Jan 2011, 14:24
Considering the number of lives at stake, 6 months is a pathetically weak punishment. :eek:

IMHO two years would be a more fitting tarrif for both being prepared to hazard an aircraft and for undermining public confidence.

I hope his union also expel him as a disgrace to their other members.:*

I however share the concern expressed by others that the rest of the crew don't seem to have noticed this pilots state or more worryingly may have ignored it.:ugh:

At offshore heliports one part of the security check of passengers is for the security staff to monitor passengers who may smell of alcohol or appear impaired by any substance consumption.:D

Perhaps this needs to be introduced at airport securitry checks to create a stronger deterent and enforce the UK law on this matter.

The inadequate monitoring of their crew by the airline is also of great concern. For nearly 20 years NTSB has used some very sophisticated Russian technology to detect drunk crew when analysing voice recordings, particularly the Captain of the Exxon Valdez. A proper programme of proactive cockpit voice recording monitoring (CVRM) to routinely sample CVR data and using such technology would also help deter such shocking behaviour as well as neatly complementing FDM (aka FOQA).

Flying Lawyer
30th Jan 2011, 02:14
J.O. A disagreement with the legal system's handling of this issue is NOT the same as defending this man's actions.
You are right.
For some reason, in threads of this nature, posters who suggest that imprisonment is too harsh a punishment and/or not the appropriate way to deal with a pilot found to be over the limit are invariably accused of defending the pilot's actions.

SR71 Who mentioned the guillotine?I can't remember, and can't find the post now, but I assume some of the comments posted here clearly reminded him/her of the women knitting at the foot of the guillotine while the heads rolled.In this country, people commit offences so they can go to jail. They get food, water, bed, light, heat, don't have to pay rent, maybe even a TV.... Do they?
I've heard that claim too, but all the people at risk of being sent to prison I've encountered in 36 years in the criminal courts have been very anxious to avoid it if they can.

Whether or not pilots caught over the limit should be sent to prison, it's silly to trivialise/under-estimate the enormous impact of being imprisoned upon people who have never associated with criminals and have not previously been in trouble.

.

bubbers44
30th Jan 2011, 02:24
Hopefully he will not be subjected to the inhumane way he may face with other inmates. Not ever being in a jail I just heard of them.

Brian Abraham
30th Jan 2011, 04:56
particularly the Captain of the Exxon ValdezAh yes, lets give the drunk Captain a kicking. The fact that his state of sobriety had absolutely nothing to do with the accident, but everything to do with Exxon policy seems to be beside your point. Nothing but a scapegoat, which is typical when managerial failings come to the fore.

Investigative journalist Greg Palast in 2008 "Forget the drunken skipper fable. As to Captain Joe Hazelwood, he was below decks, sleeping off his bender. At the helm, the third mate never would have collided with Bligh Reef had he looked at his RAYCAS radar. But the radar was not turned on. In fact, the tanker's radar was left broken and disabled for more than a year before the disaster, and Exxon management knew it. It was just too expensive to fix and operate." Exxon blamed Captain Hazelwood for the grounding of the tanker. Other factors, according to an M.I.T. course entitled "Software System Safety" by Professor Nancy G. Leveson, included:

1. Tanker crews were not told that the previous practice of the Coast Guard tracking ships out to Bligh reef had ceased.
2. The oil industry promised, but never installed, state-of-the-art iceberg monitoring equipment.
3. Exxon Valdez was sailing outside the normal sea lane to avoid small icebergs thought to be in the area.
4. The 1989 tanker crew was half the size of the 1977 crew, worked 12−14 hour shifts, plus overtime. The crew was rushing to leave Valdez with a load of oil.
5. Coast Guard tanker inspections in Valdez were not done, and the number of staff was reduced.

From the NTSB - [I]The Safety Board considers the reduced manning practices of the Exxon Shipping Company generally incautious and without apparent justification from the standpoint of safety. The financial advantage derived from eliminating officers and crew from each vessel does not seem to justify incurring the foreseeable risks of serious accident. Regarding company manning practices that related to the EXXON VALDEZ, the Safety Board does not believe that the Exxon Shipping Company showed sufficient regard for the known debilitations that occur as a result of crewmember fatigue. Furthermore, the Safety Board could find no reasonable explanation for the following: the absence of company programs to ensure that crewmembers observed hours - of - service regulations ; the lack of procedures to ensure that at least one rested deck officer , in addition to the master, was available for watch at departure; the practice of rating a crewmember’s performance in part according to willingness to work overtime, thus giving an incentive to work an excessive number of hours; and the indiscriminate increase in work loads and standby time throughout the fleet before and after the grounding of the EXXON VALDEZ.

The Exxon Seamen's Union officials testified during depositions that the
sea passages for voyages between Alaska and California were not long enough for conducting necessary maintenance or permitting thorough crew rest between the around-the-clock demands of cargo handling in port. When the current minimum crew requirements were established for the EXXON VALDEZ, the vessel had been scheduled for the Valdez-Panamanian trade. But that trade was discontinued after December 1988, and the EXXON VALDEZ then began operating regularly between Valdez and ports in California. The mates on the EXXON VALDEZ were usually fatigued after cargo handling operations in Valdez, and the vessel usually put to sea with a fatigued crew.

Re the Captains alcohol issues Exxon failed again. From the NTSB - The Exxon alcohol policy directive in effect during 1985 when the master
underwent treatment instructs supervisors to refer to the medical department employees whose job performance is unsatisfactory owing to the perceived use of alcohol. In this case, the master’s supervisor was apparently unaware that the master had an alcohol dependency problem prior to his hospitalization . Upon learning of his dependency problem, his supervisor, according to Exxon procedures, was supposed to have referred his case to the medical department. The personnel documents provided by Exxon showed t hat a followup treatment program was recommended by the attending physician at the hospital . While it is documented that the master was given a 90-day leave of absence, no documents were provided to establish that this recommended outpatient treatment program was followed or that his progress was monitored by management. Nor does the Exxon medical department appear to have contacted the hospital where he received in - patient treatment. The lack of records suggests that no guidance, advice, or information was provided by Exxon management or the Exxon medical department to the master’s supervisor.

Furthermore, no one in the Exxon management structure seems to have consulted an expert on alcoholism about the following issues: the kind of support the master would need when he resumed his work, the kind of supervision and monitoring he would need, the chances that he would resume drinking , the signs that might indicate that he had resumed drinking , and the kind of assignments he could perform without risking his sobriety . The president of Exxon Shipping Company testified that the master “thought he was the most scrutinized employee in the company.” If this scrutiny did take place, written records either do not exist regarding his supervision and evaluations during this period or the records have not been provided, except one that was constructed from memory after the grounding. Furthermore, the solitary nature of a master‘s job is not conducive to monitoring; thus, visits to his vessel during short port calls are not likely to have been very effective in determining whether the master was abstaining from alcohol. Some personnel performance records (evaluations) were unsigned; thus, their authenticity could not be established. It must be surmised from the absence of information that the EXXON management and the medical department were unprepared or unwilling to deal with an alcoholic master and made insufficient effort to become informed or knowledgeable regarding the problems of an alcoholic and the rate of recidivism even under the most ideal conditions. As is well known, a carefully constructed support system that
includes frequent, continuous interaction with the support system is
necessary to prevent an alcoholic from returning to alcohol abuse. In
contrast, it is reasonable to assume that if Exxon had a technical problem,
such as an auto pilot failure, with one of its vessels, either the problem
would be assigned to an expert within the Exxon company structure or an outside consultant would be hired to solve the problem. Considering the
investment Exxon had made in the master, the potential cost of a marine accident in terms of human loss or environmental damage as a result of having an alcohol-impaired master, and the lack of oversight documentation, it can be concluded that the Exxon corporate management demonstrated inadequate knowledge of and concern about the seriousness of having an alcohol-impaired master. The Safety Board concludes that Exxon should have removed the master from seagoing employment until there was ample proof that he had his alcohol problem under control.

Once again it's a case of management asleep at the wheel. Procedures in place, but management sees fit not to follow. Interesting that they always attempt to document compliance post event.

AvMed.IN
30th Jan 2011, 10:24
As the jury here is still out, and the Pilot has already been sentenced as per the existing laws, one still needs to ponder whether it was a one-off incidence of alcoholism (binging for some reason, though highly unlikely) or is he an alcoholic? In case of the latter, he shall need help - deaddiction and rehabilitation. As a psychiatrist friend of mine advised long back: alcoholism needs to be seen as an illness, like any other, which needs to be treated, without any biases and prejudices.
Here I am not defending the pilot, just stating a POV. For effect of alcohol, please check out Ah! Piloting in the arms of Bacchus | Aviation Medicine :: Aerospace Medicine (http://www.avmed.in/2011/01/ah-piloting-in-the-arms-of-bacchus/)

SID PLATE
30th Jan 2011, 12:28
Dear 63 year old Shell Management .. aka "Disgusted" of the Hague
It seems you don't fly for a living, otherwise you wouldn't be advocating giving those awfully nice airport security people more power than they already have. The mandate to accuse pilots who they suspect might have been drnking would cause a bit of friction between us, I suspect.
They are not qualified to make a judgement, and some of them are only just qualified to search my flight bag.
If the incarcerated pilot is an alcoholic, he needs help, not hang em and flog em idiots like you mouthing off.
Have you ever been gatso'd for speeding ... say 34 in a 30 limit ?

DA50driver
30th Jan 2011, 12:36
My family is prone to obesity, myself included. If I open my mouth and eat what I want I will be big as a house. If I exercise and eat right I can control it. Is this a disease as well?

Joao da Silva
30th Jan 2011, 12:39
SID PLATE

With the very greatest of respect, the way to avoid extra layers of checks is for your colleagues and you not to be caught over the limit.

It is apparent that only a tiny proportion of professional pilots are caught, but in this modern society, there will be many who ask "is it only because the checks are not tough enough to catch more?" Some may reasonably say that the vast majority do not transgress, but a quick look back over the past 20 years shows that 'knee jerk' reaction is very much in vogue.

You have been warned.

