View Full Version : Pilot arrested at Manchester (merged)

24th Aug 2004, 07:38
The BBC reports that a Finnish Pilot due to fly a 757 from Manchester to Dalaman was arrested yesterday, Monday 23rd, on suspicion of excess alcohol.

The flight was delayed several hours whilst fresh crew were detailed for the flight.

The pilot has been bailed until the 26th October pending tests on his blood sample.

srs what?
24th Aug 2004, 07:51
Finnair, Finnair pilot flying on the Air Scandic contract?

24th Aug 2004, 13:37
Who said he was Finnair? Sweatbox till blood tests return.

Orion Man
24th Aug 2004, 13:51
Finnish pilot working for Air Scandic according to teletext. Poor guy - stupid thing to do and now he will pay the penalty.

24th Aug 2004, 14:25
Poor guy
Not if he really was drunk, he very definitely is NOT a "poor guy"

Orion Man
24th Aug 2004, 14:42

You don't know the circumstances as to why he may have been drinking and neither do I. The fact remains that if guilty, his aviation career is likely to be over. For that reason he has my sympathy.

As I said in the previous post, a stupid thing to do and he will suffer the consequences. I'm sure he knows that.

24th Aug 2004, 16:04
If he is found guilty then there is no sympathy,we all Know what the consequences are and he knew that A)before he started drinking and B) when he went to work.Many of us(and me included)have been close to the line I would not want(or seak)anyones sympathy and the reasons that he is allegded to have done it are irrelevent.

24th Aug 2004, 16:19
Easy to say Matcat when your viewing it from the outside. Any number of mental/emotional problems beyond his control...its just a miracle that it was noticed when it was and before departure...Its sad because people who do things like this just dont realise what their doing and if this is the situation here, I do feel very sorry for the pilot involved.

Something similiar happened with Royal Brunei a few weeks back didnt it???

Special Limitation
24th Aug 2004, 16:53
Im ex Air Scandic and have first hand experience with these guys. I will only say Im not surprised and will watch the outcome with interest.

24th Aug 2004, 16:59
I am sorry if this sounds harsh but there is to much of "it is not my fault" syndrome if an airline pilot turns up for work over the alcohol limit then I am sorry but it is His/Her fault if He/She turns to drink/drugs to compensate for emotional or other problems then that said person will sooner or later either be caught or cause an accident.The long and the short of the situation is that we are employed to take Pax from A-B if we cannot do this without consuming to much alcohol then We should no longer be in that position,and no it is not easy for me to say because as you will read in my previous post I have also been in a similar situation.As for the Royal Brunei situation,I do recall something about this but have been on holiday recently have not been keeping up on it,sorry.

24th Aug 2004, 18:03
"Who said he was Finnair?"

According to some reports the plane was on wet lease from Finnair.

24th Aug 2004, 19:40
there may be reasons he was in this state - if so you phone in sick or make some other excuse - If you fly pissed you have only YOURSELF to blame and should NOT expect sympathy from other pilots.:*

Mr @ Spotty M
24th Aug 2004, 21:23
The very wording "Wet Lease" from Finnair means that the crew will be supplied by Finnair.

24th Aug 2004, 22:02
and "Dry Lease" means no drinking 12 hours before departure :uhoh:

Sorry, I'll get me coat. But seriously, there are no excuses.....we get paid alot of money to be responsible (at least while we're at work)

24th Aug 2004, 23:00
Errrr has he been found to be drunk or was he checked and suspended pending the results. You lot are a bunch of @@@@@.

he is not guilty at the moment. if he was palstered then he will get what he deserves.

He was a reported by a carpark bus driver more than one of which have a dislike of pilots. the driver is not qualified to judge someone and may ruin someones career with an accusation. lets wait and see before we hang this guy. what if he is below the limit , will the bus driver be pulled up or continue to seeth with angst and jealousy when he goes to work, the jobsworth floodgates are open gentlemen ..prepare your own wellies and dont punch holes in someone elses.

you are all at the mercy of someone accusing you should they have the motive, with no repercussuions ......for them!!!

25th Aug 2004, 00:19
How did we all manage when we weren't subject to random drug testing, alcohol testing and The brilliant employees of the TSA treating
pilots as criminals.

There was a time when Airline pilots were trusted as the professionals that the vast majority of us are, to use their own judgement on alcohol use as well as laws like 8hrs bottle to throttle.

This is not politically correct, but I cannot possibly condemn this pilot, many of us including myself have pushed the limit, not as much anymore of course, with the scrutiny we endure but why not ask this question.

With the exception of the JAL DC8, how many airline accidents do any of you know of where alcohol was even suspected as a factor?

How many of us have flown fatigued to 'get the job done' and may have been just as impaired as someone with a hangover.

As pilots we constantly have to 'approve ourselves for flight'
if we were all adamant about not flying when we do not feel optimal there would be a lot of cancellations, how many of us are under pressure not to call in sick and avoid doing so to stay out of the office?

I don't endorse this pilot's breaking 'the law' but I wonder how 'impaired' he really was, unlike some others on this forum who have no mercy and seem incapable of mistakes themselves
my heart goes out to this guy, and I hope his life is not ruined.

If you've ever flown fatigued, you're impaired as well, gone to work after an argument with the wife and can't get it off your mind? you name it.

25th Aug 2004, 07:31
True, we need to know the facts, i.e. whether or not he actually was drunk!

But what staggers me, and to be honest frightens me, is the "professional" pilots quick to defend one of their brethen even if he was drunk.

I assume you'd be as forgiving if he'd jumped in a car and mown down a small child?

25th Aug 2004, 08:10
Nobody on this thread has defended showing up for work over the limit.
Nobody has jumped into a car to mow down a small child.
Some people have expressed the fact that while they totally condemn the possible sin, they feel sorry for the sinner's life being in tatters if his BAC turns out to have been too high. A human and laudable sentiment, and definitely one step higher up on the evolutionary ladder than the hang-'em-high gut reflex displayed by some others here.

25th Aug 2004, 08:39
Nobody has jumped into a car to mow down a small child.
My memory is either letting me down, or I didn't actually say that.

My point is that to be found/suspected or whatever of being "Under the influence" seems to be much more acceptable if the individual is in the flying fraternity. That is not neccesarily the reality, but it is the feel of some posts.

And I am very sorry but if the individual's BAC does turn out to be too high then he gets no sympathy from me. If that makes me sub-human, then I am very, very, very disturbed by the direction both society and this industry is taking.

I certainly would not expect such sympathy if I was a drunk driver, why the difference here?

But, as I said, and was obviously ignored in my previous post, we do need to know the truth first. My opinions are valid if he is found to be guilty of the crime.

25th Aug 2004, 10:12
Some of you tend to think this a "found guilty" thread.I for one am not doing that,I neither know the person or the facts involved my post purely reflected if He/She or any FCM is caught trying to operate an aircraft whilst "under the influence"My post is neither personal nor accusary but is merely pointing out my thoughts on this person or any other SHOULD they be found guilty,afterall if I go out tonight and drink to many and drive my car home and get caught am I likely to get any sympathy from my fellow members here? absolutely not!and I would not expect it either.Sometimes in this life We have to stand up and take responsibilty for our actions and it is no use blaming unseen bus drivers for what they may and may not like.

25th Aug 2004, 10:12
1: Because the limits are as low as they can reliably detect in man or woman. Fatigue has the same effect. I see no effort to reduce the amount of hours we can be strapped into the aircraft.

2: Drink driving limits are considerably higher and you have to try really hard to be over those limits and if you are, you are indeed drunk.

3: The new laws are not a deterrent to crews with alcohol problems. This is an illness and should be treated as such. We all have a part to play in that.

4: Finally the tabloid headlines that scream “drunk pilot arrested” are usually far from the truth…as we all know and are never put right if the allegations are subsequently found to be not true.

Orion Man
25th Aug 2004, 14:05
Hear hear max_cont & flapsforty.

Eal401 and matkat - Nobody here is defending the pilot involved for the alledged offence.

Lets hope neither of you make a mistake in your private lives that impinges upon your ability to do your job. By your own code, you will never be forgiven, the reasons for your mistake never understood by anyone and the key thrown away forever.

25th Aug 2004, 14:13
There was an article today in HBL (main Swedish newspaper in Finland) that the pilot in question had just eaten a youghurt, and Finnair management is sure that's a false alarm:

Who is going to believe that is a different thing...

Nevertheless, I think it is a shame that Manchester news (sorry, I don't remember the exact name of the web mag) published his name yesterday. In my opinion they should have waited for the results of blood tests first.

25th Aug 2004, 16:41
You don't know the circumstances as to why he may have been drinking and neither do I. The fact remains that if guilty, his aviation career is likely to be over. For that reason he has my sympathy.

I'm sorry Orion Man - I have obviously missed something here. Please could you explain under what circumstances it would be ok to pilot a plane full of passengers or otherwise while voluntarily incapacitated through alcohol or otherwise?

The travelling public rely on the fact that their pilot is going to be fully capable of flying the aircraft. If they do not have this confidence, then haow many are going to fly?

25th Aug 2004, 16:57
Orian Man,I am NOT criticising anyone,as I have said I do not Know the Man or the circumstances and if You would have taken the time to read my other posts you will realise that I have indeed "sailed close to the wind".For your benefit let me put a scenario to You(and this is hypothetical)
Drunk Pilot causes an accident and some people are hurt/injured he is found over the limit,what do YOU think the punishment should be?
But before You decide you have to take into account that his wife has been having an Affair his teenage Daughter is a Druggie and his Son has been killed recently by a drunk driver.Your punishment please.And please no flaming saying this is a ridiclous scenario as I know it is but is also a possible one.

Orion Man
25th Aug 2004, 17:59

Under no circumstances. I don't know where i'm supposed to have justified that there are !


I have read your other posts so please do not patronise me. As for your hypothetical scenario, if the guy has problems and the way he is dealing with them is to drink close to duty periods, he should not be flying. I am not arguing with anyone here that a pilot under the influence of drink should not be punished and his licence removed.

All I have said is that I feel sorry for the pilot in question because he (if guilty) has made a grave error and the ramifications for his career and family life will be far reaching.

You yourself have admitted you have sailed close to the wind and the alcohol limit now is very stringent. There for the grace of God go all of us. If it happened to you, you too would have my sympathy despite the fact humanity and pity are attributes you obviously reject.

25th Aug 2004, 20:12
a) He was reported by a busdriver, a specialist that is:(
b) F/O on the flight and other crewmembers did not notice anything suspicious (a conspiracy perhaps)
c) Company has not suspended him
d) Pilot in question is, by the company, considered innocent until proven guilty
e) Something is wrong when it takes 6 weeks to get results of an blood alcohol test
d) in UK the tabloid papers are prosecutor, judge, jury and the hangman... No need for justice, in the public eye the man is guilty, regardless the truth

25th Aug 2004, 20:37
Seems JJ Flyer has the best scenario...and has the thought process to actually come to a very reasonable conclusion.

Others here it seems have their head up the place where the 'sun don't shine'.

Hardly surprising, is it not?:p :p

25th Aug 2004, 20:48

According to the Swedish-language newspaper you posted, it was an evening flight to Turkey. Either the captain was an absolute alkie to take a drink upon departure, or his yogurt did him in. Usually, in these so-called "drunk pilot" circumstances, the ones who get caught are the early-morning riser pilots who have had one too many the night before and the alcometer still reads positive. It seems strange that this guy had a few in the afternoon or evening just before his flight. I'm glad Finnair is standing behind him and as they say, it would be the first time a Finnair pilot has been connected for alcohol abuse.

25th Aug 2004, 20:59
The ONE thing that is missing here is
Was the Pilot "Breathalised"?
If "yes" and a "positive" result, then TSB!
If "no" etc.....
Wait for the Official outcome before passing sentence.

25th Aug 2004, 21:22
Max Count, a word for small spherical objects springs to mind.

The UK drink drive limits are 4 times the limits under the new act. In fact, if you have just over a pint you are probably over the UK drink drive limit. In most cases, you will certainly NOT be drunk. And trust me, you do not have to try hard to be over.

As regards to the aviation limit being at the limit of what can be detected...Shoe makers. Several countries have a ZERO drink drive limit. They have no problem detecting any alcohol in the body.

If Pilots are suffering from the illness then go sick. As has been pointed out there is no excuse nor is it reasonable to fly a plane load of passengers while having had too much to drink.

Sorry to be blunt, but get your facts correct and I wont have to be.


It takes the same time to get a drink drive blood test result. Why is that a problem?

So the bus driver reported him? OK, why should he not? If you got on a bus and smelt alcohol on the driver I presume you would do nothing then?

Your right he is innocent until proven otherwise, some people seem to believe he's innocent, because he's a pilot.

25th Aug 2004, 22:22
Orion Man

Appologies if I have mis-understood your the part of your post that I quoted. That was the way it read to me.

26th Aug 2004, 04:11
Just wondering what the limit actually is?? Does anyone have an actual figure?? Will one be over the limit if they have just two beers with their meals the night before (12 hours prior to the shift), I'm sure you could squeeze some amount of Alcohol out if you tried.

Orion Man
26th Aug 2004, 06:44
20mg per 100ml of blood - 1/4 of the drink drive limit.

26th Aug 2004, 07:14
Back home we have one of the srtictest drink/drive laws.
It takes no more than 3 days to get the results for a blood alcohol test, and it is called operating under influence. One is first breathalyze tested and then if there is a question will the suspect set for a blood test.

Breathalyzer tests are notoriously inaccurate, We experimented with eating fruit as after a few hours of having apples, oranges, bananas etc breathalyzer reading went up.

I'll repeat my previous post

a) He was reported by a busdriver, a specialist that is
b) F/O on the flight and other crewmembers did not notice anything suspicious (a conspiracy perhaps)
c) Company has not suspended him
d) Pilot in question is, by the company, considered innocent until proven guilty
e) Something is wrong when it takes 6 weeks to get results of an blood alcohol test
d) in UK the tabloid papers are prosecutor, judge, jury and the hangman... No need for justice, in the public eye the man is guilty, regardless the truth

26th Aug 2004, 07:55
bjcc , notice how I got your name right…you should try it some time. :p

Yes the drink drive limit is 4 times the fly limit. I still believe that if you have drunk enough to be over the drive limit and still be over the limit in the morning after, you have had to try really hard. If you drive after a night down the pub and get into your car and drive you are trying very hard to be charged with drink driving through sheer stupidity…you never know exactly what your BAC is so you’re risking it. Alcohol affects different people in different ways depending on many factors, as you well know. Your statement that the limit is just over a pint is if I may say “shoe makers”

Because I have a family member who is a serving police officer I had the chance to be breathalysed after a few beers one evening, (no I wasn’t driving) I was shown to be under the limit but I was definitely feeling the drink. I would never have considered myself fit to drive but the law said otherwise…so if you don’t mind I won’t trust you.

