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Old 22nd Aug 2015, 20:08
  #9 (permalink)  
old,not bold
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 790
Once upon a time ('70s), we hired a pilot to operate mainly between the UAE mainland and an island oil terminal, some 100 miles offshore. He flew as Captain on the F27, as well as flying the Skyvan single-crew. He was a quiet, friendly chap, if a little withdrawn.

All went well for many months, perhaps as long as a year. He was a model staff member, on-time, reliable, friendly, proficient. None of the F/Os who flew with him ever made any adverse comments, officially or otherwise.

The programme was arranged so that everyone got home in the evening; there were no scheduled nightstops away from base.

However one day, the F27 went tech at the island terminal on its last visit of the day, and the crew were invited to spend the night in the oil company's lavish facilities. Lavish, but totally dry, bringing alcohol was a sacking offence.

At about 2.00 am, our pilot was arrested, staggering about the mess, totally out of control, shouting and cursing and demanding a drink. He was restrained under medical care, and diagnosed as an alcoholic suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

It transpired that with his wife's help, he kept the alcohol level in his blood at a level that would cause most people to pass out. From the day he had started, he had been in this condition every time he flew, as he was, of course at all other times as well. The unexpected lack of alcohol that night was the cause of his downfall.

We put him and his long-suffering, but guilty as hell, wife on the first flight to Europe, and that was the last we saw of him.

I later discovered that within a few weeks he was back flying helicopters (he was well-qualified) on the North Sea. No-one had asked us why he left; we would have told them if they had. I did take some action, not wishing to read that he had killed himself and his passengers and crew because I did nothing, but it was ignored, as far as I knew.
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