Heliport
30th Jan 2011, 13:37
By this statement, are you advocating that it is acceptable for a pilot to operate an aircraft illegally, when over the legal limit by a considerable margin - and not face the ramifications of their actions?
No, he clearly is not advocating that.
Help for his alcoholism YES, but immunity to prosecution - NO WAY!
That is a distortion of what SID said.

:rolleyes:

Shell Management
30th Jan 2011, 13:42
Exactly we need accountability not apology. Treatment is great but if you turn up to fly drunk their need to be consequences.

A liberal no-blame, tolerate anything cultuire just leads to unprofessional behaviour and accidents.

Brian A has neatly showed that the airlines need an effective system to prevent drunk pilots reporting for duty. Clearly this airline failed like Exxon did.

SID PLATE So what would you do if your co-pilot was under the influence? Run the risk or run them in?

larssnowpharter
30th Jan 2011, 18:13
Brian A has neatly showed that the airlines need an effective system to prevent drunk pilots reporting for duty. Clearly this airline failed like Exxon did.



Easy solution to that:

Breathalyse them before they get on the aircraft.

Airbubba
30th Jan 2011, 19:36
Easy solution to that:

Breathalyse them before they get on the aircraft.

This has already started in India:

Breath test for all pilots

TNN, Jan 15, 2011, 06.35am IST

CHENNAI: Reporting for duty after consuming alcohol is going to be extremely risky for pilots hereafter, as airlines have started doing pre-flight breath tests on pilots of all departing flights as part of Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) instructions to make such tests compulsory.

Earlier, such tests were conducted randomly. Now, with the procedure being made mandatory, airlines have to make an additional investment on the automatic Alco Sensor machines, as per DGCA specification.

Sources said Air India and Jet Airways have started testing all their pilots from the first week of January. As the tubes used to test pilots and cabin crew are disposable, airlines have started bulk-ordering the tubes...

Breath test for all pilots - The Times of India (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/-Breath-test-for-all-pilots/articleshow/7288219.cms#ixzz1CY57QRtt)

DozyWannabe
30th Jan 2011, 19:40
Careful with the mouthwash then, guys and girls...

Shell Management
30th Jan 2011, 21:27
The same in Russia too.

BandAide
30th Jan 2011, 21:52
I wouldn't mind blowing into a breathalyzer before every flight. It would always read zero, and I don't want to fly with an impaired pilot anyway.

But I should be paid for the affront, $10/hour would be adequate; and the point about doctors (and may I add cab drivers, legislators, McDonald's workers, hotel maids, rock stars and Charley Sheen, university professors, global warming scientists, sushi chefs and others) also be given the appropriate scrutiny.

Shell Management
30th Jan 2011, 21:54
Most pilots are paid well enougth to be professional already.:ugh:

BandAide
30th Jan 2011, 22:20
Some are, but most are not.

J.O.
30th Jan 2011, 23:20
Shell Management Most pilots are paid well enougth to be professional already.

So were the oil industry managers who allowed the safety shortcuts that contributed to Exxon Valdez and the Gulf spill. :=

Heliport
30th Jan 2011, 23:24
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v140/Rotorheads/troll4alert.gif

Brian Abraham
31st Jan 2011, 00:02
Kick him into touch. ;)

Chris2303
31st Jan 2011, 01:52
@<hidden>

My GP says yes - and it is becoming conventional wisdom in New Zealand

etrang
31st Jan 2011, 06:36
J.O.
It is a medically proven fact that addiction is a disease of the brain.

Can you provide a link to this "medically proven fact"? I think you are confusing theory and fact.

Edited to add:

I'd also be very interested in how you know that this particular pilot is and alcoholic rather than a non-alcoholic who had drunk enough to put them over the limit.

Sir Niall Dementia
31st Jan 2011, 08:43
In the 1990's when drug and alcohol testing was introduced in the Uk sector of the North Sea some bright spark, I believe from one of the oil companies decided that pilots should have an alcohol level less than the engineers working on the aircraft. The company I flew for decided that was b******s and put the same level on for all staff, be they pilot, engineer, check-in or accounts clerk.

A positive drugs and alcohol testing policy requires a great deal of commitment from all parties. I was a union rep at the time and was amazed at the help programme the company had to sign up to, basically it protected everyone. Someone who failed a test had to be given every opportunity to sort themselves out at the employer's expense. I only know of one failure (not aircrew or engineer) and the full resources were used.

We were taken to the testing facility and given the full tour, all of us left feeling that the whole programme was for our own good.

Any form of addiction is awful (my own father was an alcoholic who died tragically young) and it can ruin the lives of familly and friends as well as the victim. The poster who described alcoholism as "self inflicted" is apparently ignorant of how it can start, I just wonder how many colleagues reading this thread suspect they may have a problem, or even know that they do. To them I give my best wishes and hope that they can win.

As for the pilot this thread is about, turning up over the limit for work was stupid and the penalty is being paid, but how many of us truly know the stuggle to keep going that goes on inside every addict.

aterpster
31st Jan 2011, 09:49
Sir Niall Dementia (http://www.pprune.org/members/293187-sir-niall-dementia):

Any form of addiction is awful (my own father was an alcoholic who died tragically young) and it can ruin the lives of familly and friends as well as the victim. The poster who described alcoholism as "self inflicted" is apparently ignorant of how it can start, I just wonder how many colleagues reading this thread suspect they may have a problem, or even know that they do.

The addiction is not self-inflicted, but often addicts cross over the line when under the influence. More often than not, only a forceful intervention can stop the progession to destruction. The drunk who gets behind the wheel has become a criminal. The pilot who shows up at the airport in uniform over the threshold limit must be stopped before he commits a criminal act. At the point termination is appropriate.

SR71
31st Jan 2011, 18:26
Flying Lawyer,

With due respect to whom I'm talking to and their expertise in the field...

For some reason, in threads of this nature, posters who suggest that imprisonment is too harsh a punishment and/or not the appropriate way to deal with a pilot found to be over the limit are invariably accused of defending the pilot's actions.

Is that because their posts make it seem like (at the time) "rehabilitation only" instead of "punishment + rehabilitation"?

It is easy to forget the requirement for that (other) component of justice when arguing in the third person....hence, the suggestion I made to "personalise" the matter and ascertain whether or not this changes anything....from the POV of the contributors?

Whether or not pilots caught over the limit should be sent to prison, it's silly to trivialise/under-estimate the enormous impact of being imprisoned upon people who have never associated with criminals and have not previously been in trouble.

The comment was made in the same vein as the post to which it made reference. Curiously, this post has been deleted, by whom, I am not sure?

Having lived with an alcoholic for many years, it was not my intention to trivialise the matter.

YorkshireTyke
1st Feb 2011, 08:26
The addiction is not self-inflicted..........

So there's an army of 'enforcers' - like the TSA maybe ? who FORCE people to drink alcohol and therefore become addicted ? is there ? News to me.

I would ask those who state that babies can be born with the alcoholic gene, or whatever starts alcoholism off - and I don't want to know, I don't care - if such babies were NEVER to allow alcohol to pass their lips, would they still grow up to be the wife-beaters and general PITA's to society that alcoholics are ?

Those who do so, and become alcoholics as a result, either inflicted the result upon themselves by imbibing in the first place, or were held down and forced to consume alcohol.

Oh, yeah !

The eventual addiction, which I totally agree then occurs, and the various ways to deal with it, is a different subject.

SID PLATE
1st Feb 2011, 10:28
Hey Tyke ... are you best mates with Shell Management ?
It seems that you and your fellow sexagenerian are a bit keen to dismiss published medical research about a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
There is, however, a definate genetic link between being of the white rose persuasion, and being a bit of a blinkered self opinionated herbert.
Sapere aude

Golf-Sierra
1st Feb 2011, 10:43
So there's an army of 'enforcers' - like the TSA maybe ? who FORCE people to drink alcohol and therefore become addicted ? is there ? News to me.



I think there is a very strong drinking permissive culture in the UK. People get influenced by what they see on TV, advertisements. If an alcoholic beverage producer is allowed to sponsor key sporting events that speaks for itself.

So - maybe no one is in fact forcing anyone to drink - but people are pretty much encouraged to have a go at alcohol.

Let me give you a prime example - when I was at my first year of uni at London (ages ago) just about all the student induction events - including those staged at the various student dormitories - were organised under the theme of 'free drinks; free shots; shot of vodka just 1GBP' theme. During these parties - as can be expected of 18 year olds away from home for the first time in their lives - there were many cases of alcohol abuse and a lot of students got into trouble and faced quite dire consequences. Now in many other countries (and I have personal experience of two other European countries) it would be absolutely unacceptable for binge-drinking parties to be officially organised on a university campus.


As far as the pilot is concerned - of course he must be punished - that is neccessary as a deterrent to others and also to ensure the general public has confidence in the safety of flying. However - given how the flying profession is conducive to alcoholism (as many other highly stressing professions requiring people to spend significant amounts of time away from home and family are) - if the pilot's airline did not have a monitoring/support network in place he should be allowed to gain compensation from his employer for his loss of income. A substantial payout - to the benefit of the employee - will ensure that airlines will put appropriate procedures in place. It is easy to say - 'you are intoxicated you should not show up for the job' - but with the pressure of mortgages, loans and a family to support it is easier said than done. For a genuine alcoholic refraining from drink is a huge challenge, you cannot compare this to refraining from your favourite chocolate bar or a greasy hamburger.

If he was not an alcoholic, and this was merely a one-off - that is somewhat different. But I wonder - if you call in and say you cannot fly because you sprained your wrist at the hotel gym the previous night - will that be looked at in the same way as calling in and saying you cannot fly because you had a few drinks too many whilst watching the game at the hotel bar?


Golf-Sierra

AvMed.IN
1st Feb 2011, 11:55
While the jury is still divided, I agree with Golf-Sierra's analysis of the case under discussion.
If the 'guilty' pilot needs rehab, he must be offered a chance rather than pronounced guilty without considering the genesis of the reported drunken episode (Bashing the Drunk! | Aviation Medicine :: Aerospace Medicine (http://www.avmed.in/2011/02/bashing-the-drunk/)).

oldrnU-2
1st Feb 2011, 19:28
I was a sponsor for ALPAs program for DUIs, etc. The program worked quite well and gave a pilot a second chance. My father-in-law was an alcoholic, a great man when sober, and that's why I tried to help others-besides being an ex-cop that worked a lot of domestic issues when alcohol was flowing between the combatants.