I said the limits are as low as they can reliably detect in man or woman That would of course depend on what equipment they the police officer had with them on the day. As the old breathalysers are replaced I’m sure the sensitivity of the new units would naturally improve. What other counties do is irrelevant unless you are in that country committing the offence. FWIW IMHO a zero BAC requirement for certain drivers does nothing to improve driving, it only increases the number of driving offences.

The law is IMHO more about harmonisation than about safety. As I said fatigue and stress have a similar affect on performance and decision-making. But vast amounts of pressure is applied by the airlines to ensure they get as little restriction on the duty hours as they can get away with…after all there’s bigger profits to be had.

The trouble with alcoholics is that in the vast majority of instances, they can’t or won’t admit they have a problem, so how do you expect them to report sick?

Just for the record bjcc, I don’t have an opinion as to whether the pilot is innocent or guilty, I just get that feeling of déjà vu whenever you read of yet another drunk pilot in the tabloids. If and when the pilot is found not to be guilty, I bet I won’t see any shock headlines stating that fact.

I don’t know of any pilot that believes drinking and flying is ok. We are generally a pretty professional lot. True there is always the exception, but there are better ways of dealing with that.

It won't go up!
26th Aug 2004, 08:21
I thought that most civilised parts of the world individuals were innocent until proven guilty; the general tone of this tread is rather damming towards this chap based on little evidence.

Can anyone be certain that a biased third party has not decided to cause trouble or a zealous member of staff / public was trying to protect the public?

26th Aug 2004, 09:33

Firstly I was a serving Police Officer. The Drink Driving limit in the UK is approx equal to 2.5 units of alcohol for the avarage person.

1 unit of alcohol = 1/2 pint of normal strength beer.

Therefore 2.5 units = 1.25 pints.

Most people are not drunk on that amount. And no one is suggesting they are. The shoe markers are back with you.

I have no idea when you were breathtested, and whether it was the old 'bag' type on the newer ESD. If it was the bag, there were unreliable and thats the reason why there arn't used anymore. If it was the ESD, then I might suggest that you may well have still been going up. The alcohol content in your body does not just happen it takes time to absorbed.

I would suggest therefore (and I couldn't care less if you trust me, its not my driving licence at risk) you re think your opinons.

To say you would have to be drunk the night before to still be over the limit the following day is again not true. I have breath tested myself the morning after a few drinks and I was still over. I certainly wasn't drunk the night before.

I am fully aware of the fact that unless you are a country that has a zero limit it doesn't affect you. I pointed it out to show that BAC is mesurable in quatities less than the UK flying limit. It may be it only increases the driving offence numbers, of course it maybe that it also makes everyone aware that they cannot drink and drive at all.

I have read very little about this particular case. I am aware the press make a fuss over this sort of thing and they don't retract in the event of someone being proven innocent. That however goes for every occupation they can sensationalise, not just pilots.

26th Aug 2004, 10:53
Orian Man,my apologies if you thought I was patronizing you as I most certainly was not,it only appeared to me that you had read only one of my posts.
as you say I have admitted that I have sailed close to the wind but I have never went into it.

26th Aug 2004, 11:28
If this pilot is genuinely guilty then he deserves the full force of the law. There ought not to be misplaced sympathy even though you do wonder what would lead to people doing this.

In the U.K. people are innocent until proven guilty - (though this principle seems rather "thin" in some situations). Guilt has to be proven in court - beyond a reasonable doubt.

I'll bet that any judge sentencing an aviation professional for this offence will be thinking of imprisonment. The court can hear mitigation - (that's where all the points about emotional problems etc. come in) - but it's going to have to be damn good to save someone from prison.

There are two possible offences - (1) being unfit for duty - i.e. ability impaired by drink / drugs - (2) Exceeding the prescribed limit which, for most aviation professionals, is set at only 9 microgrammes alocohol per 100 millilitres of breath. (Licensed aircraft engineers have a higher limit - does this make sense? - it doesn't to me).

In the U.K., excess alcohol cases against aviation professionals are nearly always going to end up in the Crown Court which can hand down up to 2 years for the offence. The Magistrates Courts do not have power to imprison people for these offences even though they can imprison motorists guilty of excess alcohol.

Loss of job / reputation would follow all this .......... is it worth it?


26th Aug 2004, 11:38
My thruppence worth..
There are losers in this world and there are winners....each of you I am sure have people in your street that you wouldn't want your daughters/sons marrying..
This guy had the nous/intelligence to become a pilot, which as far as I'm concerned shows a high level of intelligence/desire/ambition (whatever),.
Something has happened in this mans life that 99% of us know nothing about.
I wish him all the best and hope that he seeks the required treatment and that it is successful.

Orion Man
26th Aug 2004, 13:49
For what its worth matkat, I don't think there are many pilots out there who have not sailed close to the wind at some stage in their career whether unwittingly or chancing their arm perhaps thinking they are not going to get called first thing on their standby in the morning etc etc.

The new limits are very prohibitive now and someone caught just over the limit can hardly be deemed drunk in my book but thats the world we live in now. It's just not worth the risk.

Cap 56
26th Aug 2004, 15:49
I think that drinking and flying is a well known problem in this industry.

It’s not normal and can not be accepted but it can be understood.

We do not lead a normal lifestyle, definitely not on the long haul.

Any professional Airline knows this and should be able to cope with this.

Everyone can/will/may has some difficult moments in live where they exceed the limit of social drinking. If it happens to a pilot that has many years in the company and served them well then a normally functioning Airline would try to help the pilot sorting out his problem and recover him for operations later on.

Any other reaction would increase the problem. Pilots are human beings that live according to the rosters of the airlines.

I agree that the general public should be protected but the system needs to be fair to all including politicians, doctors etc…. I do not think that that’s the case.

So if it is not worth the risk .....then maybe the risk of going up in the office and telling you boss you need a break might be higher....what's the real problem ?

7th Sep 2004, 22:56
This is all wonderful stuff. Thank goodness that a pilot under the influence of alcohol while on duty is a rare thing indeed. Alcohol need not yet be involved in the Manchester case, involving a grunt with bus and attitude.
If you really want to kick up some dust, reflect on the heavy drinkers in the world of airline management, the police officers who so frequently take bribes from criminals and a smattering of kiddie porn to keep the adrenaline flowing, the solicitors -notaries public and accountants who just can't resist stealing from clients every week and.... hold in your minds the still banned World in Action documentary from nearly twenty years ago that recorded the world of the respectable London professional doing sufficient -no more- of cocaine friday night through sunday and then back in chambers, court, station, office with not a hair out of place. It is not what you do but ......
OK lets go!

9th Sep 2004, 16:39

'Alcohol may still not be involved.'....Be odd if it's not, afterall there has to be some evidence for Police to arrest, unless of course they were looking for kiddie porn, or the pilot refused to pay a bribe...
If you don't like the idea of bus drivers calling police if he thinks a pilots been drinking, then don't drink before you fly. Although the 'Grunt with bus and attitude' has yet to be proven before a court, so the same rules apply to the driver as the pilot, innocent, unless a court says otherwise.
None of the crimes you mention other occupations committing are harmful to the extent that a pilot who's been drinking could be. However there are many other crimes those occupations could commit that could be. However this thread is about a pilot who has been arrested for attempting to fly having had too much to drink. If there was no evidence then he would not be bailed to return to a police station. The assumption is therefore there is some evidence, thereby justifying the bus drivers actions.
No the press wont print retractions if he is aquitted, but then if he is convicted ,most posters here will not be howling for his blood either.

9th Sep 2004, 17:21
<<I think that drinking and flying is a well known problem in this industry.>>

I don't agree at all.
Airline pilots and flight engineers are monitored as no other profession. I have no wish to belittle others but, medically, technically, professionally and by way of public observation, we are trained, checked and watched to a greater extent than any doctor, legal practitioner, engineer or academic.
Of course many of us drink alcohol and why not? - but it is certainly not common for flight crew to turn up for flying duties the worse for drink.

9th Sep 2004, 19:27
It is interesting to note that the medical profession who administer these tests have been violently against any testing of doctors -this despite many well documented cases of medical professionals working under the influence of drink or drugs.

The doctor,s union (the BMA) recently declared such testing "a major infringement of personal privacy"

ps do we know yet if the pilot was in fact charged with anything?

9th Sep 2004, 22:27
Well I agree with you Shot One! They are dealing with peoples lives as as well!

Wot Next?

10th Sep 2004, 15:33
How can we soar like eagles when surrounded by turkeys', ......a question Koi has been asking himself over 28 yrs since graduating. Historically, airlines have always helped pilots who develop alcohol problems, sending them away to be rehabilitated or put down. They need them back in harness as soon as feasible, with the money invested and 9 months of lead in time required to replace . Loose a few, occasionally, with regret. Aviation has always led the field with a hands up honesty, supported by open reporting with the MOR, Company and chirp schemes, let alone an off the record word with the fleet mgr. A quiet phone call to the caa or medics would be accepted as a cry for assistance in a 'safe system culture'. What a dreadful shame that the Police, Accountants, Solicitors, Surgeons, Company Directors, and GP's ...water ski some 20 years behind aviation in terms of accountability, safe systems and open recording. Indeed the medics now approach the airlines for guidance on resource management. The police had no choice but to arrest, given suspicion. Not a nice job to have, so I hear, judging from all the early retirements and escape from the sewer in which most are forced to work to the borders of scotland, land of chief constables. Cookn with gaz.

10th Sep 2004, 16:29
Do the police have the hand held [ " just blow into this month piece until I say stop"] equipment with the aviation limit, or are you just taken down to the nick to blow into the machine??


10th Sep 2004, 17:13

I belive so yes. The legislation only gives, as I recall a power to require a first screening test, then if that provides evidence of the offence or is refused the power to arrest. It would therefore follow that they have the calibrated equiptment. I know that there are available ones used for the Road Traffic Act that give a numbered read out rather than the traffic light system, these would be usable in the case of this legislation.

Koi, the police do have the option not to arrest, the legislation says 'A Constable may arrest........' not must. As to whether its a nice job or not, it can be yes, but arresting someone before they cream a bus/train/car/plane load of people accross the countryside is better than dealing with the aftermath.

11th Sep 2004, 08:21
Any airport police officer would be extremely foolish under these circumstances not to arrest the suspect, in order to... prevent.... the criminal act of ' flying under the unfluence of drink / drugs' [ air nav order]. Suspicion or... a report would be all that was required. Not to prevent the pilot from continuing with duty would under those circumstances have been negligent. The officers acted sensibly. Let us remember how important it is to be proceduraly correct in this situation.
koi.... kuchen mit gaz

11th Sep 2004, 20:27

I didn't suggest letting him continue flying. There are many cases where drivers have been advised not to contuinue driving...and thats the end of it, unless they fail to take theat advice. The Aviation and railways safety act power of arrest (which has nothing to do with the ANO) That power, along with every other power to arrest says May not Must.
Thats not the issue however, which is that the discrestion exists alowing a Constable not to take action if he so deicides. How many people for instance are given a warning for going through a red light. The seriousness of the offences may be differant, however the principle is the same. Having said that you are right, it would be highly unlightly that a constable would not proccede by means of arrest, if they pilot failed a screening breath test. (or caused the officer to suspect an offence of being unfit through drink or drugs)
The criminal act you mention from the ANO was vauge to say the least unless Drunk on an aircraft could be proven. The offence would now be under this new act. As to your comments about suspicion or a report is all thats required, either you have the new legislation wrong or I have misunderstood what you have said???!!!!

One final thing the only 'Airport' Police officers I can think of are in the Isle of man and Belfast. I think you mean Police Officer.

Jack The Lad
11th Sep 2004, 20:53
BJCC, I think you are probably right;

The time has gone now where you give someone a 'second chance', allow them to 'dry out' and then allow them back at the front end, no matter what the percentage of 're-offending' probability is.

Evidence and statistics of re-offenders in drink drive cases will prove that some of the offenders will most definitely offend again and that is not an acceptable situation when it comes to flying airplanes.

Sorry to say, but it should now be 'one strike, and you're out'.

It doesn't matter a damn that we all did it many years ago; that was then and here we are now. Times, attitudes and perceptions have long since changed.

All sympathies to those that find it difficult to meet the current regulations, but there again go find yourselves another livelihood.

We can still sympathise with those that may have a problem, but they cannoot again occupy a seat at the front.

11th Sep 2004, 23:55
Couldn't disagree more.
We give second and third chances to all manner of criminals. I do not think it unreasonable to give a pilot the opportunity to consider his or her position.
Don't forget that the VERY few in that position will be carefully monitored, not least by their captain/first officer.

<<It doesn't matter a damn that we all did it many years ago>>
Did you, really?

12th Sep 2004, 01:21
I must agree with Basil, for what it's worth. It is the right thing to give second chances. Unfortunately, in todays total crap "politically correct" climate, few are willing to do so, and mostly because of the liability risk, due to the prevalance of lawsuits. Can you tell that I hate political correctness, and lawyers?

12th Sep 2004, 08:23

While I can see your point, think of it anotther way...

Police officer arrested for drink driving...Will be sacked.

Train driver arrested for drinking driving train....sacked.

Captain of a ship (irrespective of if he's driving it at the time, or asleep in his cabin) ...sacked.

Those are 3 examples of many that will loose thier living for a similar offence. Why then should a pilot be any differant?

Much as been said of monitoring etc, but monitering by other crew happens now, and still there are arrests/convictions for drinking & flying, so it s not a deterrent. I think that this new law is exactly that, a deterrent.

ILS 119.5
12th Sep 2004, 18:39
I agree with most of the points made on this thread. However, the most interesting one is the legal limit and why it is not applied to other professions. I agree with our limit but how can a police officer, doctor, surgeon or other such profession be allowed to work with a higher limit? For example the officer testing you or the doctor taking a sample maybe below the drink/driving limit but well into ours, therefore is the specimen justified. If we cannot do our job when above the limit then how can the others do their jobs. If we can make mistakes (as alleged) when just above the 1/4 drink driving limit then I'm sure other professions can make bigger mistakes when slightly under the drink/driving limit. Do you get my drift?
In my view, and I hope this reaches the papers, all top professions who have a responsibility for human life should come under the same rules. Regardless.
How many deaths are caused by doctors/surgeons being over the limit? We don't know as it is not regulated.
How many deaths are caused by police officers being over the limit? We don't know as it is not regulated.
How many deaths are caused by pilots/controllers being over the limit? We don't know and will never will as it is now regulated.
From now on I'm going to make an effort to ensure the other professions are regulated as ours. It is not fair that we are subjected to this regulation without other professions being involved.
Please send me a pm if you are supportive of this cause. I only need numbers of support not names and addresses.
ILS 119.5

12th Sep 2004, 19:09
ILS 119.5

You ask how many deaths are caused by the occupations being over the limit. Firstly what 'limit are you referring too?