Tom Cloyd jr., was the son af a very good friend of mine that perished in the B-26 "Carollyn" crash in 1995, the late Great Tom Cloyd.
Tommy flew for America West, and was seen on t.v. getting a convicton of 5 years, not the 6 months that others are getting. His mother is an absolute saint, the classiest lady in the face of adversity and tragedy.
Both her late husband, and Tommy made the national news, but her demeanor was above anything that anyone should have to endure.

Not all of my program cases were a success, but I did try. I absolutely love beer, Irish coffee on a day like today, but I do not go anywhere near a machine of any type after consuming.

When you're a starving first officer (back in the 1970s & 80s) if you didn't go to happy hour, you didn't eat-the free snacks and all. You just had to watch the alcohol intake. Why go to Mc Ds' when you could eat a lot for having bought two beers for a buck?

I am one of "Cloyd's Boys", and I will always feel the pain of seeing what alcohol can do to families, careers, and lives.

Regards to all,

"Not Too"

YorkshireTyke
1st Feb 2011, 20:52
Hey Tyke ... are you best mates with Shell Management ?

No. and I don't necessarily support his viewpoint either, I've 'helped' fellow pilots keep their jobs and continue alcohol free to retirement, rightly or wrongly, water under the bridge now and my lips are sealed, my only platform is that the first drink, which may well lead to alcoholism is self inflicted, and from that I will not waver - don't even try, tough.

.......to dismiss published medical research about a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.

Not at all, the addiction is acknowledged, but the first drink is self inflicted, even if as a result of peer pressure, or other outside pressures. It might be difficult to resist, but nobody - to my knowledge, and correct me if I'm wrong,pls. - FORCES alcohol down anyones' throat, but when the first drink is taken then of course I accept that the inevitable might happen - but the first drink is self inflicted.

So - maybe no one is in fact forcing anyone to drink - but people are pretty much encouraged to have a go at alcohol.

Agreed, but whose decision is it to have a go ?

Self inflicted, for whatever reason.

I rest my case.

QED.


.......fellow sexagenerian.......


I like the sex bit ! but what has age to do with it ? or is this an attempt by the younger generation - armed with iPads - to force their social and alcoholic mores upon us ? ( actually, trying to deal with an iPad is enough to drive anyone to drink )

a definate genetic link between being of the white rose persuasion, and being a bit of a blinkered self opinionated herbert.

Not blinkered but focussed on reality ,and my name isn't Herbert - the rest is spot on, and long may it continue. ( I can spell definite, too. )

Nil Illegitimum Carborundum

Brian Abraham
2nd Feb 2011, 01:09
Captain Lyle Prouse has been mentioned earlier in the thread and I came across this quite by accident while researching something else. Business & Commercial Aviation, May, 2001, by Paul Richfield.

Pardoned Captain's long Journey Back

Life offers few second chances - Lyle Prouse has made the most of his.

Few pilots are better qualified to discuss the dangers of alcohol than Lyle Prouse, the Northwest Airlines captain whose fall from grace made national headlines 11 years ago.

On March 8, 1990, Prouse and the other two members of his Boeing 727 flight crew were arrested after completing a trip from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis. Hours earlier they'd been drinking heavily at a bar and a witness had tipped the FAA. The three pilots were the first to be charged under a 1986 law that criminalized operating a “common carrier" under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The day after his arrest, Prouse entered a month-long alcohol abuse program. He has been sober ever since.

However, other aspects of his life worsened. He lost his job and then all his money. The FAA revoked his medical and pilot certificates. And then he was convicted and sent to Atlanta's federal prison camp where he became Inmate 04478-041. Prouse served 14 months of a 16-month sentence. His crewmates were sentenced to 12 months.

Although he despaired, the former Marine A4E pilot and Vietnam combat veteran was determined to return to the cockpit. A fellow Northwest pilot who owned an FBO told Prouse he wanted him to get his licenses back and that he could fly for free at his facility.

Starting with the Private Pilot license, Prouse earned his qualifications back one by one. In 1993, he was working at a hospital, making $6.75 an hour, when the head of Northwest's pilot's union informed him that CEO John Dasburg had decided to rehire him as a first officer in the airline's training department. The news reduced him to tears.

Although he never expected to, Prouse ultimately worked his way back into the cockpit, and retired from Northwest in 1998 as a Boeing 747 captain.

'From a personal standpoint, the entire situation has proven to be a positive one, since it saved my life," he told BICA. "My advice to working pilots is to look out for your peers - no one sets out to be an alcoholic, and few know it once they become one. Friends need to exercise care and determination."

Prouse's journey came full circle on January 20, 2001, when he was included in the list of 140 Americans to receive presidential pardons from the outgoing Clinton administration; 36 others had their prison sentences commuted. With his pardon, Prouse regains rights many of us take for granted: the right to vote, to serve on a jury, to run for public office, and most importantly to the avid outdoorsman, the right to own firearms.

Although many of the pardons were unexpected and controversial, Prouse's

came after a difficult campaign. His quest for a presidential pardon began in January 1999 with a letter to the U.S. Pardons Attorney in Washington, who responded with a stack of forms and other requests for supporting affidavits.

Supporters included James Rosenbaurn, the judge who presided over Prouse's original case, Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Mnn.) and two Georgia state senators, whom Prouse categorizes as "hard sells."

"Helping a convicted felon is not a strong political cause, but they agreed to support me," he said.

"An FBI investigation followed, and I knew that the longer it dragged on, the better my chances.

"I found out about the pardon on the afternoon of January 20," he says. "I actually had let go of the pardon, deciding it wasn't going to happen. The big push of the whole experience is the psychological and emotional impact."

Prouse still flies, and owns a 1975 Piper Warrior. He's an active participant in the Angel Flight program, and often is invited to speak to alcohol rehabilitation and other groups.

He says his crew during "the incident" also is flying again: The first officer is a check airman with a national carrier; the second officer is a flight engineer with one of the majors.

"Some guys hate me forever, since the incident threw a wet blanket on some of the partying, but many more say 'I saw what happened to you, and it made me take a look at myself and get help,"' he says. "Alcoholism is a tough, tough disease, and it's important to dispel the misconceptions about it and treat it before it's too late."

My advice to working pilots is to look out for your peersIt seems to be a sad fact of life that even when we are aware of a friends/workmates difficulties, of any sort, we are reluctant to get involved.

stepwilk
2nd Feb 2011, 02:34
Interesting contrast between Brian's post and that of the, ah, person who posted above him.

YorkshireTyke
2nd Feb 2011, 03:01
Interesting contrast between Brian's post and that of the, ah, person who posted above him.


stepwilk ....... it would help if you started brain before engaging mouth, I'll repeat what I posted.........

I've 'helped' fellow pilots keep their jobs and continue alcohol free to retirement,

I have sympathy for some who become alcoholics, my only platform is that it is self inflicted, and even the post about Capt. Prouse stated .........
Hours earlier they'd been drinking heavily at a bar

Doubtless they were forced to do so in your eyes ? Who by ?

I'm not wasting anymore time on this, best of luck.

AvMed.IN
2nd Feb 2011, 08:54
Brian,
thank you for sharing a wonderful story of grit and determination. Surely, it helps those who may be sliding down the alcohol way, and do not know if they can help alleviate themselves out of their self-inflicted morass.

rodthesod
3rd Feb 2011, 00:22
Hi,

I wasn't going to get involved in this but here goes.

Thank you Brian for reminding us of Capt. Lyle Prouse's story which I followed some time ago - I didn't contribute at the time because others were expressing my sentiments so eloquently.

20 years ago I was a practicing alcoholic in charge of pilot training for a UK airline. My downhill path accelerated rapidly after I was demoted for making a clerical error which I promptly admitted, not because I was drunk when I made it, but my 'alcoholic character defects' permitted me to take on too much of a 3rd party training task without additional training staff. Furthermore my need for alcohol would not allow me to work at maximum efficiency on all the paperwork after a 16 hour 'sim' and office day. About 6 months later I lost my driving licence for the second time, yet another marriage was breaking up and heart problems seemed likely to lead to loss of licence.

To cut a very long story short, for the first time in my 50 years I was brought to my knees and I was 'pushed' into asking for help - so terribly against my character! I stopped drinking and 'joined' AA. I haven't had a drink since. My marriage, which was doomed from the start, failed anyway (anyone who marries a practicing alcoholic thinking they can 'reform' him is not a well person). My company saw how I was rebuilding my life and helped me in many ways (none of which cost they nor the taxpayer a penny). Eventually I was promoted back to Head of TRTO and I was even given a couple of bonus years after my normal retirement for which I am most grateful. I remarried another recovering alcoholic who I met in AA and we have enjoyed 7 happy years of retirement here on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. My daughter from that last marriage doesn't remember me as a drinker, but as a loving, caring, supportive Dad who's a bit cranky at times but never criticises her - ever. She's in her penultimate year of medical training and is doing very well.

Today my 69th birthday present was starting chemotherapy for 4th stage lung cancer which has spread to my spine and other areas. My wife started chemo 2 weeks ago also for lung cancer - even though I stopped smoking 20 years ago and she 10. All the experts agree that smoking caused it although mine may have been triggered by recent spinal surgery. Neither my wife nor myself have even considered the possibility of taking a drink throughout the past 2 months of a progressive nightmare of tests, travelling 6 hours for more tests on a more or less daily basis and worsening revelations. Our prognosis is about 18 months if we're lucky and the chemo works - but our stubborn 'alcoholic' character traits will probably allow us to prove the experts wrong.

The first point I'm making here is that being an alcoholic isn't all bad. What I did when I was compelled to drink by a demon I could not understand is unforgiveable. Because I was good at my (flying) job I was forgiven the occasional misdemeanor - usually not turning up for work on time through 'gastric' problems. Oh yes I've noticed comments about mouthwash - I've never known an alcoholic who hasn't tried to mask the smell of booze with it.' I've flown formation aerobatic displays when I would have been several times over the legal limit for driving in the UK - and got away with it.

As an alcoholic in recovery I've been privileged to be able perform a few minor miracles - I've been able to help other alcoholics to achieve lasting sobriety and happiness. People beyond the help of family, doctors, treatment centres, self-help literature - you name it. I've had the first successful marriage of my life - the other 3 were disasters. If the big C takes us I can honestly say that our sober years have been the best of our lives, but I think we'll beat it because we both have work to do - helping others.

Secondly, it is my honest belief that no alcoholic will get the help they need unless they, like me, reach an 'emotional 'rock bottom' and are able to 'honestly' ask for help. I've seen alcoholics come from a 'physical' death's door only to pick up a drink as soon as they had the strength. I've seen others (with the same physical symptoms) make full and lasting recoveries when they'd prayed for death as a relief from the emotional pain and anguish they suffered - they found the best help they could ever get 'free' in AA.

My third point is this. The subject Captain of this thread was wrong and I'm sure deserves his sentence. I'm not going to get into a debate over 'leniency' or 'punishment fitting the crime'. What I sincerely wish is that the consequences of his 'driven' actions will bring him to the emotional rock bottom I mentioned; if that happens he's in the right place - the homeland of A.A. and there is nothing to stop him rebuilding his life. He may even find the help he needs in jail - I've visited enough UK prisons and attended A.A. in the USA to know he can. If he is bolstered up by 'do-gooders' who take away some of his emotional pain - his chances are far less than average. This non-fatal episode may be the best thing that could have happened to him.

Finally, I have to say that some of the comments on this thread demonstrate the almost universal ignorance of alcoholism that exists. The only doctors and psychiatrists I know who have an understanding of the 'disease' are those fellow alcoholics of mine and those who come to recovering alcoholics for advice. I used to be full of Yorkshire pride, but after Harold Wilson, John Prescott and the comments of one of the posters above, I sometimes want to crawl into a hole in shame - but I don't.



“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”—Herbert Spencer

WillingPilot
3rd Feb 2011, 00:33
There's no doubt that Alcohol drinks do control nerves. But a certain ammount does that, not too much.

As someone mentioned, he didn't even know where he was flying to! I wonder how he'd make the pre-flight announcements!

Brian Abraham
3rd Feb 2011, 01:06
I sometimes want to crawl into a hole in shame - but I don't.rodthesod, you can hold your head high with pride my man. It's a disease no different than the big "C" you now find yourself battling. Yours is a wonderful story of a battle fought and won, and I think I can speak for everyone here in saying "Thank you so much for sharing."

A heartfelt blessing for the current battles yourself and wife are facing.

ExSp33db1rd
3rd Feb 2011, 02:27
.........I wonder how he'd make the pre-flight announcements!

At top of climb out of London, I once gave the passengers a briefing of the route we were flying to Karachi.

When I put the mic. down, the co-pilot said .... " but we're going to Bahrain " !!!

Luckily most of the route was the same anyway, and I didn't correct my mistake.

No one noticed. They never listen.

And No, I hadn't been drinking !

jungle drums
3rd Feb 2011, 04:06
shell management, thats it!

You really are a piece of work.

I see those chips about pilots are still there on your shoulders in spades.

Dealing with the likes of you in any managemert position is enough to turn any flight department member to drink.

By the way, what would you do if your boss or CEO or department head turned up smelling strongly alcohol? Not that you are in a safety critical position, but there is always the risk of a paper cut or grievous stapler wound.

Heaven forbid that you are anywhere near the top - you sound off like a ladder climber who likes to kick those below off on the way up.

The personal skills to deal with someone in need of help in battling their demons (whatever they may be) is not in your character suite. In fact, I doubt you have any.

Rod, great post. Good luck with your current battle.

PA-28-180
3rd Feb 2011, 10:53
" Yours is a wonderful story of a battle fought and won, and I think I can speak for everyone here in saying "Thank you so much for sharing."

First...to RTS....I personally would also like to thank you for sharing your testimony!
Though I've experienced a similar situation both personally and professionally, I wanted to address the above quote. The 'battle' is NEVER 'won!! It's a battle that is fought, hopefully successfully, EVERY SINGLE DAY of the persons life. This is the reason for the expression from AA/NA of "one day at a time", and if one DAY is too much to contemplate, then it's one HOUR at a time or one MINUTE at a time or one SECOND at a time!! Make no mistake....it IS a battle and a constant one.....one that hopefully gets a bit easier over time...but a battle none the less. Thanks again for sharing and I will keep you in my prayers Rodthesod - God bless and God speed! :ok:

LProuse
5th Feb 2011, 17:35
Well, that's not quite true. I don't want to rehash all I wrote quite some while back so go back and take a look at the referral link if you're interested.

Pilots who have been drinking are often stopped and caught at TSA checkpoints, some airlines allow different cockpit parameters before the point of no return is crossed - some say it's at the point where the Checklist is read, and others have other parameters where a pilot does not irrevocably lose his/her career. It all depends on the airline.

The very nature of alcoholism says, "I don't have it!" and it's rare for a pilot to turn themselves in (yes...it happens...but not often). Nor are many families able to call up the courage it takes to organize an intervention (and if a professional isn't involved the outcome can be very negative when they DO make the attempt).

Alcoholism is a complex disease. And before someone jumps on what I'm saying I will say once more - it does NOT absolve ANYONE of the consequences that result from their actions; alcoholic or NOT. But...when treated, an employee can return as a valued member of their profession.

I've been sober nearly 21 years now (March 7, 1990). I retired honorably in Sept '98 (age 60) and am still flying with a First Class FAA medical certificate. Surprisingly, I've never flown drunk in all that time. Go figure.

Lyle Prouse - Grateful for my life and my sobriety...!

His quote below:
Most, if not all, U.S. carriers have an intervention and treatment program, which is approved by the FAA. DAL is certainly a participant.

But, it requires that the alcoholic pilot either turn himself in off duty, or friends or family trigger an intervention. My experience as a union rep was that it was almost always an intervention that worked (well, worked at least to get the pilot into in-patient care paid for by the company).

When those two opportunities are missed and it goes to an on-duty situation, it's all over but the shouting

aterpster
5th Feb 2011, 21:42
LProuse:

Well, that's not quite true. I don't want to rehash all I wrote quite some while back so go back and take a look at the referral link if you're interested.

Let me be more specific. I was a member of the TWA MEC in the mid-1980s. What I stated was the absolute policy at TWA. At MEC meetings we were advised by the experts that TWA's policy was in compliance with FAA requirements and industry standards.

We were never advised that the on-duty apprehension requirements were more relaxed, apparently significantly more relaxed, at some other carriers. Nor, do I recall it being mentioned by anyone in an ad hoc manner.

We had two or three cases of termination for showing up in circumstances quite similar to the case of this thread. Those terminations were sustained at the five person board. I was not privy to the record of those cases but if ALPA legal argued the more permissive policies at some other carriers, it did not carry the day. It could be, though, that a retirement deal was cut in the late stages of those cases, and we just thought termination had been sustained.

thing
6th Feb 2011, 01:13
As a non airline person but with an amateur interest in aviation I have to say I'm amazed by some of the views here. Let me put it to you this way, as a regular fare paying passenger I don't want a pilot turning up, if not blind drunk, then over the limit. In fact I don't want him to have any alcohol in his blood at all. I'm not going to enter the debate about alcoholism, I think it's all been said already in this topic. The simple matter is that I don't want a pilot flying my plane to have their judgment impaired by alcohol, and if they do, I expect the penalty to be pretty bloody severe.

Personally I think 6 months in pokey is derisory. I couldn't care less whether they are fighting alcoholism or not, that is totally and utterly besides the point. I might add that I am not without compassion and lost my closest friend to alcohol related illness in 2009. But if they have a drink problem they should NOT be entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people in a commercial aircraft. As someone said earlier on, you wouldn't want your children to be driven to school by an alcoholic bus driver, so what is the difference exactly? I hope as a punter and one of the many long haul passengers that pay your salaries I have made my point clearly enough.

maat
6th Feb 2011, 07:15
"The simple matter is that I don't want a pilot flying my plane to have their judgment impaired by alcohol"

Rightly so.

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, one of whom was over the locally imposd limit for operating an aircraft at the time of report for duty?

Compared to:

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, both of whom had just had a few hours of broken sleep in an airport motel. During the flight, both pilots took it in turns to sleep, but neither could be relied upon to stay awake?

Which in your opinion (and I'm not been sarcastic, your perception of risk and opinion is valued, to me at least) is the safer operation?

rcsa
6th Feb 2011, 09:38
Maat

It's the "compared to" in your post that's the issue. It's not either/or, is it? A compelling reason for having a drink during a duty cycle is to help get to sleep in a noisy hotel, at the wrong time of day, when there's only 8 1/2 hours to get 8 hours of sleep, on the wrong time zone....

If it was a simple choice - pilot over the alcohol limit, or pilot who's not had enough rest - it would be easier to make a judgement. But it's not - the true problem is "pilot who's not had enough rest, and has had a couple of drinks to try to alleviate that."

R

thing
6th Feb 2011, 09:54
Maat, I understand your point but we're talking about risk reduction. Of course pilots shouldn't be tired/jet lagged when they are flying, I fly to Oz and know it takes me three days to become anything more than a zombie after arriving there, so how pilots cope is beyond me. However I think we would be living in na na land if we thought we had a perfect world and it didn't happen, but that's for the regulatory bodies and pilot's unions to sort out (and sort it out they should IMO). I have every sympathy for pilots who have to work under draconian regimes that don't allow them any meaningful rest and I think that any company that forces inefficient timetabling of their pilots should be in court and the directors jailed.

Flying whilst under the influence however is entirely avoidable, it is the personal choice of the pilot. I fully understand that it may not be a personal choice to be an alcoholic but it is a personal choice to continue to fly knowing full well you have a problem. Pilots are well payed, rightly so, they are highly trained professionals, but with that comes a duty to your passengers.