If you mean the drink drive limits then the number of deaths Police Officers cause while driving are probably kept by the Police Complaints Authority. By the way a Police Officer caught drinking and driving off duty will lose his job, as indeed he would if convicted for any criminal offence. As you are asking for the same treatment regardless remember that you could then lose your job for say having no Road Fund Licence, exceeding the speed limit....Then as you say at the monet its not fair is it.

You lose you job with airline A and you can probably get a job flying with airline b, a Police officer once sacked, can never be a Police Officer again. Same for a doctor when struck off. Again no its not fair is it.

So feel free to lobby for the same 'rights' as Police, but remember that there are 2 sides to it. But as you are demanding equal rights for top proffessions I am sure you will welcome that change.

As for number of people killed by doctors and any other occupation while over whatever limit you choose, you may be able to get the stats via the Home Office. If someone dies from an unexpected cause there is an inquest, any contribution from intoxication would form part of the evidence and therefore the HO would keep stats on it. Whether you are able to prise those from them is a differant matter.

Good luck...................

ILS 119.5
12th Sep 2004, 19:27
The point being that there are two different limits, i.e. one for each profession, this should not be the case. We should all be covered by one limit. In high profile professions if one is subject to an alchohol limit then so should the others. The aviation industry has been subjected to so much media attention over the last few years I feel it's time to stand up and say "hang on, what about everyone else". As a professional for more than 20 years I can say that our industry has changed dramatically. We used to have drinks in the cockpit years ago, not now. We used to drink vast amounts and party all night, not now. Don't get me wrong I think the evolution of the industry is good but it is the evolution of other industries which impose regulations but cannot keep up with it.
For example, if I said to you that cannot commit adultry but I can, what would you say? (PS one of the ten commandments).
Law should be equal for everyone. I'm not trying to be offensive or arguementative but objective.

Jack The Lad
12th Sep 2004, 19:38

I agree with much of what you say and yes, IF the limit set for pilots is VALID, then it should equally apply to any other profession or occupation that holds others lives potentially at risk due to the impairmnet of the operator, due alchohol. That would extend the range of relevant professions quite substantially. And why not? You are absolutely correct.

Whether the limit set for pilots is right or too severe, I can't answer that, but we do know what the rules are and we should find out how we can ensure we abide by those rules. I can sympathise with those that have marginally broken the rules, but in many cases, the limits have been 'well breached', way beyond being able to claim a bit of ignorance or latitude.

Basil, my comment about 'we have all done it before' was said for effect. My point is that things have changed dramatically in recent times and as I have said before, compare the analogy of drink driving. 30 years ago, it was considered 'good sport' if you didn't get caught. Now it is, quite rightly accepted as totally unacceptable social behaviour that risks lives and is worthy of a jail sentence. I don't know how old you are, but ask your Dad if he ever did drink and drive! He would be an exception if he said NO.

Given the changes in limits for pilots and the now high profile nature of the offence, to keep on ignoring it and risk getting caught must be seen as the height of stupidity or represent a very serious individual problem that is out of control. In either case, the individual is a risk to society.

An accountant can get away with it; all he risks is his professional indemnity when he c*cks up. A pilot, bus driver, car driver, train driver, you name it, risks lives as do surgeons and all manner of other professionals.

I stand by what I said; no-one can claim ignorance of the rules.

ILS 119.5
12th Sep 2004, 19:59

You are correct in what you say. But if rules are applied then it should be equal.
I'll be having words with the auto pilot in the morning to check. No doubt it will have been up most of the night with one of the CVR's and had too much electrical input. Probably over the limit for this but not regulated yet.
Ah, another point, what about the computer programmers who get pissed and miss something. Always remember the computer is only as good as the person who programs it. If a pilot is above the new limit then he will lose his career, if a programmer is above the limit and there is an accident then they will not. I know the systems are checked but "one day".

12th Sep 2004, 20:27
ILS 119.5

You want the rules applied equaly.

I agree with you, however you have avoided my question. How do you feel about them been applied equaly the other way? Or are aircrew more equal than others?

If the rules are to be applied equaly then exceed the speed limit on your day off....and lose your job. Other occupations are under far greater restrictions than you are and in most cases for far less good reason.

By the way, commit adultary in the Forces and in some circumstances in the Police and guess what ...you get sacked. Do you? So its not equal is it, nor if you answer honestly would you like it to be.

I agree with you up to a point, although differant occupations require a differant level of sobriaty. Parliament decided, presumably after medical advice (probably not taken down the pub) that the limits under this act should apply. Should the same limit apply to say a doctor doing paperwork? Or a Police Officer doing communications duties in a Police Station? Probably not. But a doctor operating on someone should have zero alcohol, and a Police Officer on Armed patrol the same should apply.

ILS 119.5
12th Sep 2004, 20:50
OK do the rules apply to a training captain or a route check captain, they are not flying the plane. I know for a fact that my dad had to fly a plane because the the skipper was not competent to fly into a certain airport, he was, and landed safely. EGKK if you want to know and on a tristar. Anyway, my point is, all professions, (with responsibility for human life)should be regulated as ours is. No prisoners. If we are going to be and are the best then lets keep it that way.
ILS 119.5

Chuffer Chadley
12th Sep 2004, 21:25
By the way, commit adultary in the Forces and in some circumstances in the Police and guess what ...you get sacked. Do you? So its not equal is it, nor if you answer honestly would you like it to be.

Err... I'm afraid this is not true.

Sorry to dampen the party, but perhaps you'd care to provide another example?


12th Sep 2004, 22:55
Sorry I should have added if it brings either the Armed Forces or the Police into Disrepute. And yes I ahve seen the result of a Police Disipline Baord on the matter.

You want other examples...


Chat a young lady up in a club pub and after enjoying a night together find shes only 15 not 17 as she told you. Result...Polic eOfficer..Sacked..Doctor ...Struck off...Pilot? Nothing

Have a disagreement over a parking spot...ends up in a punch up...Police Officer...Sacked...Pilot? Nothing

Remember a pilot even if sacked does not lose his licence. He can get another job flying. A Police Officers or doctors career is over when it happens to him.

I am not against the same levels of Alcohol applying to every profession, if fact I am all in favour. What I am against is this 'We are being singled out' attitude. If you want the same rules to apply to everyone, then you have to expect other peoples rules to apply to you, and you will like that less than this law!

13th Sep 2004, 09:08
My dad says he did but only a horse & cart :}
Seriously, I agree that, quite rightly we no longer get up to the stunts of yore - still have guilty flashbacks to naughty doings with cars of an evening (and that's when they were moving).

Good points but I think that, if it became public knowledge that he had enjoyed the favours of a 15 yo a pilot, yea, even one so exalted ;) would attract the adverse attention of the sheriff/CPS/police.

13th Sep 2004, 09:18

I think you'll find underage sex and ABH/GBH are covered within the disclosure rules. Result, pilot sacked, within the UK anyway.

13th Sep 2004, 10:04
Yes you are possibly right about the disclosure thing, although if its ever tested in court it will probably get knocked on the head. In any event the problem only occurs when the disloure is form is issued at whatever interval that is. So you only have to worry about it when its re checked. However as I said a Police officer could lose his job for speeding in his own car on a day off...Could you?

However thats not the whole point. Even if you do get convicted of an offence and an airlines sacks you, you can still work for a non UK airline, or a flying club. In other words you don't lose your livelyhood if you lose your job. A Doctor would, so would a Police Officer, and so would many other professions.

The original point was a desire to have the same rules apply to all professions, a good idea, I agree. However you have to understand that if you want the rules to apply equaly then that means equaly and you have to face the possibility that rules and restrictions on those other professions are possibly not ones you would welcome.

13th Sep 2004, 14:40
BJCC. I totally agree with your comments on this thread.

ILS 119.5. The drink driving rules apply to one and all. However, I would suggest that rules from one employer to another vary dependant on the degree of responsibility their particular job may have towards others, and how consumption of alcohol may affect that. In the case of a pilot, the responsibility to others doesn't come much higher if you've got 400 plus people in your care does it? Therefore surely the rules should be more stringent.

13th Sep 2004, 22:24

So far the man is innocent, surely even the police would concede that. Let us save our judgement until the court has made its judgement.

Not many airlines hire a pilot without a background check. Once you have had a legal problem with alcohol, your job prospects are pretty close to zero.
Effectively you can count your career as over.

are we there yet?

14th Sep 2004, 06:37
Airside Pass?

ILS 119.5 This is a great topic. It deserves it's own thread.

Pontius P
14th Sep 2004, 07:12
The point is not whether pilots, policemen, doctors etc should be treated differently, but that nobody should work under the influence of drink or drugs if that would adversely effect the lives of other people. Is it not a nonsense that not only could our political leaders take us to war (and kill thousands of innocent people) when they may have been drinking, but that subsidised alchohol and bars are made available at their place of work?

14th Sep 2004, 09:58

I am struggling to find where you claim I didn't say he wasn't innocent. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

On the second point, you may not be able to get a job with an airline, maybe you can would be interesting to know if anyone has. However the point I made, and you seem to have missed is that the call is for equal treatment, if you want everyone else to have the same alcohol limits as pilots/Cabin Crew/ATCO's then fine, but you have to expect that the restrictions on other professions also apply to you. To be honest you will probably like those restrictions less than this law.

27th Sep 2004, 22:25
And the good news is...... that the pilot has been cleared of commiting any offense and is back in harness again. Happy endings all round.
Perhaps I can ask your advice on the subject of police and the law? This happened four nights ago:
If an unmarked patrol car with discreet roof strobes follows a pilot just out of the simulator and full of coffee on an A road for 15 statute miles at 2230 BST at a range of 10 feet @ 60 mph to 800 yards at 60 mph and repeat..., is he just being curious or is he in the business of intimidation and Entrapment ? Ah yes, there are those that have gone for an emergency stop for the black doggie and collected patrol car T-bone style, helping to remind the officers that ''Bowling and road snooker'' are best left to lodge night banter. Has traffic patrol been reduced to this? Thank goodness for Pace and the complaints authority.
cooking with gas.

28th Sep 2004, 05:03

And most of you guys where willing to hang the poor guy before knowing the full truth.

A bus driver reports smelling something while none of the other crew notices anything different...

Police shows up and drags the poor guy out of the airplane, delaying the flight by hours.

Whos going to pay for the over 40000 Euro delay, the bus driver? or the police? Somebody must be made accountable. How about the needless inconvenience the PAX had to endure?

If it was me, I would sue the driver, bus company, the airport and the police and make them pay. In FInland it is illegal to turn a person in without grounds and now that the pilot has been cleared the bus driver has commited a crime.

It is not enough that pilots are being dished out a raw deal by many of the employers. Now we have all these "Experts" that go around sniffing our hinds and then calling police when in their 'Expert" opinnion something does not "Look right". In my books this is harrasment.


28th Sep 2004, 06:25
And now will the sensationalist press print an attention-grabbing headline on page one that reads something like

' Innocent Pilot reinstated. Frenzied media hacks admit printing lies in order to improve sales.'

Somehow I doubt it.

British media is more of a rumour network than this forum

28th Sep 2004, 12:11
I couldn't agree more. The media are highly skilled in writing fatuous drivel and playing with themselves in public. I once nearly pulled the wings of a boeing avoiding a trijet.... pre tcas days and news at ten sent a car for me to come sarf and tell my tale of derry do. F - off seemed to disappoint them, so we said it louder and it worked. Watch your six and only cook with gas!!

Bill Pinnock
28th Sep 2004, 13:26
Sympathy is a little irrelevant. My understanding is that the
threshold set for pilots being "over the limit" is about a third of the driving breathalizer limit.What guidance has your company or licensing authority given re- "safe" limits re units of alchohol vs
time before duty....oh, silly me, you can't have a hard and fast rule because we vary in our metabolising rates and (a sensitive one for me) weights. Make walk-in testing available so that we
might gain some personal idea...how progressive! My company and the CAA think it's fine for me to start work at 0500z after a day off...no sherry trifle for me, darling.

29th Sep 2004, 20:05

So I presume the same would apply if you got on a bus and smelt acohol on the driver?

The Pilot was not dragged off for no reason, he would only have been arrested after FAILING a screening test. Which means that he would have had alcohol in his blood at the time that test was given.

No the bus driver has not committed an offence, and trying to sue anyone here would just cost you an awful lot of money. In the UK its a public duty to as you put it 'turn someone in'. Can you clarrify then, that you would not go to police about a peadophile? a drugs dealer? a wife beater?

It may be that between the time of that test and a subsequent test at the police station that his BAC went below the limit....There may some other explanation, I don't know....The fact remains the driver thought he smelt alcohol, and reported it. He was right to do so. Police turned up and breath tested the pilot, he was then arrested. This happens to drivers frequnetly, it is also true that a proportion of them the pass an evidencial breath test. I can see nothing wrong with the action of either the Police or the Bus driver.

Bill Pinnock

You sum up the problem, everyone is different and so you can't have guidelines. I agree a form of walk in testing would be cheap and safer for everyone.

The Aircrew limit is not 1/3 the drink drive is 1/4.

ILS 119.5
29th Sep 2004, 21:35
Ok people, can you give me answers to the following scenario:-
A pilot turns up for work and someone thinks that they might smell alchohol on his/her breath. Further investigation is needed but the pilot is allowed to continue (by the management) on the next sector. By the end of the final sector the management decide to suspend the pilot on thinking he/she was under the influence. Who is now to blame. The pilot is innocent but the management have let him/her fly the sector thinking that the they were under the influence.?
ILS 119.5

Pilot Pete
29th Sep 2004, 21:45
And your point being ILS 119.5? I fail to see what relevance various scenarios such as yours have.

But if you want an opinion:

If 'someone' took it no further then nothing would be done. If they told the airline management then I cannot see any UK management just 'ignoring' the warning in order to get the next sector flown. They would most likely want to cover their backsides, even if they didn't have a safety culture. If they then suspended the pilot with no evidence other than hearsay then they would likely be on the losing end of an employment tribunal.


ILS 119.5
29th Sep 2004, 22:59
Sorry, all i'm asking is, who is to blame in this scenario. Pilots or Management.

30th Sep 2004, 02:27
ILS 119.5

Unless this is some form of trick question...Your line, 'the pilot is innocent', implies he's not been drinking, ergo, he has commited no offence, there is therefore no 'fault' how can there be? Your senario is he's done nothing wrong......