Edit: rcsa, just read your post. I think there's a difference between having a couple of sherberts to relax yourself before 8 hours kip and getting totally trashed to get to sleep. No one should have to do that in an attempt to be compos mentis to do their job the next day and as I said operators should be held to account.

Looking at an earlier post I think there maybe some degree of 'can do' in the make up of a pilot, of not wanting to appear to be failing the company, of not wanting to be seen as less able to hack it than fellow pilots. I'm not a psychologist, I don't know the answer to that. I do know however that your primary and absolutely over riding duty is to see that the 300 or so souls in your charge are transported as safely as possible to their destination, and part of that duty is to reduce risk. Some risks it would appear are forced upon you, others aren't.

rcsa
6th Feb 2011, 10:58
Edit: rcsa, just read your post. I think there's a difference between having a couple of sherberts to relax yourself before 8 hours kip and getting totally trashed to get to sleep. No one should have to do that in an attempt to be compos mentis to do their job the next day and as I said operators should be held to account.


Completely agree with you there - but I don't think we're talking about a pilot turning up totally trashed. We're talking about him being over the blood/alcohol limit. On most people's metabolism, a couple of glasses of wine and a scotch will still show up as "over the limit" eight or nine hours later. That's much more in the "couple of sherberts" league than the "totally trashed" league.

Looking at an earlier post I think there maybe some degree of 'can do' in the make up of a pilot, of not wanting to appear to be failing the company, of not wanting to be seen as less able to hack it than fellow pilots.

I guess it takes an alpha personality type to (a) want to do the job (b) be good at it and (c) thrive in that environment. There are a few other occupations where that is a necessary trait. But in fact it's not a critical characteristic in flying. Perhaps in a crisis it's a useful trait (though even that's doubtful - the critical skill in a crisis is the ability to stay calm).

But I suspect that the alpha culture is a hangover from the "good old days" when civilian airliner pilots were all ex-military - and of course, there's no place for risk-averse pilots in military flying in wartime.

Tom Wolfe makes an interesting point in his book "The Right Stuff" that the uber-calm, growly, tech-speak pax announcement made on every sector by every pilot in the world is directly descended from the way that US military pilots were encouraged to speak to tower - and other aircraft - in WWII; and that this was how Chuck Yeager spoke during his early flights to the sound barrier, and subesquently to the edge of space. That's alpha flying!

I've noted elsewhere on pprune that I believe one of the elements in the risk matrix that makes former Soviet aircraft so inclined to crash is that their aircrew are suffused with the "can-do, ignore the problems, fly on the red-line (especially with a little vodka lubrication)" attitude of the Sov and Sov-successor militaries.

thing
6th Feb 2011, 12:58
I don't think a couple of scotches and a glass of wine would put you over the limit 8 hours later. I'm thinking about the UK driving limit here, I don't know if there's a different limit for pilots.

None of us are saints, I'm sure we've all driven when we shouldn't have, even if we're not over the limit, but it's a different kettle of fish when you talk about being a pro pilot doing a sometimes demanding job that requires a cool head. I know that drunk drivers kill people, but most drivers are amateurs in the technical sense of the word and they don't kill 300 people at a time.

Your point about most airline pilots being ex military after the war which means they would have been flying into the late 1970's early 80's raises an interesting point They were the people who influenced today's senior captains so I wonder if that attitude hasn't been 'bred out' of the system yet? A friend of mine is a senior captain for a major carrier and he says that most ex mil pilots who start flying for his airline are a pita. Not all of them but some have definitely been there, seen it and done it and have nothing to learn from the likes of him. Bit worrying really.

JW411
6th Feb 2011, 13:20
thing:

"I don't think a couple of scotches and a glass of wine would put you over the limit 8 hours later".

Then you tell us that you don't know if the limits for a pilot are the same as a car driver. You certainly don't, so I simply can't see how you can make the original statement.

If we make a very basic comparison, you are allowed to drive a vehicle in UK provided that you haven't consumed more than 2 pints of ordinary bitter.

The limit for pilots is the equivalent of 1/2 pint of ordinary bitter.

Would you like to reconsider your original statement?

thing
6th Feb 2011, 13:47
Semantics. I'm talking as a layman here when talking about the alcohol limits for pilots, I didn't know what they were, I do now, thank you for pointing them out to me. I think that most members of the public would automatically think of the limits for driving a vehicle when talking about limits for pilots, it's just association with the words 'alcohol limits'.

I'm not here to knock pilots as I think you have taken umbrage with my understandable lack of knowledge. I have flown many hours as a passenger with nothing but the highest regard for the crews that have flown me from one side of the world to another. As a sport I fly gliders, which is where my interest in other aspects of aviation comes from but I know very little about the world of professional airline pilots, or any type of professional pilot come to think of it, which is surely why forums like these are useful. I as a passenger can voice my concerns when I read threads like this and you as a professional can say 'Well actually it's not like that.' We all learn, can't see anything wrong in that.

aterpster
6th Feb 2011, 14:24
maat:

Rightly so.

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, one of whom was over the locally imposd limit for operating an aircraft at the time of report for duty?

Compared to:

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, both of whom had just had a few hours of broken sleep in an airport motel. During the flight, both pilots took it in turns to sleep, but neither could be relied upon to stay awake?

Which in your opinion (and I'm not been sarcastic, your perception of risk and opinion is valued, to me at least) is the safer operation?

That's a specious analogy.

DozyWannabe
6th Feb 2011, 14:50
Oh yes I've noticed comments about mouthwash - I've never known an alcoholic who hasn't tried to mask the smell of booze with it.'

Hmm - didn't know that, though it doesn't surprise me. What I was actually referring to is that most varieties of mouthwash use alcohol as an ingredient and can trigger a higher breathalyser reading than one might otherwise have - even when completely sober. That's one of the reasons for secondary breathlysers at police stations, as well as blood and urine samples being used for confirmation.

FWIW I'm with Rod, Lyle and Brian on this one. Showing up on duty over the limit should rightly cost him his job, but should not preclude a path back if he wants to get clean.

LProuse
6th Feb 2011, 16:04
There seems to be some inane idea that anyone talking about, or trying to explain, alcoholism is thereby justifying or excusing the behavior that results from it.

That's nonsense and is NOT what understanding alcoholism is about!

Most alcoholics, including myself, understand AND ACCEPT that "When you do what you did - you get what you got!"

Consequences are appropriate...so there's no argument in that regard.

But there IS life after alcoholism...and there IS a road back.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse

thing
6th Feb 2011, 16:41
And I applaud your bravery in talking about it on a public forum Lyle. I for one am glad that you rebuilt your life and wish you every success for the future.

DozyWannabe
6th Feb 2011, 17:38
There seems to be some inane idea that anyone talking about, or trying to explain, alcoholism is thereby justifying or excusing the behavior that results from it.

I don't think anyone on this thread has, Lyle. However it is a convenient straw man that the "Flog 'em and hang 'em" brigade like to use against those who argue there is a way back.

For what it's worth I read your original thread many years ago, and having struggled with substance abuse problems myself in my youth found your story enlightening and inspiring.

maat
6th Feb 2011, 18:45
thing, Sir;

I was thinking about risk reduction too, that is why I asked the question. I wanted to know how an experienced passenger perceives risk, therefore I was interested in your response to my question.

Please could you answer the question, repeated below:

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, one of whom was over the locally imposd limit for operating an aircraft at the time of report for duty?

Compared to:

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, both of whom had just had a few hours of broken sleep in an airport motel. During the flight, both pilots took it in turns to sleep, but neither could be relied upon to stay awake?

Which in your opinion (and I'm not been sarcastic, your perception of risk and opinion is valued, to me at least) is the safer operation?
6th Feb 2011 01:13

Thanks

maat

thing
6th Feb 2011, 18:59
I would go for the first one. If one pilot is over the locally imposed limit and the other isn't then obviously it's got to be safer than two overtired pilots. I take it that this isn't a hypothetical question and this does happen....(runs off to see if ocean liners still go to Oz...)

In an ideal world of course I would like my pilots to be well rested, fed properly and had their every need seen to by young trolly dollys so that they can concentrate on the job in hand and transport my ageing carcass across the seven seas in safety and comfort. (Why does the Bay of Bengal always have a bumpy ride?) But the more this thread goes on, the more I realise that I may have been living a happy, though completely misinformed flying existence.

J.O.
6th Feb 2011, 21:35
Thing, have you stopped driving or riding in cars? There are far more problems with sleepy or intoxicated drivers than there are with pilots. What say you to trying to put some perspective on life. :hmm:

thing
6th Feb 2011, 22:13
I do have perspective on life, I know that flying is the safest form of transport, that driving is more dangerous and all of the other good stuff, it's about reducing risks for the nth time. I reduce risks as much as possible while driving/gliding. My destiny is to some extent in my own hands. I've never had a flying accident in 20 years of gliding or a driving accident in 38 years of driving/riding motorcycles. That doesn't mean I'm some kind of super pilot/driver but it does mean that I assess risk and take appropriate action. As a passenger and therefore at the whim of someone else's actions I would like them to reduce risk as much as possible as well. Seems reasonable to me.

Anyhow, I'm going to leave it there, one can never put across points very well on an internet forum, there isn't a icon for inflection or wry humour. I just thought it would be good to see a passenger perspective on all of this rather than the microsociety that exists in any profession with it's own customs and language, of which I am guilty of in my line of work as much as anyone else. I shall continue to fly happily as a passenger and I wish you all well and safe landings.

aterpster
6th Feb 2011, 22:49
J.O.

There are far more problems with sleepy or intoxicated drivers than there are with pilots. What say you to trying to put some perspective on life.

Apples to apples: To compare risks the sleepy or drunk driver would have to be driving the car in which I am riding.

AvMed.IN
7th Feb 2011, 02:41
Continuing with DozyWannabe's mail, Capt Lyle Prouse's story of grit and determination is available as "From Conviction to Conviction - An Eagle Reborn" (Aviation Medicine Consultation :: AvMed - Fly Safe - Guidance, Information TIPS and Help on Aerospace Medicine with Human Factors (http://www.avmed.in/2011/02/from-conviction-to-conviction-–-an-eagle-reborn/)).
This is with his due consent, as well as encouraging words from Brian and Rob. I hope, besides Lyle's active involvement in helping others, especially pilots, come out of scourge of alcohol, his inspiring story may serve as inspiration to many.
Blue skies...all

CISTRS
7th Feb 2011, 03:15
Most pilots are paid well enough to be professional already.

So being "professional" is a function of your pay?
If you get paid for a service, you are a professional - regardless of the quantum of the pay.

Being a professional means accepting that you turn up fit for work, and in accordance with the law. It implies adjusting your lifestyle to the demands of your profession.

There seems to be too much tolerance in this thread - almost as if there is a collusion that we all know it goes on, and this poor guy got caught. His sentence is not for his disease - which is quite irrelevant - but for his unprofessional conduct.

aterpster
7th Feb 2011, 11:16
CISTRS:

Being a professional means accepting that you turn up fit for work, and in accordance with the law. It implies adjusting your lifestyle to the demands of your profession.

There seems to be too much tolerance in this thread - almost as if there is a collusion that we all know it goes on, and this poor guy got caught. His sentence is not for his disease - which is quite irrelevant - but for his unprofessional conduct

Well stated!

DozyWannabe
7th Feb 2011, 13:44
There seems to be too much tolerance in this thread - almost as if there is a collusion that we all know it goes on, and this poor guy got caught. His sentence is not for his disease - which is quite irrelevant - but for his unprofessional conduct.

Then I suggest you re-read the thread more closely - no-one that I know of has condoned this pilot's conduct, including - importantly - those who have been in a similar situation themselves and managed to recover their lives and careers.

As for "collusion", the fact it that yes, it does go on - to deny it would be to stick one's head in the sand. Denial of such on the part of the industry as a whole would be even more dangerous than the denial of the individual when it comes to admitting they have a problem.

So let's be clear - turning up for work over the proscribed blood alcohol limit is unprofessional and to do so merits severe sanction, as much for the health of the individual concerned as for their colleagues and passengers. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. However, with the correct treatment alcoholism (and many other substance dependencies) can be and are remedied - and if an individual goes on to seek help and recover, then a career "life sentence" is unwarranted. This does not however mean that it is likely to be easy, nor should it be.

maat
7th Feb 2011, 19:21
I don’t know the answer to this; perhaps one of my fellow PPRuNers does:

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?

aterpster
7th Feb 2011, 19:36
maat:

I don’t know the answer to this; perhaps one of my fellow PPRuNers does:

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?

Who knows? But, I suspect you believe the latter is much more common. I would say: of course it is, for obvious reasons.

I flew fatiqued many times. I never flew under the influence of booze, drugs, or weed. I suspect my experience is shared by almost every professional pilot.

PBL
8th Feb 2011, 08:20
How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

One known. 14 September 2008 to Aeroflot-Nord near Perm. LOC on approach.


How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?


Unknown. Such things are also not usually carefully investigated, except in countries in which accidents happen relatively rarely.

I got the data from Flight International's annual safety surveys.

PBL

ExSp33db1rd
8th Feb 2011, 08:59
How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

I suspect very few. Whereas there may well be an attempt by other crew members to 'help' a colleague to avoid the sack - and my lips are sealed - this wouldn't be carried out to the extreme of allowing oneself to be killed.

One supposes.

By comparison I know of incidents where a supposedly sober pilot ( no suspicion of it being otherwise, but then how would we know ? ) committed suicide, and the murder of many people, by engaging in action that destroyed his aircraft.

Vld1977
9th Feb 2011, 02:54
MagnusP

It's absolutely correct that this man should not have been flying while inebriated. However, what surprises me is the apparent incapacitation of an individual whose reported blood alcohol level wasn't significantly higher than that considered legal while driving. As a (presumably non-recovering) alcoholic, his system should have had a fair level of alcohol tolerance and, while unfit to fly, I'd have thought most symptoms would be well-masked. Inability to name destination? There's something else going on here.

Sorry if someone has replied before to your question, MagnusP, I haven´t got time now to finish reading the thread.

I must say I haven´t got any medical knowledge or clinical background.

If you have been closed to someone suffering from alcoholism, you may find out that an alcoholic is not necessarily the same as a heavy drinker. A heavy drinker may not be an alcoholic, and they usually develop a tolerance, I guess, by which they need higher quantities of alcohol to have an effect on them. But I have witnessed thousands of times how just a few sips of beer can drastically get an alcoholic drunk. You may not notice unless you are familiar with the person. I have witnessed many times how, sometimes even the act of opening a bottle changes the state of mind of an alcoholic.

And bear in mind that the withdrawal syndrome of alcoholism is horrible. Some say it´s even worse than that of opiates, like heroin. DT is not uncommon. An untreated alcoholic ALWAYS needs a drink, no matter the situation, it´s just a matter of how long ago their last drink was.

It may not be the general case, I am only talking about a personal experience, but if the person is an untreated alcoholic, I don´t think they should be abe to fly, drive a train or perform any critical job. Just half glass of wine can change an alcoholic from Dr jeckill into Mr Hyde.

Then again, there may be degrees, I repeat I am no expert and I am only talking about the one case I know, and other 2-3 cases associated with this person.

Regards,

etrang
9th Feb 2011, 05:24
His sentence is not for his disease

Most people here have assumed that the pilot in question is in fact an alcoholic. Is there actually any evidence that that is the case?

MagnusP
9th Feb 2011, 08:56
etrang: the "alcoholic" tag is presumably from the link posted by the OP, although I acknowledge that the usual "Daily Mail" caveats should apply.

Vld1977: I fully accept the general point you make about drinkers v alcoholics, but this fellow appears to have a familiarity with drinking ("just a few beers the previous evening"), and his blood alcohol level as reported would appear to indicate greater consumption than just a few sips taking him to a different state of mind, particularly as a number of hours had passed between his admitted consumption and his test. A few units would have metabolised over that time.

LProuse
9th Feb 2011, 15:48
I haven't figured out how to box the quotes (help!) so I've cut/pasted them in bold.

First, I AM an alcoholic (recovering with nearly 21 yrs of sobriety). I've worked in the treatment field and participated in dozens of workshops with medical professionals in the field of alcoholism. I've also worked with all the major airlines in the US. This does NOT make me an authority but I do have a little insight into this area.

I'll comment on a couple of things but will not rehash my posts of 2006/2007 on this very same topic for another pilot.

There are two very simple and separate issues:

1. The act that's committed and the consequences that follow (and I don't see much variance in opinions here about that part) and...

2. The issue of alcoholism if the person is so afflicted.

There seems to be too much tolerance in this thread - almost as if there is a collusion that we all know it goes on, and this poor guy got caught. His sentence is not for his disease - which is quite irrelevant - but for his unprofessional conduct.

I don 't know about the "tolerance" comment but the writer is correct about the conduct observation. Choices/actions/behavior are punishable without regard to the disease question - and that's as it should be. Alcoholism does NOT provide an excuse for or immunity from anything in terms of consequences.

I was not fired and sent to prison for being an alcoholic; I was fired and sent to prison for what I did - and it was fair and appropriate.

Next, what about the question of alcoholism...? As an alcoholic who was terminated for flying drunk (and appropriately so), I have no RIGHT to reinstatement; that is an option my employer may wish to consider if I address my disease - or perhaps he won't. My job is to get sober. What happens after that is NOT in my hands.

In my case, I was put back to work by the Pres/CEO of Northwest Airlines...who made a personal decision to bring me back. Given the statistical percentage of alcoholics who relapse (70%), that was an act of courage that defies explanation. And I told him at one of our meetings that if I'd been "officer in charge of risk assessment" I would not have done it. He would call me in about once a year and we'd talk. I never knew when the meeting would be or what he'd want to talk about but I thoroughly enjoyed our get togethers. I had nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

I'm sure some will want to jump on this next statement but I'm speaking from facts and not from an emotional or visceral position: every study I'm familiar with, regardless of what facet of business or industry, shows that returning alcoholic employees (recovering) become the best employees on the property. They're more loyal, grateful, productive, absent less, and are strong assets to the work place. Alcoholism is a living hell - and when we recover from it, we have a view of life that's unparalleled..and it spills over into everything - family, friends, workplace, and the world at large.

More than 4,000 recovering pilots have been put back in the cockpits since the '70s (that was the last data I had and I'm sure there are more by now). So recovery works.

Any pilot who does NOT wish to recover or will NOT comply with the requirements to do so SHOULD NOT be allowed to return - period; they should find another line of work. The airline programs, peer monitors, EAPs, monitoring doctors, random tests, etc., do a good job of policing this policy. There's a three-year monitoring program (minimum) for returning alcoholic pilots and there are a LOT of requirements. The success rate in the pilot group averages 90-95%, more than twice the average norm. But there ARE those who don't make it.

No one I've ever met has chosen to be an alcoholic anymore than someone who smokes hopes (or believes) they will die of lung cancer. There was a semi-question about "degrees of alcoholism" and it's very much like being a diabetic - you either are or you aren't. There are, however, stages of alcoholism - early, middle, and late.

If someone comes up with the old, tired "self-inflicted" nonsense, then I'll address it.

Alcoholics first use, then abuse, then slide into the disease; it's a process and not an overnight event. It's often difficult to discern abusers from potential alcoholics.

Interesting info in the US is that 7 out of every 10 people drink. Of the 7, only TWO are true, actual, "social drinkers." The other 5 abuse to some degree, maybe a little and maybe a lot. If you've ever driven home or done other things when you shouldn't have when you were drinking, then you have abused alcohol. Of the 5 abusers ONE will become alcoholic. So it's a 10% general factor overall. And higher in some ethnic populations.

As I've said before, my alcoholism does not grant me immunity from anything I DO - nor should it. But I can tell you, I live a totally different life NOW than I did when I was drinking and that's been true for nearly 21 years. I can look anyone in the eye today and I hide from nothing; that's a wonderful freedom that many non-drinkers don't even have!