Like Pilot Pete I am wondering quite what your point is???????????

ILS 119.5
30th Sep 2004, 20:57
OK points taken. What if, after landing the pilot is suspended beccause it was thought that he/she attended work and flew under the influence of alchohol. There is no conclusive proof but the management let the pilot fly whilst under suspicion. Do you not think that there is negligence on the management for not initially suspending the pilot concerned.
All i'm trying to do is point out possible flaws in the system which need to be rectified.
ILS 119.5

1st Oct 2004, 19:48
ILS 119.5

Er, I am still not sure what point you are trying to prove.

If nothing has happened, then there can be no negligence on anyones behalf.

Going back to your original senario, if the pilot has turned up and someones gone to managment before he gets to the plane, then I would presume that any management in any occupation where the amount of alcohol consumed by its staff is controlled by law would be very silly to allow the person to work. It could be seen as aiding and abetting an offence, but on that I think you would need the opinon of someone like Flying Lawyer.

2nd Oct 2004, 07:59
With reference to alcohol in particular, there seems to be a problem of an objective determination of a pilots level of impairment prior to flight.
"He smelled/looked/acted like he was impaired" is a recipe for huge mistakes. Something more objective is needed.

What is interesting is that this may be begging another safety question.
Going back to the basic assumption that the reason for alcohol and other restrictions is to ensure safety, could it not be argued that there is a case for examining duty limits to ensure at least an equivalent level of safety?

2nd Oct 2004, 12:57

There are 2 Criminal Offences now...One has to do with impairment, the other does not.

Legislation came in earlier this year, which is the RAILWAYS and TRANSPORT SAFETY ACT 2003

There are 2 offences related to drinking contained in it.

Section 92. Being unfit for duty. This is what it implies, being unfit is not capable of doing your job due to alcohol (or Drugs).

The new act is related to drink driving offences in the Road Traffic Acts. In that, (in section 92)the initial suspicision that normaly leads to arrest is a Constables opinon. To some extent thats subjective, but he would be looking for impairment. Basicly when I was a baby Policeman I was told if he falls out of the car nick him for being unfit. Otherwise.....

The other section is Section 93. This has nothing to do with impairment, just that you try to do your job with a Blood Alcohol Concentration above a prescribed limit. That limit is set in the act as 20 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres. That represents 1/4 of the drinking and driving prescribed limit.

There does not have to be evidence of impairment, and you can be breath tested (the same as you can be in drink driving cases) by a constable if he suspects you are on duty with a BAC above the limit, or if you are involved in an accident or involved in an incident.

The suspicision can come from many things, the way someone acts, a smell (and not just of alcohol, mints is a give away) or having just seen the person down a pint. The intial suspcision could also come from someone else, ie, bus driver smelling what he thinks is alcohol and calls Police. They turn up, smell alcohol which then gives the Constable reason to suspect that he may be commiting the offence thus giving reason to breath test. It is as a result of that breath test that you would be arrested, not as the result of what the driver of a bus thinks.

On having Breath/Blood or urine tested at a Police station the person would then either be charged and appear at court, or if the BAC are below the limit released. As with Stocks and shares, BAC goes up as well as down. Have 3 pints and BAC will continue to rise for some time afterwards....Then go down.

There is no way of reliably telling how fast the alcohol gets out of your system. And this section is NOT related to impairment.

2nd Oct 2004, 19:40
I will rephrase my sentence.
"He smelled/looked/acted like he had a BAC of more than 20mg per 100ml". Does a person who has 20mg per dl smell, look, or act in a manner that would betray this?
Come to think of it, just what is the rationale behind this particular limit of BAC?

3rd Oct 2004, 04:39
BJCC says

"The intial suspcision could also come from someone else, ie, bus driver smelling what he thinks is alcohol and calls Police. "

There where 5 other people in the bus with the Captain in question. They did not notice anything suspicious in his behaviour nor did they smell anything.

If I have to fly to UK I will make sure that bus drivers I encounter are informed of my zero alcohol policy (Make em smell me).

3rd Oct 2004, 07:58
Not only alcohol, there's more..... :eek:

"the way someone acts, a smell (and not just of alcohol, mints is a give away) "

Perhaps rather than take breath mints, to avoid a bus driver report, it would be preferable for the whole crew to turn up with "dragons breath" in the morning. :ugh:
Mouth wash is out of the question as most contain alcohol and might fail a pc plod breathalyser. (With zero BAC)

3rd Oct 2004, 11:25
Regarding the 'limits' just mentioned, it is all very well being on or just under the limit on the ground....but at cabin alt of 8000' or so the effect of alcohol is effectively doubled.

If I am flying within 24hrs I will not drink...it doesn't drag my life into depression.
The reliance on alcohol by people is astonishing...get a life

3rd Oct 2004, 12:14

The bus driver, or anyone else would not be quoting a guessed BAC, just that someone maybe smelt of drink, was acting in a way that made him think he had been drinking or maybe had seen someone down a pint....irrespective of that its not his evidence that leads to arrest. If Police are called, and then form the suspicison, based parlty on on the informant has said and partly on what he finds when he arrives, they will then breath test the pilot. The result of that breath test is the direct evidence which lead to the arrest. The bus driver/5 other crew members or anything else is then irrelevent. The Breath test is either pass or fail. Mouthwash will not cause the breath test to be positive if it has been used more than 1/2 hour before the test is administered. I, and most other policemen I know used to ask specificly if someone had used it and if they had waited 1/2 hour before giving the breath test. I think you are relying on urban myth for that one.....

What I said was that the way someone acts, smell (mints being a give away) were all things that could lead to suspcision. At the end of the day, if you have not got a BAC above the presribed limit, you will pass....everyone is then happy.

I have no idea why Goverment fixed the limit at the level they did....I presume on advice from SRG Medical people...


It is niether the bus driver, nor the other crew members on the bus that make the decision to breath test. The Police officer called to this made that decision. He would have done that based on his findings.

The Pilot was arrested. There are only 3 reaons why that would happen.

1. He failed the screening breath test.
2. He refused to take the breath test
3. He agreed to take it, but then didn't carry it out properly eg, blew round the tube or sucked rather than blew.

So in oder to fail the test, he must have had a BAC above the limit. Or refused to take it, which is his own fault..(but not lightly to have happened from what I gather in this case)

He appears to have apssed the evidencial test conducted at the Police station. Be that breath or blood. The obvious reason being that his BAC was going down and went below the limit between the first and evidencial tests.

3rd Oct 2004, 13:24
Unfortunately it was not the youghurt. The 50-year-old Finnish 757 driver's blood contained alcohol and he has agreed to leave Finnair with a withdrawn ATPL. Reportedly he had had some shots from the hotel minibar in MAN the night before the flight, because he couldn't sleep.

After support from his colleagues, Finnair reportedly decided to go the soft way on the pilot; he does not fly anymore, but he will keep retirement benefits cumulated up until now. This is due to an immaculate almost 30 years' record with the airline.

Sources inside Finnair in Helsinki.

3rd Oct 2004, 14:21
you have a good point about the effect of altitude.
The following is an extract from a bmj article on the effect of length of "wakefulness" on performance of of simple mental and co-ordination tasks.
The fact that it is compared to the effects of alcohol, and has been done at "only" sea level leads one to wonder how safe the current duty limits are in the real world. Please note the legal driving limit is the comparison point, not the 20mg per dl.


Quote (from way down near the end)

"The overall implications of the results of this study are clear. They show that the effects on performance of moderate periods of being awake cannot be discounted. Sleep is needed after the end of a day if adverse effects on performance are to be avoided. Most importantly, this study has allowed interpretation of these effects on performance in terms of an accepted standard for safety. With a legal limit for alcohol use when driving as a standard, the results show that after 17-19 hours of wakefulness, subjects' performance on many tests had dropped to that found at the legal limits for safe driving. Many people remain awake for periods of 16 hours or more for reasons of work, family, or social life. These results suggest that after this duration of wakefulness fatigue reaches a level that can compromise safe performance.
The results also imply that many countries which set allowable BACs at the point that compromises safe performance should consider developing similar standards for fatigue to ensure that people who have had 18 hours or longer without sleep are kept from at risk behaviours such as driving, piloting aircraft, or operating machinery. "

27th Oct 2004, 07:22
BBC link here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3955991.stm)

27th Oct 2004, 11:03
I have to say, fair enough that he has been done by all accounts, although hats off to Finnair in their treatment.

27th Oct 2004, 14:48
BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3958511.stm)

27th Oct 2004, 15:59
Anybody going to apologise to the taxi driver about their remarks?

He could just have prevented a major accident.

27th Oct 2004, 18:52
Having "skipped" through the above posts why does it give you the impression that pilots don't get drunk.

Let alone turn up for work under the influence, but it has turned out they are human after all :hmm:

I have a well paid interesting job which involves a lot of driving, and if I or any of my colleagues where found over the limit we would be out of a job, no pension, and everything else that goes with it.

So let's hope that more taxi drivers are not affraid of nice uniforms with bits of braid, and report ANYONE whom appears to have been drinking.

Standing by for the flames:cool:

27th Oct 2004, 19:22

No problem at all, BUT: -

The taxi driver, or in fact whoever decides that someone has been drinking must then accept the consequences if they are wrong. With accusation comes responsibility.

I know that I would be very unhappy if so accused and innocent.

28th Oct 2004, 04:24
A very interesting board. Hardly a surprising selection of remarks tendered, especially by so many highly professional individuals. And it is hardly surprising that in this one regard, alcohol, they lose their rag. Such remarks are indeed revealing.

8 hours does seem rather short, given it takes alcohol 72 hours to leave the system. Nearly a half of accidents come down to what, human error?

If any of you know a good sniper, have a chat with him. Ask him whether he can smell the beer you had two days ago.

Sorry lads, but I'm with Hungary on this one.

28th Oct 2004, 07:25
Arctaurus, please see posts by BJCC above. It is NOT the taxi / bus driver who decides who has been drinking or is over the limit. It is the police.

Any individual who believes that a serious crime is about to be committed has a duty to report it. This is exactly what happened.

28th Oct 2004, 08:31
There has to be some "come back" on these type of accusations.
Say a Skipper has reason to chastise a ramp agent driver etc. said individual then says OK I'll ruin his day and reports him for supposedly smelling of alchol. (In a commercial world can be used to delay your competitors flights) If it proves that the accused person is totally clear he/she should have redress on that individual for wrongfull accuzation. Does Libel Law cover this as Pilots being proffesional it would be a slight on their character (no smoke without fire etc)
Unfortunatly in the genuine cases I would not like to surpress the honest concern of an individual.

cargo boy
28th Oct 2004, 12:02
Jeez, where do some of these posters crawl out from? WTF do we have to have a discussion about 'what would happen if the bus driver was wrong'? Read the whole thread fer gawds sake! It's beginning to sound like a bunch of 'Reginald S Potters' each trying to sound more authoritative than the other. :yuk:

The bus driver didn't falsely accuse the pilot and did the right thing. The consequences are there for all to see in the harsh glare of embarrassing publicity. The police were called, believed there was enough evidence to test for alcohol and were proved correct. The case has been brought and the pilot has to bear the consequences for his lack of responsibility.

If you need to find out whether there is any chance of 'libel' :rolleyes: had the bus driver been acting out of malice then:

a) Do a google search on "libel" and try and get an understanding of the term and how it applies before you show your ignorance on here and;
b) Read the whole thread to see if the discussion hasn't already taken place.

I hope the mods can try and keep these posts remotely associated with the topic and not have the whole thread hijacked by the Reginald S Potters debating society. :rolleyes: :mad:

28th Oct 2004, 12:12
Here's a start. Libel refers to a written accusation whilst slander refers to a spoken accusation.

28th Oct 2004, 12:25
He's got a point though.

How many malicious accusations could there be?

Cabin crew, ground, drivers....

Unfortunately an accuser isn't generally brought to book.


feet dry
28th Oct 2004, 12:39

As cargo boy has pointed out, you cannot ruin the day of someone who has a BAC below the legal limit. In this particular case, as has also been pointed out the police breathalysed under their reasonable suspicion after the accusation from the bus/coach/taxi/bin lorry driver. That breath test was apparently failed which was the reason for the arrest.

In your scenario, the malicious intent would become clear when a police breath test (note: not an evidential test carried out at the station because it would not be required!!) showed the accused was below the legal limit.

No smoke/fire/libel/slander/"come back" or similar.

You splitter
28th Oct 2004, 15:43
He appears to have apssed the evidencial test conducted at the Police station. Be that breath or blood. The obvious reason being that his BAC was going down and went below the limit between the first and evidencial tests.

Quite possible but there is also another reason, and this is from experience.

One evening after a few bevvies in the pub I stupidly got into my car and drove home. In the good old tradition of sods law I was pulled over for exceeding the speed limit (only slighty) for the first time ever.

The resultant breathaliser test proved positive (according to the police officer only just - not sure how they tell this) and I was arrested. At the station I undertook three official tests (which would be used as evidence). The police took the lower of the three tests as my result. It was over the legal limit by a fraction. I cant remember the exact figures sorry. However I was released without charge as the CPS will only prosecute above a certain percentage to allow for erorrs etc.

So although my name was 'clear' I was still breaking the law. What bought it home to me was that I did not feel drunk or even slightly impaired...but who does?

The officer did not get his 'collar' but as I explained to him out side the station he still had acheived his goal as I have never done it ever again and nor will I.

28th Oct 2004, 22:50
You splitter

You quote me, however in this case I used info from another post, which, wrongly claimed the pilot had provided a speciem below the limit. Obviously that was not the case.

You are mostly right in what you say, as I recall (and the exact numbers could be wrong) the limit for breath is 35, but police do not charge unless you actualy below above 40. There are actualy only 2 breath test speciens taken at a police station, of which as you rightly say the lower is used as evidence, the higher one is disregarded.

Now to everyone one on the 'malicious' intent.

If you believe someone on your flight is drunk, you call the Police. If, as has transpired on more than one occation, they arn't drunk, there is another explanation for thier behaviour. Would you regard it as Ok in those circumstances to be sued for slander (not liable as has been pointed out that is written). No.

The bus driver has done what you would do if you saw a man dressed in black disappearing behind a house, he called police. It is not him who has provided the evidence against this pilot, the pilot has done that himself. Just as Police called to the man in black may find he is actualy a window cleaner who thinks black makes him look slimmer, and not a burglar, would not nick him for burglary if there is an innocent explanation.

Yes, there are circumstances when malicious allagations are and have been made. A female pilot at LHR was grassed (for importing drugs) by her ex girlfriend when I worked there, the allagation turned out to be a load of B******s. These allagations are made against drivers all the time, frankly theres not much you can do about it, in any case if you haven't had too much to drink then thats the end of the matter.

28th Oct 2004, 23:03
..... in any case if you haven't had too much to drink then thats the end of the matter.
Yes - apart from coping with the humiliation of having been removed from your aircraft under arrest and, as I've heard rumoured happened to one Captain at LHR being carted off to the police station -- in handcuffs!! :rolleyes:

29th Oct 2004, 07:50

Rumour, not fact then?

Second no you're not correct. If you have not been drinking you will not fail the screening test. You will therefore not be arrested.
So there is no embaressment of being led off the aircraft under arrest.

29th Oct 2004, 09:39

Yes a rumour about the handcuffs, but this is 'Rumours and News'. :)
I agree it's hard to believe they'd do that but, as in all jobs, you get OTT types so it could be true.

Second - you've moved your goalposts from "if you haven't had too much to drink" to "if you have not been drinking".

As I understand it portable breathtest kits used for screening aren't always accurate (cuts both ways of course) so you could fail your screen-test and be arrested even "if you haven't had too much to drink".

Be clear - all I was pointing out is it's very easy to be blase about "that's the end of the matter" if you're the policeman but not so easy for the person arrested, even if it comes to nothing because the more sophisticated machine at the police station shows he's innocent.
Arresting people is all part of a day's work for the police, but being arrested must be traumatic for ordinary decent people.

29th Oct 2004, 09:58
Part of the problem is that if passengers see the police come on board and remove the pilot, the front page of the Sun will have "drunk pilot" splashed all over it the next day, regardless of what the breathaliser result was. This happened last year to a UK charter airline, where the pilot was later proven to have zero alcohol in his blood. Did the Sun retract? No chance.


29th Oct 2004, 10:06

Unless things have changed, there is no real point in handcuffing someone unless they are puchy or lightly to do a runner. I doubt that was the case in this incident, but then I wasn't there, and in anycase as you say it's pure rumour at the moment. If it did happen it does seem over the top, however they may have been reasons.

To clarrify. Obviously if you have had nothing to drink, then you have no problem. If you have had less to drink than the prescribed limit, again you have nothing to worry about. So the goalposts have not moved, I just perhaps could have phrased it better.

I accept that arrest is for most people a very unusual experience, and probably worrying. Especialy when your livelyhood is on the line. But then thats the idea of having legislation like this, not to catch people out, but to deter them from doing it in the first place. The screening breath test machines are not considered accurate enough for evidencial purposes in court no, but I have to say since they came out, I had only one person come back under the limit on the evidencial machine, after a positive test on the screening device. As you rightly say the 'error' works both ways, I think the screening device probably leans more towards the lower end.

Of course there is a delay bewteen the screening test and breath test or blood sample being taken at the police station. During this period it is perfectly possible that BAC can dip below the line had it been very close to the limit at the time of the screening test. So although a sample may be below at the police station it does not mean that arrest was unjustified or that the person was not over at the time of the screening test.


Your correct they probably wont, but then thats not confined to aircrew. The chap from REM was charged with offences on an aircraft and cleared by a jury. There was no retraction in that case.

29th Oct 2004, 12:41

I understand what you are saying but I'm not talking about people like celebrities who are already in the public eye anyway. I am talking about normal people who are trying to earn a normal living being thrust into the international spotlight. For example, I now worry that when I come to work for an early start (say wake-up at around 3:30am), going through security still bleary-eyed, is someone going to report me because I have blood-shot eyes (forget the fact that everyone else does too at that time of the morning). Or when it's the time of the year when I get irritable eyes from hayfever. I am not worried about failing the tests because I know I haven't had any alcohol, but I am very concerned about the media attention that is inevitably brought about as a result of simply undergoing tests.

The good thing is that it really has caused pilots to be very careful about what they do "the night before" which is a good thing. But I can't help but think that one day I am going to get caught up in something that I cannot control, through no fault of my own!


Flying Lawyer
29th Oct 2004, 13:09

I can confirm:
that at least one Captain who was arrested and removed from his aircraft at LHR was taken away in handcuffs
that there was no suggestion whatsoever he was anything other than totally co-operative with the police
that there was no reason to suspect, nor did the police officers suspect, he was 'likely to do a runner.'

Fact, not rumour.

I can say no more at this stage.

Tudor Owen

29th Oct 2004, 17:25

If that is the case, and I have no reason to doubt you, then I can't defend it and wouldn't try to do so. If he was co-operative, not lightly to leg it, then handcuffing will only serve to wind the prisoner up. Personally I wouldn't do it. I wonder if the Health and Safety Maffia have taken over the asylum and its now policy to handcuff all prisoners. If that is the case it seems pointless????!!!!


I can understand your point. Yes, its possible that someone could see you have blood shot eyes and call the police. That alone would probably not lead to you being breath tested, although it may do, depends on the officer who attends.

The hope is that if aircrew are breath tetsed, it is done in private, the cockpit is ok, theres a door between that and the public, they have no idea whats going on. Its fairly regular for police to go on aircraft at Heathrow, for all sorts of different reasons, so no inference would be drawn by most of the public. Any that did would be guessing.

I doubt its very newsworthy for the press to report a passed/negitive breath test. It doesn't happen to clebs in cars, why should it to aircrew?

It has to be said that the same thing could happen over any offence, to any one at any time and always could have done. Upset someone and they can claim any manor of crimes.

While I am sympathetic to what you say (I have had false complaints made against me, while I was a Policeman) There isn't much you can do to stop it.

1st Nov 2004, 06:20
Would it be reasonable and fair for the bus-drivers, all airside employees, security, customs, and indeed the police on duty ALL to be subject to the same limits as aircrew?

It is tempting to play the undercover journalist and report suspicions concerning alcohol levels of some of the other responsible characters involved. I have a feeling the police would protect their own, and would show their usual disinterest in a report on, for example a bus-driver. And would the media pick this up? Not a chance.

1st Nov 2004, 10:13
whether its reasonsable or not depends on why the levels where set as they were, and wheteher the other occupations need to be able to operate without the level of impairment that goes with that BAC. Engineers are subject to the same legislation, but thier BAC max limit is the same as for drivers. That said Whether reasonable or not, I would agree that they should be the same for all workers at an airport.

You may have a 'feeling' that police would protect thier own' thats all its is a feeling. I can tell you from the other side of the coin, they wont, not in this day and age when being on the same planet as someone who has committed a offence is grounds for hanging, and Police Discipline boards operate on the 'march in the guilty b******d' system of justice.

4th Nov 2004, 07:42
Like RoyHudd, i would expect the police to be disinterested, which of course means impartial or unbiased.

4th Nov 2004, 09:25
I agree.

Curious how these arrests get leaked to the Press within hours of them happening. :rolleyes: :mad:

For example here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=136060) .

4th Nov 2004, 20:07

Leaked as such may not be the right expression. The Police Press bearu often inform the Press about incidents or arrests, it happens to all sorts of case, and I would guess is part of the 'keep the press happy and they will help us theory'. Before you leap down my throat I am not defending it, its just the way it is.

There are other routes it can get there of course, the airline itself, ground staff...you have to remember that the major airports have thier own resident press who have contacts everywhere.

2nd Dec 2004, 11:35
Report on BBC at 12.00 GMT says Finnair Captain jailed for 6 months

2nd Dec 2004, 11:48
Details on the BBC website:

BBC news (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4061783.stm)

2nd Dec 2004, 12:35
Only 6 months... Good God.

2nd Dec 2004, 13:52
Loss of Profession, humilation, financial loss, devastation to his life all after 25 spotless years at Finnair.

I'd say he's already paid big time.

2nd Dec 2004, 14:28
Don't forget that you are talking about a 51 year old man, who I think knows the results and implications of it's acts. He is responsable, and I'm not sorry for him. Neather thinking that he have more than 20 years flying, family, etc.... no excuses.
Good job to the police and also congratulations to the guy who detect him and report him.

2nd Dec 2004, 15:55
If he had got just "One Day's Jail" its still a personal disaster .....

I've said it before, "24 hours drinks free" before every trip ..... its the only way :(

2nd Dec 2004, 16:29
At last and at least the BBC put the word 'drunken' in quotes.

He was still under the drink drive limit, and probably felt fine.

I'm not defending the man, but I find others' glee at his fate distasteful.

Prison will help no-one, he'll suffer enough from his loss of job.

2nd Dec 2004, 16:32
Just a small point....
If the plod had carried out a breath test on the pilot, then presumably they were using the standard pass / warn/ fail handheld unit, which, again presumably, was calibrated for the UK driving limit (80mg/l from memory) If this was the case, the pilot would have passed this test - so why was he arrested?
No conspiracy theory - just a thought...

2nd Dec 2004, 16:37
then presumably they were using the standard pass / warn/ fail

Obviously not - did you really think they did?

2nd Dec 2004, 17:00
Having 'hopped over' from a link in another forum, there was 'nothing obvious' I apologise for not reading all nine pages first but theres no need to be snotty....
So I can now safely assume that airport plod have different equipment to 'rest of UK' plod - thanks for the info - I think...


2nd Dec 2004, 17:14

No one is full of 'glee' over it. Yes its very sad, but he was a preffessional, he knew the rules and he broke them. Same as any other criminal offence he has been caught and is due punishment, which he is now getting. I will say that 6 months is a bit harsh, but then its a new law and an example has to be set.


breath test machines are available that give a read out rather then the traffic light readings.

2nd Dec 2004, 17:27
Thanks for the info, as I said - just a question

2nd Dec 2004, 18:54

Well said. the guy was under the DD limit and hardly pissed out of his mind.

I hope his life isn't ruined for ever. He made a mistake and now has to reside with society's finest for 4 months or so. God help him.

Heathrow Director.

If you think that's a light sentence you are misguided IMHO

If you ever make a mistake and end up in court I hope the judge that you get the judge you obviosly wish for him.


2nd Dec 2004, 19:15
Hi Normal(?) Nigel.. You sound too much of an incomparably ignorant, foul-mouthed individual to be a pilot, but I guess it takes all sorts.

I have suffered from having a near relative killed and 4 relatives severely injured by drunken drivers. I hope to God that neither you, nor anyone else with your stupid views, has to suffer similarly.

I have NO sympathy with anyone who drives ANY vehicle whilst over the limit... I don't care if he's a train driver, bus driver or airline captain. It could be YOUR wife or YOUR kids behind someone like that......

DX Wombat
2nd Dec 2004, 19:41
Heathrow Director, as someone who has had to deal with the mess and heartache caused by stupid, selfish, drunken idiots I wholeheartedly agree with you. One death at the hands of one of these alcohol-fuelled people is one too many. The same also applies to those who drive under the influence of drugs. There is no excuse. It's not as though this was some little known regulation sneaked in thriugh the back door, it is well known and well publicised. Anyone who drinks and drives, flies, sails etc is a menace. How much more evidence to people need that alcohol, even in small quantities, affects judgement? I am well aware that people get away with this on a daily basis but that in no way justifies their actions.
Nigel, you owe HD an apology for your offensive name calling which was hardly professional behaviour.

2nd Dec 2004, 20:01

Thanks for your well constructed and logical points. Like DX Wombat, I think you owe HD an apology.
The sentence of 6 months is 1/4 of the maximum, so it could be said that this pilot was sentenced heavily. Would you be quite so venomous had it been a bus driver? He has probably got 6 months because he is supposed to be inteligent, well versed in safety, and in a responsible position in society, in other words, he should have known better.
He is a forgien national, so as I understand it he will serve 6 months, not 4.
One mistake? Do you know that it was one mistake? Or has he made a few others? You don't know, nor do I.
Yes, he was under the drink drive limit, however he was not convicted of drinking and driving.
HD is entitled to his opinon, just as you are....

2nd Dec 2004, 20:19
Fraid I see NN's point. What are we trying to prove here?

1. Yep, no excuse for drinking and flying.

2. Yep, anyone having personal involvement with DUI drivers is bound to have a strong opinion.

3. That doesn't mean this guy may have made a mistake, once, which is now in all probability going to ruin the rest of his life.

I remember all too well when Drinking / Driving was not as frowned upon as in today's 'Save the Whales' 'Support Gay Marriage', 'Don't smack Children', world. When it was 'There but for the grace of God go I....'. I'm neither excusing nor supporting, merely stating facts. The world changes, opinion changes, and no-one will know for years whether it was for the better. In the meantime, out come the soapboxes, outcome the Blairlike quivering lips, portentious comments, 'holier than thou' comments.

It could be you next time, it could be you dragged away because you used an inappropriate mouthwash in Scandinavia - would you like to think your motives, character, life history, were all going to be pilloried on some internet chat pages by people who daren't even admit their real identities?

As Andy Warhol said, we'll all get our 5 minutes of fame - remember, it could be YOU next time, I wonder if you would be quite so aggressively critical then?

I wish the guy all the best in the world, and hope he returns to flying a sadder and wiser man. Sadder - he may just find out how much support he got from his fellow pilots who must know at least the headlines of the case (in the papers - it must be true! The police said......" well that means it's beyond doubt eh?
Wiser - hopefully he'll discover polo mints to ensure the next know-it-all cabby doesn't phone the police.

I shall make a point of sniffing the breath of MT drivers, taxi drivers, and anyone else I accompany in the future, what comes around - goes around!

Old King Coal
2nd Dec 2004, 20:35
Normal.... I'm with you mate !..... Wherein might I suggest that some of the folks who post on these threads need to put this into perspective, i.e. there's a whole world of difference between being 'p!ssed & incapable’ versus being 'over the limit' ( imho ). Rules or no rules.

By way of example… I know a good many airline pilots who I wouldn't fly behind when they’re sober; just as I know a good many airline pilots whom I'd be quite happy to fly behind after they had a couple of pints of Adnam’s Broadside, or some such ( not that they would do both, of course - but I'm sure you get my point ).

And fer gawds sake please don't give us that old chestnut about kith and kin who’ve been killed by drunk drivers because what you’re really talking about in nearly all of those cases are drivers who’re usually absolutely bladdered, i.e. often many times over the driving limit, and / or who were in any case driving like a complete knobs – and which is how they normally drive ( regardless of how much they might have imbibed ) !
I.e. the fact that these drivers happened to be over the limit often has little or no relevance to the fact that doing 70, 80 or 90mph down a windy country lane, etc ( it being their normal 'white van man' driving style ) is an accident waiting to happen !

Indeed, for the ‘common sense nimbys’ out there, if you’re so sure of your position then please name the last time an airliner fell out of the sky, crashed, etc, as a result of the pilots being inebriated; and whilst you’re at it please tell us how many passengers have been injured or died as a result of pilot who’ve, apparently, been p!ssed ?!

All in all it’s a akin to the argument to ban mobile phone use in cars – that is unless you’re a police officer and / or member of the ‘emergency services’ when it’s ok to use one whilst on the move ( often at high speed ) - duh !
Wherein to put that into perspective, could somebody remind us just how many innocent bystanders did HM Police kill last year whilst conducting high speed car chases ? ( perhaps they were they on the phone ? :E ).
We’d also be interested to know how many people died as a result of somebody using a mobile phone whilst driving – and we’d love to know the difference between the two sets of figures ?!

Now I’ll accept that there’s a risk in whatever we do and how we live our lives but wherein life is risky.... indeed, come to think of it, I could get piles from wiping my arse with tissue paper.... so maybe I’d better stop doing it ?!

In closure, would somebody please wrap me up cotton wool and save me from all the bleedin’ do-gooders, nimby’s, nanny-state, and life-without-risk merchants !!!

2nd Dec 2004, 20:47
Old King Coal

No one has said he was p***ed. The offence is working while being oer a prescribed limit. The papers may have made that suggestion, however the courts don't judge on waht the papers report. He pleaded guilty, something which is to his credit (although really there was not much option). But at the end of the day he knew the rules, he was in a position of responibilty and he broke them. End of story!

I think if you asked passengers if they would rather fly with a pilot who has drink nothing and one who's had a couple of pints you may find thier opinons differ from yours.

Deaths caused by drivers who have been drinking? I am sorry but your information is wrong. Most deaths caused by drivers who have been drinking are not the result of drivers been bladdered, more those that are above the driving prescribed limit. And on that subject I speak from dealing with them, not being related to the victim.

I have no idea bow many people were killed in high speed car chases, nor do I know how many would have died if a Police car hadn't been present. In relation to the number of chases and the number of miles driven by Police in any year I think you will find the number to be very very very low. However I am at a loss as to the relevence of your question.

Police drivers are subject the the same law as you are, and when they screw it up and are convicted they suffer much harsher penelties than mr avarage. That is probably right and proper afterall they are in a position of resposibility and should know better, like pilots really

lead zeppelin
2nd Dec 2004, 21:41
Drunk passenger jet pilot jailed
Thursday, December 2, 2004 Posted: 1618 GMT (0018 HKT)

Pilot was arrested in the cockpit of Finnair Boeing 757 (file photo).

Great Britain



or Create your own

Manage alerts | What is this?

LONDON, England (AP) -- A pilot with the Finnish national airline Finnair was jailed for six months on Thursday for trying to fly a packed passenger jet while drunk.

Heikki Tallila, 51, a Finn, is the first person to be sentenced under legislation introduced in March that gives police powers to breathalyze pilots and cabin crew suspected of attempting to fly under the influence of alcohol.

The prosecution told Minchsull Street Crown Court in Manchester, northwest England that Tallila had almost 2 1/2 times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood when he was arrested in the cockpit of a Boeing 757 at Manchester Airport on August 23.

Tallila was completing pre-flight checks for the journey to Turkey when authorities -- who had been tipped off by the taxi driver who brought Tallila to the airport -- boarded the plane, which was carrying 225 passengers.

Passing sentence, Justice John Burke said Tallila was responsible for ensuring passenger safety.

"If you had been a mere passenger causing problems and interfering with your fellow passengers and crew and misbehaving you would have gone to prison," he said.

"In your case the passengers did not even appreciate their safety was in jeopardy. They assumed their safety was in good hands."

The prosecution said Tallila had drunk up to seven glasses of wine and a glass of beer on the afternoon before he was arrested.

A breathalyzer test showed he had 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, well above the legal limit for pilots of 20 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood.

Tallila's lawyer said his client had since been sacked from his £100,000 pounds ($180,000) a year job with Finnair, where he had worked for 25 years.

He and his wife, who still works as a stewardess for the airline, had suffered a "great deal" of public humiliation following his arrest, Gerard McDermott said.

"This has been a very public humiliation. This has impacted very highly on this individual. The financial consequences have been hard," McDermott added.

He said his client now attends Alcoholics Anonymous course and is receiving counseling for substance abuse.


Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Old King Coal
2nd Dec 2004, 22:57
Road Traffic AccidentsStatistics for Great Britain for the year 2003 show that there were a total of 214,030 reported road traffic accidents involving personal injury. Of these, 33,707 were serious injuries, and 3,508 were fatalities.

Drink drive casualties accounted for 5% of slight casualties, 6% of all serious injuries, and 13% of all road accident deaths.

Blood Alcohol Levels
Based on the blood alcohol levels the drivers who were killed in road accident in 1999: 20% of those tested were over the legal limit (80mg/100ml). 3% were approximately double the limit (150mg/100ml) and 2% were two and half times over the limit (200mg/100ml).

Mobile Phones
It’s estimated that of the 3508 road accident deaths, approx 100 of those deaths resulted in some way from the use of a mobile phone ( albeit it’s not clear if the resulting death is just that suffered by the recalcitrant user, and / or to the 2nd & 2rd parties ).

Source: Road Casualties Great Britain: 2003, Annual Report DfT- available from RoSPAAir Traffic AccidentsDuring 2003 there were a total of 106 casualties ( of all levels ) caused by aviation accidents in UK airspace. Of these there were 21 fatalities.

I.e. 89 casualties were caused by UK registered aircraft in UK airspace, of which 15 were fatalities, and 17 were caused by foreign aircraft in UK airspace of which there were 6 fatalities.

Source: Transport Statistics Great Britain 2004 EditionSo lets just have a look at these numbers.

I.e. reading between the lines, one can see that 13 people in 100 who are killed on the UK’s roads died with some level of ‘excess’ of alcohol in their veins – but wherein it’s not stated if those who died did so as a result of their own actions, or of somebody else’s.

However, on the flip side, 87 people in 100 died on the UK’s roads as a result of some other reason ( one that is not drink related - so go figure ! ) and hence my earlier point, i.e the remaining 87% of people who die on the UK’s roads do so NOT as a result of anything to do with D&D !.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting D&D ( indeed I’m just about teetotal in that respect myself ) but lets at least separate hysteria & hype from the facts.

Ok, they guy in this instance screwed-up and will pay the price of his actions - but let's not get to high and mighty about it all, shall we - to err, is human after all, is it not ?!

3rd Dec 2004, 03:19
Old King Coal
I think this statement in incorrect.

"the remaining 87% of people who die on the UK’s roads do so NOT as a result of anything to do with D&D !."

If a drunk driver hits a sober driver and both die there will be 2 fatalities, only one of which will be over the limit but both of which will be due to drunk driving.

Old King Coal
3rd Dec 2004, 06:25
... ah but there's the vice versa of that of course. I.e. should a sober driver just happen to crash into another driver, where the latter just happens to be at 81 mg ( when the legal limit is 80 mg ), and both get killed.... then whose fault is that and / or would this be but down as a D&D fatality statistic ?

Now, so that we can assess the true enormity of this problem, would somebody be so kind as to remind us all of how many passengers have been killed in commercial airline accidents in, say, the last 10, 20, 50 years or more, as a result of (apparently) inebriated pilots ?

3rd Dec 2004, 06:35
Old King Coal

Yes the numbers of drivers killed in accidents related to drink is low. But then one is too many.

You ask how many passengers are killed by pilots who have been drinking, no idea, but again one is too many. Which is the point of this legislation, to stop it happening not nesseserily to reduce the number.

I could ask how many people have been committed Treason in the last 30 years? I can think of one, does that mean there should not be legilsation to prevent it? Of course not.

At the end of the day, whether you like it or not, the public don't want to be flown round by people who have been drinking. Aircrew/ATCO's and engineers are all professionals, and in positions of responsibility for which they are well rewarded finacialy. If you want to drink don't fly and if you want to fly don't drink. The final choice is if you do both then expect the penelties.

3rd Dec 2004, 06:43
Before March this guy was half the drink driving limit, after he was double the new limit for aircrew. The guy had drunk a fair amount the day before and had misjudged his recovery rate. This Captain has paid a high price for his mistake.
There but for the grace of God etc.

3rd Dec 2004, 06:50
These statistics are completely flawed since a drunk person is much more likely to survive a crash (compared with a sober person).

Old King Coal
3rd Dec 2004, 08:04
bjcc - you say 'Which is the point of this legislation, to stop it happening not necessarily to reduce the number'.

But that is the point, it doesn't stop it happening - just as similarly that D&D laws don't stop that happening either - albeit it might reduce it, but is does not stop it happening !

... and wr.t. 'treason', is it not the case that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter ?!.... and again, laws to prevent that do not stop it happening, do they ?!

Yeah, so let's have some more laws shall we. Heck lets have loads of laws, indeed more laws than you can shake a stick at :rolleyes: but wherein what we seem to be losing, in our highly regulated legally controlled lives, is common sense !

3rd Dec 2004, 09:00
lead zeppelin,

Where was your article copied from?

Drunk passenger jet pilot jailed

A breathalyzer test showed he had 49 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood


just over 60% of the drink drive limit for most of Europe. Sober as a judge.

Someone tell me how this kind of reporting helps anyone?

3rd Dec 2004, 09:24
In the Old Days, Aviation and Drinking often went hand in hand ...... Aircrew ...... security .... Customs ..... APO's .... ATC ..... etc ..... I've seen them all involved big time

Today its another world ..... one thing still worries me .... have a look at the "Profiles" and see the constant emphasis on "Drinking" ...... you will be surprised :confused:

ps. EDIT .... "constant" is too strong a word! ..... "Frequent" is more appropriate

3rd Dec 2004, 09:28
6 months is no where near harsh.i think its disgraceful that he even contemplated flying a 757 with 220 or so people on board. I find it shocking that a pilot would even let alcohol past his lips knowing that he was flying the next morning. I hate to think that a realtive of mine would be boarding a plane and placing their lives in the hands of someone that has had (quote) 7 glasses of wine and a beer before hand and is over twice the legal limit for a pilot. If you do the crime, do the time. :8

p.s is that documentary available anywhere of the (not naming) crew that had several pitchers to drink the night before they were to fly, i think it was about 4 years ago.BBC1 or BBC2, not sure.

old king coal,
maybe its down to sheer luck that there hasnt been any fatalities, although there was the risk.the aim now is to alleviate this risk.it nearly sounds like you are commending it.there is no way to justify the action of flying under the influence, its just not right.:8

3rd Dec 2004, 09:44
No apology.

Glad to see there are some other people on here who are realists and that don't indulge in the PPrune art of trying to out pomp each other.

HD is acting like a Sun reporter and its sickening to read. Grow up.

The guy wasn't pissed but as said misjudged his revovery rate and at worst would have had a bit of a hangover. Not condoning it but now that gets you six months in a scum filled prison.

You get less for burglary.

But we shouldn't spoil the fun of the Hang em brigade I suppose.

3rd Dec 2004, 09:59
To argue that the guy might have been legal elsewhere, or on some other day, doesn't hold water. Try driving down the M1 at 120mph.... and then explain to the traffic cop that it's legal in Germany.. If you're caught driving over the limit try explaining that it was perfectly legal 50 years ago.

Sure, I can recall drinking with pilots until 3am when they've been flying at 7.... I've seen a captain "walked" across the tarmac with an F/O under one arm and a steward under the other and I've visited flight decks which stank pubs.... but that was half a lifetime ago and things have changed - for much the better for us all. Hopefully we are all more safety concious now?
To the pilots who see no problem.... the guy was breaking the law. Full stop. If you argue that it was OK do you blatantly disregard other rules applicable to your position? When it's low vis do you gaily descend below DH? Aviation is strictly controlled by rules which apply to pilots, engineers, controllers, etc. The purpose of those rules is to enhance safety and prevent people from being killed and as professionals we should strive to follow them.

Alcohol means nothing to me - I could go for a year without a drop. For those who can't then I feel very, very sorry for you but implore you to consider those in the seats behind you before you break the rules.... (At my last but one medical before I retired AME poked around and said: "You're a controller, right?" When I agreed he said "I can tell from your liver - in most pilot's of your age their livers are down to their knees". Sad, eh?

3rd Dec 2004, 15:59
Old King Cole

Yes it does reduce the instances of an offence by making an act illegal. In some cases it can stop it. Look at the publicity surrounding this case, any pilot/ATCO/Engineer reading about this is going to have a little think before drinking near to the time they fly/Control/Use a spanner. If they don't? Well more fool them.
Regarding Treason, you are talking about terrorism, a different subject, which I am not going to debate on this thread. The point being that Treason is illegal. One person (to the best of my knowladge) has been convicted of an offence under the Treason Acts in the last 30 years. As far as I recall he is also the only person who has been charged. In other words there is vertualy no treason, therefore, by your standards there is no need for law against it. Alternattivly you could say that because the penelties for treason are so high, then that deters people from committing it. The same could be said of this law.


Unfortuatly ignorance is no defence. It is mitigation, and does not seem to have been used by this chap. As far as I am aware there is an equivilent offence now in many countries, including Finland. In fact there must have been if he was arrested on the aircraft( I wont go intot he civil aviation ammendments act and its effect on juristiction on offences on non UK registered aircraft)Your suggestion is therefore flawed. As indeed is your suggestion that this law is for the gratification of law makers/enforcers and the courts.


You have summed it up, yes for that offence you get 6 months in a 'scum filled' prison. Odd thing about prisons they are full of people who have been convicted of criminal offences....As this pilot has been.

3rd Dec 2004, 16:49
If the 'flying finn'has been found guilty and dealt with in surely a reasonable manner why do so many feel that his actions must be justified. Quote ' Tallia who is married to a Finnair CC has attended trauma therapy and alcoholics annonymous'. Why did BALPA offer references testifying to his caperbilitys. Surely he should have been dealt with long before this if he had a drink problem.

3rd Dec 2004, 17:14
Firstly whilst I stick to my opinions I have edited the post to HD and apologised for the "strength" of post.


Can someone please tell me the last incient/accident attributed to drink in the UK? I won't wait up for the answer.

If truth be known the culture has changed only fairly recently mostly after C4. The new laws are draconian and using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

The real problem lies with airlines working their pilots to death. Long night there and backs, 2 crew 8 hour Atlantics, 6 earlies 4 sectors a day etc.

Now if you have been up all night and are landning in the morning it is said that your reactions and concentration is the eqivalant to having drunk 2-3 pints.

But that's OK?

Guess we all should be locked up.


Get a life. This guy is no criminal. I very much doubt you've ever met proper "hard" criminal but I can tell you it aint pleasant.

I hope he's got the strength to get through this OK.


3rd Dec 2004, 17:21

I have some bad news for you....he was convicted of a criminal offence, earning him a prison sentence. He is therefore a criminal.

I have a life thank you, I have also met many 'hard criminals'. Actualy it does not suprise me you think they are unpleasent, possibly your attitude has something to do with it???

As for incidents concerning alcohol? No idea, ask the CAA, afterall the idea for this legislation apparently came from them.

3rd Dec 2004, 17:41
I can kind of see both sides of the argument here. I think the point that NN is (imho) trying to make is that it would be nice if the CAA devoted as much time, effort and zealous rewriting of the FTL rules to address the severe flight safety issues caused by fatigue (which affects all crews) as they have recently devoted to rewriting the alcohol rules to address the flight safety issues associated with alcohol, which I would suggest has affected a far smaller %age of crews.

I do think that safety would be improved far more, far quicker if fatigue was seriously and maturely recognised as the potential killer that it is and legislation enacted accordingly.... but that would affect profitability and will therefore never get past the "Old Boy Network" of resistance. As far as fatigue is concerned, I fear we are going backwards and letting commercial pressure drive safety standards...which must be wrong.

3rd Dec 2004, 20:59
Nigel, CAA accident # 9101093D. Just to shut you up. And please, let me know it's you next time I'm unlucky enough to have you flying me around.. so I can get the hell off the aircraft.

4th Dec 2004, 10:56

"At my last but one medical before I retired AME poked around and said: "You're a controller, right?" When I agreed he said "I can tell from your liver - in most pilot's of your age their livers are down to their knees". Sad, eh?"


Do you think those that seek to become pilots are genetically predisposed to drink, or rather does this say something about the job of commercial aviator?

Mac the Knife
4th Dec 2004, 11:38
Having PPRuNe'd for a few years and noted with concern the bizarre rostering and inadequate recovery times permitted pilots I can say that I'm far more concerned about fatigue issues in the chaps flying me than a few micrograms of alcohol over already very low limits.

The point that NO commercial accident has been attributable to alcohol for many years is well taken. A disturbing number have however been attributed to fatigue. And what about the pilot who is still upset over the row he had with his GF/wife/neighbour the day before?

This is stupid hysteria akin to that that recently removed a pair of nailclippers from my overnight bag and does nothing to promte flight safety.

Mac M.D.

4th Dec 2004, 12:38

Thanks. The fact that Selfin has included the grand total of one incident and a GA one at that illustrates that GA is probably the limit of his knowlege.


well said

I'm still waiting for alcohol related incidents and accidents???


Were you p*ssed when you wrote that last post? Hope your not flying.

4th Dec 2004, 13:24
Mac, "more concerned about fatigue" .... your dead right but ...

...... is there any hope in a Nation that traditionally has worked its Junior Doctors for 80 to a 120 hours per week and is fiighting tooth and nail to retain the max hours despite E.U. pressure :(

4th Dec 2004, 13:41
Mike, not relevant eh? You know, 76% of light aircraft crashes in the US are down to alcohol. But at any rate, no fatalities attributed to alcohol in the UK on aircraft under parts 23 and 25.. what does that say? No need for the legislation since we all got by nicely without it, or sheer luck?

Considering the high percentage of pilot error involved in fatal aircraft accidents, and considering the propensity of alcohol abuse by British pilots (goes hand in hand with the thrill seeking nature of being a pilot), I would find it incredibly hard to believe that alcohol never once played a part in a fatality in the UK (commercial ops of course).

In any event, the very belief that no accidents have occurred yet in the UK as a result of alcohol consumption is neither here nor there. They have happened elsewhere.

HD's citation of his AME says it all. And with that in mind, it takes a HEALTHY liver an hour to process a unit.

And whatever happened to adhering to the ANO section 1 part 5 article 65 para 1? Seems to be a very funny attitude towards alcohol in this industry.

Furthermore it is very clearly stated in Finnish law that only a zero blood-alcohol level is tolerated whilst acting as a crew member. See Ilmailulaki 1995/281 38 §, paragraph 1, "Tehtävää ilma-aluksessa ei saa suorittaa se, jonka veren alkoholipitoisuus on alkoholin nauttimisesta kohonnut tai joka on käyttänyt muuta huumaavaa ainetta niin, että sitä on hänen elimistössään havaittava määrä." http://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1995/19950281

4th Dec 2004, 15:29
Mike, it's never going to be possible to rule out the potential of luck having played a hand in the UK not having had an accident where the major contributory factor was alcohol. Fatal accidents and major incidents are not the only products of flying whilst either intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Maybe you can fly on a bottle of wine safely, but out of all the pilots whom this law effects take the 10% who have the slowest metabolism, throw in an unhealthy liver, moderate fatigue, domestic problems, perhaps a bit of post traumatic stress... and you have an irrefragably lethal mixture. Now try telling me a pilot who's had a few glasses of wine is sensible, or that any law which might exist permitting it is sensible (whilst flying of course). Perhaps it is, perhaps I'm stark raving mad. But it is afterall the public which buys the tickets, of whom 1 in 3 are scared to fly; the very idea that their pilot would be slightly intoxicated might not appeal to them.

And for your official figures, how about mandatory breathalyzation when reporting for flying duty? The number of complaints about that ought to be a fair indicator of who fully appreciates the immiscibility of flying and intoxication.

And most European pilots are probably aware of a lot of things when they're sitting behind a computer.

4th Dec 2004, 16:43
The lesson here is simple. Every pilot should have in their bag a calibrated breathalyser ( in terms of your career not expensive). Before leaving home or hotel check level, if in doubt go "unfit for duty".

The other alternative is to become teetotal.

4th Dec 2004, 17:22
Mike Jenvey

the new act applies equaly to GA aviation as it does to Public Transport. Otherwise it would like being having car drivers and bus drivers with different drink drive limits.

While what you say about Selfin's post be irrelevent to public transport is true, NN didn't specify, so Selfin has answered his question.

Ok, it is just one incident, but is one not too many?

The pilot was not tried as such, he pleaded guilty. In his country there is a zero BAC level, and he must therefore have realised with the amount he had drunk he would still have alcohol in his system. He was about to fly a Finish registered aircraft and he should have been mindful of his obligation to comply with Finish law, (for him to have been convicted there would have to be an equivilent offence in the country of registartion of the aircraft, so Finish law is relevent) not just UK legislation.

The legislation was suggested by the CAA, presumably because they felt there was either a problem or potential for one. Perhaps someone should ask them for the reason they wanted it. It may answer better the question about previous incidents concerning alcohol (and drugs)

Its been suggested by Sky9 that if you are subject to this law, you should buy a calibrated screening device, thats a good idea, it would keep some out of prison. Alternativly if airlines invested in a few machines and put them somewhere prior to crew checkin where they could be discreetly used before someone commits an offence.

4th Dec 2004, 18:16
Mike, Ganden Security Services Solutions put it at 40%.

4th Dec 2004, 19:11
It was in an article done by the Daily Mail within the last 8 years. Since you seem very keen on finding it, I can recall it said "British Airways at Heathrow runs a course to help people overcome their fear of flying, estimated to be as many as 1 in 3."

It would be conservative to say about 30% of commercial pilots have a propensity to abuse alcohol. It's what you'd call anecdotal evidence, which I strongly believe would be nearly impossible to back up scientifically owing to the very nature of alcoholism, being a disease of denial. People are naturally going to lie about their drinking if they have a problem.

Air Sober
4th Dec 2004, 20:39
Hello all PPRuNes!

I decided to join this forum after having followed it since the Finn got arrested a few months back.

I am a close relative of an airline pilot who has managed to fly almost 30 years whilst being a serious alcoholic. By serious I mean someone who spends most of their time on the ground being heavily drunk (not to mention domestic violence, disturbed sleep, loss of memory and lack of deep relationships) and who reports-in under influence or hangover.

All this is tolerated year after year. No-one reports the pilot: family, fellow pilots, cabin crew, dispatch, wx office, ramp, crew bus driver, mechanics, passengers. Not to mention crew rostering who know the ones with this disease. Not to mention the annual / bi-annual medical check.

There are a lot of people who know who these people are. Yet hardly anyone dares to interfere.

I think that instead of pilots saying "NO" to routine breathelizer checks before reporting-in, there should be suggestions from the pilots themselves on how to make sure that one is fit to fly at least when it comes to being sober, or free from drugs. (Over)tiredness is also an important matter, but I won´t deal with it now, since I find it deserves its own thread.

Greetings from

Air Sober

4th Dec 2004, 20:42
Mike Jenvey

I had read your previous post, perhaps I put it badly. The CAA asked for the legislation, no idea why, and from what you have posted there seems to be no logical reason for it.

The CAA would not have had input into the BAC levels set, any more than than DVLA would have into the drink drive limits. That would have been done by advice from the Dept of Heath (or whatever its called this week). Like the limits for driving they are set given the level of impairment on somones ability to preform a task compared to when they have no alcohol in thier body.

You mention fatigue, and the effrect that has on a pilots ability, adding alcohol to that would only make it worse.

I accept again what you say about this being a about public transport, but the this legislation makes no distinction between the 2, if you are acting as crew of an aircraft you are covered by it.

The alternative is to say that if you hold a PPL, you can't drink but if you hold an public transport one you can....an unacceptable diffenrence by any standard.

It may be that the CAA have been influenced by the actions of others in the GA in other countries, but the end result is the same, the legislation exists, and isn't going to go away.

Having established that, then either people have to learn to live with it, or do something positive to prevent themselves being caught out, one way to get your own test kit. The other is for employers to make everyones life easier by providing the facility for staff to test themselves before they are in a position where they could be committing an offence.

One thing I think is obvious and hasn't really been mentioned is that any pilot or ATCO and probably engineer caught committing this offence is stands a very high chance of going to prison, because of the position of high responsibilty and public desire for thier transport needs to be in safe hands. In that you arn't alone, the same would happen to a train driver, or ship's captain.

Estimates of how many pilots have a drink problem are probably wrong yes, but are based on the population as a whole. In any group of people there will be some that can't control thier desire for a drink. Pilots are no exception.

fire wall
4th Dec 2004, 20:46
Surprised by the term for the Finn pilot.
No malice intended but what of the RBA pilot pulled off the flight in LHR.......any result?

Air Sober
4th Dec 2004, 21:04
Fire Wall,

since this thread started I have been surprised of how often the real message does not seem to get through to readers because of misspelling or language barriers between native and non-native English language speakers.

I kindly ask you to think it over, and submit any fruitful thoughts you have on this matter. Otherwise it is avoiding the question on what acts could be done for the fact that there is a n rate of alcoholics and alcohol abusers in professional pilots and something or someone should stop them before getting up there whilst under influence, or suffering a hangover.

By "getting up there" I mean operating an aircraft.

Communication by writing is difficult sometimes,

at Air Sober

I try to say it more clearly this time:

I decided to join this forum after following it since the 51-year old Finnish airline pilot Heikki Tallila, who by that time was employed by Finnair, got arrested on 23 August 2004 at Manchester Airport, when about to start an Air Scandic flight to Dalaman, Turkey.

Speak slower, words twice?

Air Sober

5th Dec 2004, 16:10
If the Finnair guy gets six months in jail for being 2.5 times the limit, what's gonnna happen to the Brunei Captain arrested at London Heathrow?
I heard he was 6 x the limit. :eek::eek:

5th Dec 2004, 16:14
selfinIt would be conservative to say about 30% of commercial pilots have a propensity to abuse alcohol. I'm sorry, pal, but I can't let that one go by.

On what do you base this insulting slur on a profession which has managed to kill 0 (that's zero) people in living memory through alcohol abuse?

5th Dec 2004, 16:50
Air Sober,
I'm very sympathetic to your problem but it is really dowm to you to do something about it if subtle hints are wasted. GOOD LUCK

cargo boy
5th Dec 2004, 17:18
Selfin, please go and find somewhere else to argue your case. You appear to be one of the 13.2% of non-pilots who have an opinion on 26.8% of matters relating to the 99.9999% of professional pilots in the UK who have never had an accident that was related to alcohol. Your constant reference to statistics to bolster a weak argument that shows no insight into the debate being conducted here just goes to prove that 89.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

As for someone claiming to have a relative who is an alcoholic pilot and is regularly endangering many others by working whilst under the influence and then coming on here claiming that no one is doing anything about it, what is your point? Why not take the initiative and do something about it yourself?

Most large airlines have systems in place where colleagues who have a drink or drug problem can be assisted by their peers through confidential reporting and a support/recovery system. It isn't the be all, end all solution but it has a reported success rate where it is in place.

As for working with colleagues who are under the influence? I have never come across this problem. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist but then I've never had a real engine failure whilst working and I do know that they exist. I don't come up with statistics made up at random though. Maybe I should. In my experience, 0.0% of pilots are alcoholics because I've never had to work with one. Same applies to engine failures.

The debate on here should be focused on the arbitrary limits as they have been set by the authorities and the methods of detecting them. What we appear to have is the usual misinterpretation of "drunk" and "over the limit" which can be two very different things. Of course, it suits those without a real understanding of the issues to resort to more emotive terminology with a sprinkling of ad-hoc statistics. :rolleyes:

5th Dec 2004, 17:42
Cargo Boy

Can you just clarify if you mean the limits have been set wrongly because of law makers misintpretation? Or that of the press and some on here?


5th Dec 2004, 18:23
The CAA would not have had input into the BAC levels set, any more than than DVLA would have into the drink drive limits.

The blood/alcohol limit of 0.2 promille comes from paragraph 1.085(d) of JAR-OPS. The CAA were, of course, fully involved in that the drafting of JAR-OPS. All the Government has done is to provide for the enforcement of this requirement.

5th Dec 2004, 19:56

An assumption on my part, sorry. It stands to reason that as in the case of the Raod Traffic Acts concerning Drinking obviously the medical proffession were consulted.