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse

LProuse
10th Feb 2011, 04:08
Yorkshire Tyke asks me in a private message "Who MADE you take your first drink" as he presents the "self-inflicted" argument once again. The question was in a private message but I choose to put my answer out in the open.

The whole idea of "self-inflicted" deserves to be examined. It's possible that Yorkshire Tyke is asking an innocent and naive question; I have no way of knowing. But the general inference of that term has to do with blame and condemnation. It also usually hides a thinly disguised feeling of self-righteousness and superiority. And most of us love to feel superior.

It's easy for me to go to a casino, place a $5 bet, then walk away. For the life of me I cannot understand why a compuslive gambler just can't do the same. Doesn't he know...can't he see...??? Why is it so easy for me and so impossible for him?!

As I went through treatment and was engaged in the Twelve Step process, I learned that those Steps forced me into wider thinking; they were not narrowly confined to the issue of drinking - they applied to all of life. My views and my horizons broadened.

I'll pose a very real and likely scenario and you decide about this idea of "self-infliction":

As a child in grade school I began learning about good health. I learned about nutrition, a good diet that included fruits and vegetables, that sugar wasn't good for me, that saturated fats would clog my arteries, I should get 8 hours of sleep, and forego alcohol and tobacco. And those were only part of the requirements for a good, healthy life.

But I ignored those things and as decades passed I opted for pizza, fast foods, got along with 5 hours of sleep, smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and violated all the other tenets of a good lifestyle. I did those things because I LIKED them; I enjoyed them - in spite of what I knew about them. I KNEW as I did those things that they bode ill for me - but I did them ANYWAY. Because I never thought the bad things would happen to ME; those things always happened to others.

So, when I end up in the hospital sick, or as a fatality due to one of the three great killers in the US, cancer, heart attack, or stroke, how can one say the particular event was NOT "self-inflicted"? It's self-inflicted through deliberate choices I made over time. We just don't view it that way.

As an 18 or 20 year old I picked up my first glass of wine or liquor. I did NOT know where it would lead me. I had no way of knowing! After all, 90% of the public can drink normally and safely. Even if I possessed any specific knowledge at that young age, WHY would I ever think I'd be in the 10% who couldn't drink safely; that I would be an alcoholic?!

But we love to tell the alcoholic that their disease is self-inflicted. Why? What's the payoff for us when we do that? It's inside of us and I covered it earlier.

I've never seen anyone hold the hand of a loved one who was dying of lung cancer from smoking, look in their eyes, and say, "You know...this is all self-inflicted; you have no one to blame but yourself." Or say that to a loved one who was overweight, diabetic with all the associated problems, and on dialysis. These situations are far more deliberately self-inflicted than a person who thought they could drink safely, intended to drink safely, tried to drink safely, and years later discovered they could not drink safely.

We feel pity and sorrow for the cancer victim - and hate and disgust for the alcoholic. It's just the way it is.

So - if you feel that alcoholics deliberately self-inflict a disease upon themselves that eventually kills them and emotionally murders all those who have a loving attachment to them, then you're welcome to that.

And for any who are so misguided as to think they've had a near perfect and flawless journey through life, free of fault, error, bad choices, and misgivings - I can only suggest you may have set your standards far too low.

My alcoholism has given me empathy, understanding, and tolerance. I did not say I excused the alcoholic; I've just learned to distinguish between the acts and the actor with the disease.

When I deal with another alcoholic, I'm a steel fist in a velvet glove and I don't accept any nonsense. Either they get serious about getting well...or they find someone who'll co-sign their BS.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse

SR71
10th Feb 2011, 11:05
A couple of thoughts....

1) I have great respect and admiration for your story Captain Prouse. Long may it continue to inspire others.

2) I'm not sure whether it is good form (unless without consent?) to make private conversations public but you have exercised your perrogative....

3) I have no idea what Yorkshire's reason for participating in the debate is and what his experience is with the "alcoholic condition" but I suspect his exposure to either it or its effects may be intimate. I mentioned my own experience previously.

4) People might think that "alcoholism is self-inflicted" for all kinds of reasons. Attempting to understand what those reasons are doesn't necessarily move the debate any further forward.

5) I'm not sure you have advanced any significant arguments to refute Yorkshire's ultimate claim? You've characterised the position and told them they're ....welcome to that.

6) If a rational basejumper, cogizant of the risks, keeps jumping off cliffs and eventually paralyses himself, most of his mates will be devastated but it doesn't change the fundamental reality that the injury is self-inflicted.

7) Christian Bale lost 62lbs preparing for the movie "The Machinist" by eating one apple a day and consuming one coffee a day (275 calories) for 4 months - have a look at some pictures of him if you haven't seen the film. It is incredible what transformation making simple (not necessarily easy!) choices every day can effect.

8) The debate is important because none of us benefit if we don't take the appropriate amount of responsibility for the consequences of our own actions.

9) Quotes can be included in your posts using "quote" tags.

:ok:

AvMed.IN
10th Feb 2011, 15:03
Maat,
you have inquired about the incidents or accidents due to alcohol and fatigue.
Off hand, it may be difficult to dig out such statistics, but I may provide you with an abstract from a study on alcohol violations by airline pilots (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730652/). As per this study, "During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006. The majority (85%) of the incidents were first identified by airport personnel, such as security screeners, based on suspicion of alcohol use by the pilot. Subsequent alcohol testing revealed a mean BAC of 90 mg/dL (ranging from 10 mg · dL−1 to 182 mg · dL−1). Of the 17 pilots, 6 were known to be prosecuted criminally, including 5 who were sentenced to jail terms."

As for fatigue, there are so many variables including (stressful) situation, motivation and time of the day which may help a compromised pilots' state of alertness, where he/she copes up successful landings and take-offs except in few unfortunate instances.

Interestingly in case of alcohol, the individual is accountable whereas in case of fatigue, even if an individual may commit errors, invariably it is the ops which is responsible. This could be due to poorly planned rostering and/or inadequate periods of rest and recuperation. However, fatigue compromises aviation safety routinely and more often by forceful actions by airline (http://www.avmed.in/2010/12/unsafe-deceit-air-india-extends-pilots-duty-hours/) or compromised conditions due to inadequate rest periods (http://www.avmed.in/2011/01/lost-sleep-compromised-safety/).

Yet since the thread is discussing alcoholism, without condoning the act of the pilot, should one not appreciate that there are systems in place to prevent a 'drunk' pilot from flying and the study quoted above affirms that. It may be equally important that the airlines too, instead of continuing to look at their profitability, start investing in their most vital resource - the human resource. And here I do not mean just 'remunerations' by using the word 'investing' - it means much more than just being a paid employee!

LProuse
10th Feb 2011, 17:51
2) I'm not sure whether it is good form (unless without consent?) to make private conversations public but you have exercised your perrogative....

4) People might think that "alcoholism is self-inflicted" for all kinds of reasons. Attempting to understand what those reasons are doesn't necessarily move the debate any further forward.

I do not wish to harm or embarrass anyone. I try (not always successfully) to not do or say something I'm not willing to put in the open. If something is said in an expressed confidence I honor that; if something is said or done in the shadows, I do not. I do not view a private msg on PPRUNE as an acknowledged or specific request for confidence; there are many reasons someone may not respond in an open forum. I am not ascribing any sort of tainted motive to the comments I received and the ultimate question about who MADE me take my first drink; I merely responded.

I disagree that people think alcoholism is self-inflicted for all kinds of reasons; that has not been my personal experience over the past 21 years. The reasons are usually very limited and pointed.

Long ago I recognized that the shame, stigma, and attitude about alcoholism and alcoholics will not appreciably change in my lifetime. So I'm on no crusade to do that. Those things will only be changed one person at a time and usually through personal experiences with a recovering person(s). Until the early-mid 70s, no alcoholic pilot in the US was ever allowed to fly again. We've come a long way since then.

Many of the myths and misinformation in the public sector are dissolved through personal, actual, up close experiences with people who are recovering.

There are all sorts of analogies that can be dreamt up as examples of self infliction....so to each his/her own.

Using your analogy of the base jumper who performs many successful jumps and is then paralyzed, hence his injury is self inflicted; we could also say that any pilot who's flown many years and thousands of hours and is killed in a plane crash dies as the result of a self-inflicted cause. I've had many friends killed in crashes over the years but I have yet to hear anyone say their death was self-inflicted.

Nothing I say will have any affect on those whose minds are already made up, and that's okay. I don't intend to keep posting about this subject. All I've done is try to put forth information that has at least some basis in truth and fact, along with personal experience.

Alcoholism is MY disease; it's not necessary that others understand it. It's only necessary that I do - because I will either live WITH it or I will die FROM it.

I wish everyone well.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse

YorkshireTyke
11th Feb 2011, 02:01
.............but I suspect his exposure to either it or its effects may be intimate........


Correct. I'm not prepared to elaborate other than to say it isn't me that is the alcoholic, but it sure affects my life, and yes, I may be biased and bigotted as a result. Capt. Prouse has accurately stated that it isn't necessary to be way over the limit, it's like a switch in the brain that is activated almost at the sight of the bottle, and others have to then deal with the consequences.


......It's easy for me to go to a casino, place a $5 bet, then walk away. For the life of me I cannot understand why a compuslive gambler just can't do the same.......

because he is ALREADY a compulsive gambler - that answers your own question - but why is he/she ? Were they a compulsive gambler before they ever went near their first casino ? Probably voluntarily, tho' of course there might have been a lot of peer pressure, or simply idle curiosity.

Thank you, Capt. Prouse, for your frank and honest discourse, I'm outta here now.

LProuse
14th Feb 2011, 00:33
because he is ALREADY a compulsive gambler - that answers your own question - but why is he/she ? Were they a compulsive gambler before they ever went near their first casino ? Probably voluntarily,

It's abundantly clear that you have a rigid, fixed, entrenched notion, a defend-to-the-death idea that alcoholics and addicts "volunteer" for a life of alcoholism and addiction. Somehow, some way, it's imperative that you put that on them and keep it there. There can only be one reason for that - you get some sort of positive benefit or reinforcement in a personal way.
and yes, I may be biased and bigotted as a result.