Anyway, having seen what you wrote and searched on the JAR OPS paragraph, I found this, which should answer the questions concerning where this act came from and the reasons behind it:



Article 65(2) of the Air Navigation Order 200069(ANO) makes it an offence for a person to act as a member of the crew of an aircraft while under the influence of drink or drugsto such an extent as to impair their capacity so to act. Article 13(8) makes a similaroffence for maintenance engineers and article 96 for air traffic controllers. In addition,operations manuals established by aircraft operators in accordance with Article 31 of theANO are required to give clear guidance on abstention from alcohol before duty periods.There is no provision for breath testing in the ANO.Following an accident to a light aircraft in 1991 the Air Accidents Investigation Branchmade a recommendation that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) initiate action to amend what was then Article 57 of the Air Navigation (No 2) Order 19957 to require aircrew involved in an accident or suspected of an offence under the Article to provide a sample for testing. The CAA accepted this recommendation, but section 60 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 does not give it the power to include such a provision in the ANO. The department stated in its consultation paper on proposed legislation on combating alcohol at sea that it had agreed to consider amending section 60 of the Act when a suitable legislative opportunity arose. The department consulted on proposals to introduce "with cause" alcohol testing for safety critical civil aviation personnel in 1996 which had a positive response. The Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) is an associate body of the European Civil AviationConference and has been developing harmonized aviation safety standards, known as joint aviation requirements (JARs) since 1970. It now has 32 member states including allEU member states and other European countries. The Joint Aviation Requirement on Commercial Air Transportation (JAR-OPS) adopted by the JAA in April 1995 containsprovisions on alcohol and drug abuse. Section 1.085(b) states that:a crew member shall not:(1) consume alcohol less than eight hours prior to the specified reporting time for flight duty or the commencement of standby;(2) commence a flight duty period with a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.2promille [ie 20mg/100ml], or(3) consume alcohol during the flight duty period or whilst on standby.JAR-OPS do not have the force of EU law but there is a European Commission proposal(COM 2000/121) to make them part of EU law.B. The BillThe provisions covering aviation personnel are similar to those being introduced formariners and largely mirror those in road traffic legislation and the TWA 1992. Clause89 introduces provisions similar to those in the ANO but they are now supported inclause 90 by a prescribed limit of 20 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood forair crew and air traffic controllers. The levels for maintenance engineers are the same asin the road traffic acts..Clause 91(2),(3)&(4) apply the offences of being over the limit or unfit to a categoryspecific to aviation that of crews on standby.


It doesn't appear to have copied and pasted very well, so please don't blame me for mistakes in grammer and missing spaces.

6th Dec 2004, 08:28
cargo boy wroteThe debate on here should be focused on the arbitrary limits as they have been set by the authorities and the methods of detecting them. What we appear to have is the usual misinterpretation of "drunk" and "over the limit" I would think, bjcc, that he means that as our Finnish friend could quite legally have driven to Manchester airport before being castigated by our media as 'drunk' (and we most certainly do not allow drunk driving in this country) that some people have lost all sense of perspective in these cases.

6th Dec 2004, 13:09
Yes, I agree thats what I think his point is, and having spent many years enforcing the legislation on drink drive,and arresting people for drunk I am fairly well up on th difference.

The question was also asked as to how this legislation arrived. Well now you have the answer.

However sober he was he has now been convicted of a criminal offence, he is serving a prison sentence as a result, as will in all probabilty anyone else caught doing the same.

As I said, people will have to learn to live with this law, I am not suggesting anyone should like it. There are ways of avoiding dropping yourself in it, and those I have suggested. Whether people take any notice is thier affair....

6th Dec 2004, 16:35
However sober he was he has now been convicted of a criminal offence, he is serving a prison sentence as a result, as will in all probabilty anyone else caught doing the same.
Yes bjcc

I say again: people have lost all sense of perspective in these cases. You included

6th Dec 2004, 17:41
Perhaps you could explain how how I have lost my sense of perspective? Or is this you have lost your sense of reality?

I. He was convicted of a Criminal Offence.

2. He is serving a prison sentence. The reason why is that he was in a position of responsibility, he abused that. The courts obviously are going to take a serious view of that, in the same way as they do of any occupation where there is a responsibilty for safety. In his own country there is a ZERO tolelerence to alcohol and flying. He exceeded that.

I have never called this chap drunk, I am fully aware he was no where near drunk. However any alcohol can impair a person, not make them drunk just impair thier ability.

Flying Lawyer
6th Dec 2004, 19:33
The Royal Brunei captain was sentenced today.

Link (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=136060)

I'm hesitant to go quite as far as saying you've lost all sense of perspective, but I understand what Arkroyal means and do wonder. You do seem to have a certain type of police view, and don't show any signs of being even remotely understanding about the 'other' side.
I was surprised by your earlier comments about prisons.
normal_nigel said:
”The guy wasn't pissed but as said misjudged his recovery rate and at worst would have had a bit of a hangover. Not condoning it but now that gets you six months in a scum filled prison.”
I think that was an entirely reasonable comment.
Your response:
”You have summed it up, yes for that offence you get 6 months in a 'scum filled' prison." Fine so far, but then you added "Odd thing about prisons they are full of people who have been convicted of criminal offences....As this pilot has been.”
and subsequently added: ” I have some bad news for you....he was convicted of a criminal offence, earning him a prison sentence. He is therefore a criminal.”

Do you really see no difference between people who’ve spent their lives sponging off society and committing crimes against others, and decent people who’ve worked hard all their lives and make a single mistake of this nature which is a criminal offence?

Do you really think the effect of being sent to prison is the same on everyone, regardless of the way they’ve lived their lives previously?
I’m not suggesting people of previous good character shouldn’t ever be sent to prison (or no-one would ever be sent) but don’t you have any sympathy or pity for otherwise thoroughly decent respectable hard-working people who make a mistake of this nature and are then banged up in prison with the dregs of society?

"(The pilot) is therefore a criminal."
On reflection, I think you are losing perspective. You consider anyone convicted of a criminal offence can fairly be described as a criminal. I don't. I think there's a big difference between someone who commits a single criminal offence and 'a criminal', and an enormous difference between 'a criminal' and someone who commits an offence of this nature.

The old adage 'If you can't do the time, don't commit the crime' is true up to a point, but there's a difference between delibertately setting out to commit a criminal offence and finding out later you have committed one.

It will be interesting to see what the Court of Appeal says about the six month sentence on the Finnish pilot if he appeals - which IMHO, he certainly should.

6th Dec 2004, 20:02
Methinks, that he (If he was a UK pilot) would fail his CRC check so not be able to get an airside pass so would be out of a job. Bit harsh if he has done his therapy etc and a one off error of judgement.

6th Dec 2004, 20:24
My only surprise in relation to the Finnish pilot is that he got 6 months. There are lots of excellent points made in this very lengthy thread - especially points relating to many other professions which do not have an "excess alcohol" law relating to them. Nevertheless, I feel that sympathy is misplaced for those who get convicted of this offence. I truly believe that the passengers would fully endorse the Judges' sentence. He could have got up to 2 years.

6th Dec 2004, 20:29

'You do seem to have a certain type of police view, and don't show any signs of being even remotely understanding about the 'other' side. '

Perhaps you didn't see the original comment I made amongst all the hype.

I felt and still do that 6 months is harsh (in respect of the Fin). I see both sides of this, I have no axe to grind against the Fin, nor the pilot sentenced today. I do however belive, as most of the public do that I have a right to travel in safety.

You know as well as I do that any alcohol will impare a person and reduce thier ability to do something in compasison to when they have had nothing to drink.

The term 'criminal' in respect of these 2 is objected to because of an emotional response, had they been any other occupation then it would no doubt be used regualy. That having been said I agree with your 'degrees' of criminal line.

There are many people doing time that have been convicted for offences while trying to do the 'right' thing, so I have never subscribed to the if 'if you can't do the time...' line. But I do feel that if you are in a position of responsibility where safety is a factor over which you have control then you must also accept the consequences if you do it wrong.

On a related note, I have to applaued your client today for allowing you to be so open about the circumstances leading to his conviction. Maybe if more people where like that then those that don't deseve a criminal record could stay out of trouble.

ILS 119.5
7th Dec 2004, 21:42
There is a famous saying, which goes along the lines,

Rules are for the guidance of the wise and obedience of idiots.

I do not agree/disagree with the new laws but thay have gone too far and only applying to certain aviation professions. What about doctors, surgeons, lorry drivers, taxi drivers, etc etc the list can be endless. During the 2nd world war, and I'm sure many recent conflicts, soldiers are given drugs to survive. How many soldiers are shot by their own people? I know it's not a great analogy but how far do we go to prove safety?
If laws are to be applied, then it should not be to one certain profession but to everyone. The aviation is the safest profession in the world and I, as an aviator, will always try to ensure that. But this does not stop a lorry driver driving through my village at 30mph, being slightly under the drink driving limit, and ploughing through my children walking home from school. However a commander of an aeroplane knows that if he is over the limit he does not go to work, also bearing in mind there are three more people to help him, one f/o, and 2 a/p's.
Two choices, either bring all professions under the same limit or readjust the whole system to be fair.

7th Dec 2004, 23:13

Your point is well made, except perhaps that the limit for engineers is the same as the road traffic act which applies to everyone who drives for a living.

There really is no need for a clerk to have a limit on how much he's had to drink, the worst harm he is going to do is stab himself with a paper clip...The same goes for many occupations.

Those where there is a safety implication are becoming more regulated....Train drivers, ships crews are all covered by similar legislation.

Whether or not everyone on your list will ever be subject to something similar I don't know. However I would be more than happy to see a ZERO BAC for anyone in a saftey related job, or one where they could cause harm by thier actions, yes I include the Police in that.

Someone has suggested before that the limits applying to aircrew and ATCO's should also apply to anyone working at an airport, I agree, at the moment because its private property you can't even breath test a baggage handler with a 4 ton truck once he's airside. That same baggage driver can do a fair amount of harm with his 4 tonnes worth.

Parliament passed the law, apparently they operate on behalf of the public (OK its a nice theory) and if you ask the public what they want on the subject of pilots drinking what reply do you think you would get?

Ultimatly the responsibility lays with the person subject to legislation, whether that be a pilot deciding how much to drink, or a Police Officer having to decide in a split second if he's justified in shooting someone.

I chose to be a Police officer when I left school, and in doing so I had to accept the restrictions (of which there were many) that applied to my life away from work. Those restrictions changed over time, some for better, some for worse, at the end of the day the choice was still mine, either I accept them , or vote with my feet. The same applies here, if people don't feel they should or can accept changing conditions they have the option to leave. Just as when I left the Met the world will keep spinning.....

Your quote is well known, but in this case break it and it may well earn you 6 months.

8th Dec 2004, 00:14
Amongst the determination to get stuck into BJCC and turn legal, technical terms like criminal into emotive ones, I think the crux of this issue has been lost - namely - the guy was warned that questions had been raised about his fitness for duty and yet he decided off his own bat to continue.

Regardless of the training, competence or rank of the person raising the question - if there is any doubt as to fitness then not taking positive action to resolve it is reckless. Prosecution is then inevitable. Before the howls commence about upstart PPL wannabees (the security guard (and me for that matter)) unqualified to make such calls - the safety of the flight is paramount. If a malicious report was made that delays a flight then that can be dealt with too - through the laws of defamation if needs be. There's even a fairly strong argument to say that upstart wannabees (not that he was) or people with a chip on their shoulders have a role to play in the whole system as they are far less likely to turn a blind eye or be cowed by the status of a senior captain.

119.5 discussed the M62 motorway crash. Well yes - if an ATCO or pilot feels that they are not up to the job due to tiredness then they are UNFIT FOR DUTY and have a legal duty to stand down - to not do otherwise rightly invites prosecution (hopefully before people get killed). Likewise - that ATCOs watch supervisor or that pilot's dispatcher who saw them behaving erratically or falling asleep prior to/during duty also has a duty of care to take positive action to ensure the ATCO/pilot is relieved. The reason that rest periods are mandated for pilots is because you can't just pull over and have a nap - the training, the rules and the intelligence required for the job involve you taking responsibility for your physical and mental fitness at the start of duty and at any point during duty when that changes.

Why different rules for different professions? I don't know the answer to that. Why is aviation being picked on? Well, it's not really - in fact the laws have taken a long time to catch up. I (currently) work in the railway industry. As far back as the turn of the century, signalmen were being rostered for 24 hour shifts and then prosecuted when they fell asleep and trains crashed. Admittedly they normally got off but we're back to my original point - they had no choice, no mechanism for going sick, no way of identifying or proving their fitness for duty or of taking any other action that wouldn't result in them being fired. On this occasion, the RBA captain had all of those opportunities and took none of them - as Kevin Bacon said in "A Few Good Men" - "these are the facts of this case and they are undisputed".

So is he a criminal? Yes. Is that fair? Yes. Should those who are upset that he has been branded a criminal step back from getting sucked in by tabloid headlines (branded a criminal - is it tattooed on his backside?) and take criminal for the legal technical term it is? Yes. It's an overrated emotive term. Ask yourself the question - have I ever done anything criminal? I'm not saying you have but if the answer is yes then just because you weren't caught doesn't mean you're not a criminal.

So 'Rules are for the guidance of the wise and obedience of idiots'. Which one is the Brunei pilot? How do you get the idiots to obey? Who defines wise? - self-awarding of status is an oxymoron - so who are the rules meant to be obeyed by? Everyone.



8th Dec 2004, 00:38

"Rules are for the guidance of the wise and obedience of idiots"

In light of the consequences, perhaps you'd now agree that Rules are for the adherance of the wise, guidance of the unititiated and obediance of those who can't help themsleves.

ILS 119.5
8th Dec 2004, 10:53
I agree that the quote does not apply to the law. But for some people rules are rules and "its more than my jobs worth mate" comes to mind. If the security guard smelt alchohol on the captain, he could have had a private word and told him, just like a pub landlord would say to one of his customers if they've had too much to drive. I would always advise any of my friends or colleagues not to drive if they've had too much nor to fly. What if the plane had got airborne and then crashed. Since take off to crash the security guard had told his mates that he smelt alcohol o the captains breath. Whose fault is it then?

8th Dec 2004, 12:59

Yes he could, he didn't have too and didn't. You can hardly make him responsible for the captains demise because he didn't.

The fault I'm afraid lays with one person and one alone. Yes he may well have thought he would be under the limit. Having read some of the posts in the early days of this legislation and seen the ideas people have regarding what they can drink and be certain of being safe to drive, it would not suprise me. The CAA advice of 12 hours between drinking and flying may again have had some influence on his thinking.

But when it comes down to it, he decided to drink, he decided not to eat and he decided he would go to work. Not the person that sold him the drink, not the security guard, not the BAA not the Police nor the courts, him!

There is no point in looking for someone else to blame and saying if he had done such and such it would not have happened.

If this had been a coach driver in similar circumstances would there be the same comments?

Baron rouge
8th Dec 2004, 19:14
Is the world out of its wit? 14 pages to acknowledge that the law is the law and a pilot with 49mg a criminal…

So what’s next?

Chop the head of Bush and Blair who told lies to the world and whose fault it is that so many Iraqis and American p eople die each day?

Hang those City bosses who after a well alcoholised dinner decide to delocalise their enterprises and ruin thousands of their employees?

Burn on the stack all the police chiefs unable to prevent their officers to drink alcohol?

I suggest we put a breathalyser at the boarding gate for the passengers, after all, an inebriated pax is probably more dangerous in an A/C than a captain below the already very tight drink and drive rule.

I only whish all those preaching tough justice meet their judge one day.

And to prevent any abuse, I don't drink .