That doesn't make you a bad person and I'm not inferring that it does; it's not a crime and you're entitled to that. It is, however, one of the mainstays in maintaining the stigma and shaming elements of this disease.

I do NOT hold people responsible for becoming something they never intended; I DO hold them responsible for their recovery once they know they have the disease.

There is an abundance of medical and scientific data available all over the internet about this disease if you should ever care enough to actually study it. There are also books, videos, studies, and mountains of credible information....if you ever decide to challenge your own gut feelings and personal ideas.

And, NO, I did not answer my own question. You either failed to thoroughly read all my comments....or you chose to miss the point.

On page 568 of the primary text called Alcoholics Anonymous, also referred to as "The Big Book," is a very apropos passage quoting Herbert Spencer:

"There is a principle which is a bar agains all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -- that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

A merry-go-round is a pleasant and enjoyable ride. Until the same scenery has been passed so many times as to become tiring. I'm jumping off the merry-go-round at this point.

A closed mind is always the prerogative of the person who owns it.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse

bubbers44
14th Feb 2011, 02:29
Thanks Lyle. You have helped a lot of pilots telling your story.

ExSp33db1rd
14th Feb 2011, 07:48
...I'm jumping off the merry-go-round at this point.

Looks like Yorkshire Tyke jumped off before you !! He probably decided that continued banging his head against a brick wall was self-inflicted !

I do NOT hold people responsible for becoming something they never intended;

I go along with that, in so far as alchoholism,and maybe gambling, can take hold from apparently innocuous beginnings.

I DO hold them responsible for their recovery once they know they have the disease.

So .. if they know, and continue without attempting to find a solution, isn't that self-infliction ?

I'm not going to get on this merry-go-round. S'long.

Shell Management
14th Feb 2011, 20:43
Off hand, it may be difficult to dig out such statistics, but I may provide you with an abstract from a study on alcohol violations by airline pilots (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730652/). As per this study, "During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006. The majority (85%) of the incidents were first identified by airport personnel, such as security screeners, based on suspicion of alcohol use by the pilot. Subsequent alcohol testing revealed a mean BAC of 90 mg/dL (ranging from 10 mg · dL−1 to 182 mg · dL−1). Of the 17 pilots, 6 were known to be prosecuted criminally, including 5 who were sentenced to jail terms."


So the majority of reports come from security screeners and other airport personnel. :D

Heliport
14th Feb 2011, 22:45
.
.So a total of only 15 incidents in 4½ years. :D

.

DX Wombat
15th Feb 2011, 12:59
Heliport, I think you mean only fifteen IDENTIFIED incidents reported by the Press. Who knows how many others were either identified and dealt with without the Press being aware of them or, worse, not identified at all.

Heliport
15th Feb 2011, 20:33
DX Wombat

I meant what I said and said what I meant.
I was responding to a specific post which referred to a specific study.

If you want to engage in speculation that's your choice.

Shell Management
15th Feb 2011, 21:27
Heliport

As 100% detection and 100% action and 100% press reporting is extremly remote, DX Wombat is right to add "IDENTIFIED".

However you have failed to read the research and have the wrong number of incidents.

Did you notice some incidents involved multiple pilots? Scary.

Heliport
15th Feb 2011, 21:57
Shell Management However you have failed to read the research and have the wrong number of incidents. I didn't fail to read the research but I did get my maths wrong: I should have said 11 incidents in 4½ years, not 15.
Re the your other point - I have nothing to add to what I've already said. You are free to speculate if you wish to do so.

Yes, I noticed some incidents involved multiple pilots. However, I don't share your view that the findings are "scary". When I travel with an airline I regard the risk of one or more of the pilots being under the influence of alcohol as so minuscule that it doesn't scare me in the slightest.

H.

Shell Management
15th Feb 2011, 22:05
17 is 50% greater than 11.
You might not take this safety problem seriously but there is no reason to distort the data.

Heliport
15th Feb 2011, 22:29
SM

From the research: "During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006."

Accordingly, 13-2, the study found 11 incidents in 4½ years.
Even counting pilots rather than incidents, the figure is still tiny: 17 in the 16½ years studied (Jan 1990 - June 2006).

You might not take this safety problem seriously
I don't accept there is a "problem".
I am fully aware that, on extremely rare occasions, airline pilots are found to be over the legal limit but I'm entirely satisfied that the overwhelming majority do not drink and fly.
If anecdotes are to be believed, more used to. However, the chances of detection and attitudes towards drinking and flying have both changed. It may well be that the former is a contributing factor to the latter. There is certainly a greater understanding that drinking excessively the previous night may leave a pilot over the legal limit the next day.
.

etrang
16th Feb 2011, 11:52
If anecdotes are to be believed, more used to.

If you want to engage in speculation that's your choice. However, the report clearly states that 2 incidents were identified between Jan 1990 and Dec 2001, and 11 incidents between Jan 2002 and June 2006. Quite a dramatic increase in rate of incidents over time.

Shell Management
16th Feb 2011, 21:46
Come on guys! Get real! Do any of you suppose that even one in a hundred over-the-limit pilots are detected? One in a thousand maybe?

I agree. Those detected are just the tip of the iceberg.

DX Wombat
16th Feb 2011, 22:17
Agaricus bisporus and Shell Management thank you, that is precisely the point I was trying to make when I said the incidents were only the ones which had been identified.

Flying Lawyer
17th Feb 2011, 08:04
etrang

You are confusing anecdotal evidence and speculation.
They are very different.


Quite a dramatic increase in rate of incidents over time.
It is important to understand that an increase in recorded activity does not necessarily reflect an increase in the activity.
eg An increase in the number of prosecutions for a particular offence does not necessarily mean that the offence is being committed more often. More active detection and/or stricter enforcement frequently results in a significant reduction in the offending - which is the objective.

FL

wiggy
17th Feb 2011, 23:17
etrang However, the report clearly states that 2 incidents were identified between Jan 1990 and Dec 2001, and 11 incidents between Jan 2002 and June 2006.

Ten out of ten for misleading use of statistics.

Most recent instances of pilots being "snagged" seem to have originated by reports from security staff at screening points. Look back to pre to 9/11 days and consider how often a pilot would be come into "intimate" contact with security staff; for those that don't know pre 9/11 it was possible in many parts of the world for Flight Crew to access the ramp and their aircraft without going through any security screening, something utterly impossible now. I'd suggest the sampling percentage has gone up since 9/11 and a raw comparison of the number of violations in the 90s verses those in more recent years is utterly meaningless.

Shell Management
22nd Feb 2011, 17:51
So clearly better monitoring techniques would help. Why not a breathlyser too?

edmundronald
23rd Feb 2011, 18:26
I am tired of this hypocrisy. Alcoholics do not have the God-given right because of their "disease" to turn up drunk, take the controls of an airplane and fly it. As an SLF I do not deserve to die because the colleagues of an alcoholic refrain from knocking him off duty. Alcoholics have the right to ask for treatment, which can then be administered while they are provisionally placed in a non-flying paid position and dry out, or they can change jobs and continue to indulge.

Shell Management
3rd Apr 2011, 14:40
edmundronald

Spot on. And if they cchoose to chance it, rigorous monitoring and stiff enforcement is necessary. The Soviet Union certainly knew how to prevent drunk pilots taking to the air.

jungle drums
3rd Apr 2011, 14:52
Or retire from the flight deck and take up a position in management, like the great sm.

For whom it seems the pressure has become too great.

With your motor mouth going off on every thread, you make it look like you are either an arrogant, sad lonely old git or have had quite a few too many on a quiet Sunday afternoon there in Scheveningen...or probably both.

In fact why don't you do us all a favour and head down to Scheveningen pier and jump off the end?

Shell Management
3rd Apr 2011, 15:04
JD

And thank you for your contribution too;)

chuks
3rd Apr 2011, 16:07
You folks who posit a vast number of drunken pilots who escape detection... do you assume that alcohol abuse is rampant in society at large too? The wife burns your toast so that you think she must have been getting at the cooking sherry again? (Actually, marriage to some of you lot would probably drive any reasonable person to drink so that I better drop that one as an example.)

There is an obvious problem with alcohol abuse in aviation; one drunken pilot is one too many. That said, I think that there are controls in place to detect the abusers. There are also programs in place to help those with problems who want to be helped and other programs to get people out of aviation who do not want to be helped.

There are many things that we do not test for at the 100% level. To ensure the level of safety some of you seem to want (really: pose as wanting) would mean a battery of tests, including psychological testing, before each and every flight. Hey, Captain Bloggs says he's just off to use the toilet on a stop-over at Podunk International; in reality he might be doing lines of coke off his charts there in the toilet stall. Or, he gets a call from the wife that some woman named FiFi called up to say that she is pregnant, when he suddenly turns suicidal... Whatever.

As things now stand we just assume, for the most part, that these people in positions of responsibility will act responsibly. My God! It is almost as if we allow just anybody, anytime, to take the wheel of a car and race down the road just inches from a head-on collision with no checks on that at all. Oh, wait....

Shell Management
3rd Apr 2011, 16:16
Well all sorts of substance abuse needs to be considered.

At least there are drugs dogs at airports!;)

chuks
3rd Apr 2011, 16:49
You can consider anything you like, SM, a long walk off a short pier, for instance, but I think that most people are comfortable with the level of control for alcohol abuse that we have in aviation right now.

Some people (many managers I have known, for instance) do indicate a testing failure, per se, but most people are qualified for their job and they also do it to proper standards, including pilots. Of course those who are unsuitable may either slip through the net in the first place or later escape detection for being unsuitable, when nobody is arguing that alcoholics have a right to work as pilots.

All you have to do is think about the wide range of jobs the weak, the work-shy, the incompetent and the partially-impaired have available to them, such as taking a typical management position, becoming a toady among toadies, to see that you are correct in thinking that there is absolutely no excuse for being such a person and working as a pilot, when aviation can be a very demanding and unforgiving profession. There, at least, we are in complete agreement.:ok: