View Full Version : Amsterdam- SEX, DRUGS, but no breath freshner

6th Apr 2001, 01:19
I hear that two BA crews have been breathalysed at AMS last SAT & TUES. On both occasions crews had departed LHR on early services.

Seems that the Dutch have their own Rules about this 1 unit within 10 hours. How this can actually be detected I can't tell.

However it seems to me you had better stay off the breath freshner if you are operating into AMS....

Nuke them
6th Apr 2001, 02:53
Yeah - this is the thanks they show for being rescued after being overrun by their neighbours a few years ago.

Anyone with any of those dam-busters left? Give those cloggies wet feet, I say!

That should change their tune.

Jolly Tall
6th Apr 2001, 14:34

Did you really register yesterday just to post this drivel? It is posts like this which are fueling the desire by some on this forum to restrict access to aviation professionals only (a group to which I hope you do not belong).

6th Apr 2001, 14:49
i am dutch and cant say i enjoyed reading your reply but thanx jolly very well put.

6th Apr 2001, 14:54
Yes be very careful. CX crews have been 'done' on the early morning shuttle too -about 10 mins prior to push back (0730) in walk the feds and say 'blow here or we arrest you'.
Nuff said..

6th Apr 2001, 15:37
Apparantly it can be quite dangerous for the lady to actually blow into it.

6th Apr 2001, 16:00
See also http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/Forum1/HTML/010949.html (and numerous other related posts found doing a search under "breath" - gets lots of other ones too!).

Has anyone got a copy of the specific regulatory information that the AMS Police are quoting? Presumably it's JARs.

Nuke them
7th Apr 2001, 04:37

Do you think I find it funny to be told that I am guilty of drunken flying unless I prove otherwise???? As a non-drinker I have to prove to these creeps that I am not drunk. Why???

Do you really believe that the Dutch have a god given right to do away with one's right of being innocent until proven guilty? What they are doing is randomly attacking crews and denying them the right to continue with their livlihoods unless they agree prove they are below some given alcohol limit.

Never mind that half of those conductung the tests could be out of their trees on dope that theycan buy freely in town and doesn't show up on breathlysers.

Jolly Tall
7th Apr 2001, 14:42

So you *are* an aviation professional. The points you make in your most recent post are reasonable, although I disagree with most of them. But I don't fly for a living so I won't argue the toss.

Except to say that as a PPL if I were required to undergo a breath test whenever I took a passenger, or was subject to random breath tests (as do some countries for motoring), I would accept it as necessary in the interests of safety. Afterall, you and me do not have to worry about being caught over the limit do we? And providing our persecutors can still read their meters accurately, they are not flying aeroplanes.

It was the nature of your original post I found offensive - it did not seem to be written in jest.

7th Apr 2001, 14:46
Why don't we all agree to blow in their machine to prove we are NOT DRUNK then refuse to operate the service say due the stress of the accusation.
I bet after all these a/c were laying around AMS the feds would soon be told to wind their necks in.
Wonder if someone has an incident would the post investigation put cause down to flight crew being stressed/preoccupied after being threatened with arrest etc.,
Sereously chaps/chapets we need to stop this random testing without due cause.

7th Apr 2001, 14:53
We heard all these arguments a generation ago when breath testing for drivers came in. They didn't help then, and they won't help now. Smile and blow chaps. You know it makes sense.

7th Apr 2001, 16:14
This is always a tricky and emotive subject. On the one hand those of us who are responsible professionals (a very high majority) take offence at being "checked" in this manner. On the other hand, pilots (and ATC controllers) have been known to report for duty under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Some cases have been documented. I don't like it any more than most but then I think, hell if I know I'll pass why do I need to worry! IMHO they should check for drugs too though, which is an ever increasing problem.

7th Apr 2001, 18:54
I got selected for a "random" alchohol test i India a couple of years ago.
Refused to blow in their machine.
Removed my head phones and asked to agent to call for a hotel van for the crew and arrange for hotel rooms for my 500 pax.

After a call to the higher-ups in Bombay, the
breath test was canceled and we flew out of there a few minuttes later.

Doubt the same would work in AMS, but as US airline employees working for a company with a FAA mandated random drug/alcohol program, we are not required random testing from any other source. I also remember the union backing us up in the aftermath of above incident: The boss asked, Well, why did you refuse the test?

Answer: In case of equipment not properly calibrated and false-positive result.

Don't know what ALPA says about this latest campaign in AMS.

Does anybody know???

Men, this is no drill...

7th Apr 2001, 19:27
Don't know ALPA's very latest stand on this AMS business, but a lot of their beef had to do with airport police coming into the cockpit to conduct a randon testing in front of the passengers. I think ALPA got the State Dept involved, since DOT drug/alcohol testing rules do not call for random testing of foreign crews in the USA - only with probable cause (accident/behavior etc). United certainly has had a problem with this in AMS, and at one point late last year only management pilots were flying the route into AMS since UA MEC demanded that union line crews should not fly into AMS until it was straightened out. Presumably that has happened since UAL and other US cariers are operating normally into there.

7th Apr 2001, 19:43
...well mr 411a, please, I am waiting to hear your off the wall connection with this and your thoughts on DEC's....if of course there is one ? Would a DEC's have done the same ? ????

come on mate, gloves off, a spirted reply please ....or are all you out of work DEC's in a bar somewhere drinking beer ?

7th Apr 2001, 21:22
Just sent off the following e-mail to the RLD, the Dutch equivalent of the FAA. Will post their answer here if and when recieved.

I would very much appreciate an answer to the following questions.

What is the legal basis for the new procedure at Schiphol in which aircrews can and do get randomly tested for alcohol in the bloodstream. Any JAR OPS references or Dutch law would be welcome.

Do these tests only look for alcohol, or are other drugs tested for as well?

What are the consequences for crewmembers (and their company) if the individual (or the company) refuses to be tested?


8th Apr 2001, 03:07
I understand 3 CX crews on early morning flights departing AMS were tested. The problem is that 10 mins before departure in front of Pax these guys march onto the a/c. If the crew were discreetly asked to step aside whilst going through immigration etc it would be much more understandable although still unacceptable as a random test. This present procedure is however, totally unacceptable.

8th Apr 2001, 23:45

"but as US airline employees working for a company with a FAA mandated random drug/alcohol program, we are not required random testing from any other source."

All countries have their own laws and surprisingly expect visitors (including americans and pilots) to obey them. Failure to do (including failure to provide a sample of breath if required) is generally regarded as a criminal offence, so it is not to be recommended.

In my view the Dutch legislation is entirely compatible with the Chicago Convention and it could be argued that it implements the requirements of Annex 2.

9th Apr 2001, 18:19
Dear Mr. FF,

Your question has been forwarded to the Informationdesk of Airsafety.

You can expect an answer within seven days.

Met vriendelijke groeten,

afd. Publieksvoorlichting
mw. ABC

Dutch ministry of Transport & Water management

11th Apr 2001, 13:33
Flaps, and others,

This discussion has been going on for a while now, here`s the letter of the prosecutor general to the Dutch ALPA about this. It explains a lot.

College van procureurs-generaal
parket-generaal - bureau verkeershandhaving

Bureau Verkeershandhaving Openbaar Ministerie
R.H.W.A. Putman
10 november 2000
Alcoholcontroles in de luchtvaart

Vereniging van Nederlandse Verkeersvliegers
t.a.v. Dhr. P. Griffioen
Postbus 192
1170 AD Badhoevedorp

Dear Sir / Mrs.

The aviation police have recently performed the first breathalyzer tests on crewmembers from different airlines at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. In the interest of air safety such checks will be frequently executed on the different Dutch airports in future. This letter is intended to inform you (further) on Dutch Law and regulations on this subject and the procedures that will be followed by the aviation police in the performance of their duty.

Laws and regulations
On the 1 st July 1999 the new Aviation Law (Wet Luchtvaart) came into force in which the relevant alcohol legislation is incorporated. This law applies to all persons involved in air traffic in the Netherlands (Amsterdam FIR), Dutch airlines abroad and traffic control. The law does not differentiate between commercial air traffic and private aviators.

The relevant prohibitive regulations are:

It is forbidden for a member of the crew to perform any activities on board of an aircraft with an alcohol level in their blood exceeding 0.2 ‰ or in their breath of 90 g/L.
It is forbidden for a member of the crew to perform any activities on board of an aircraft if he has consumed alcohol during a period of 10 hours preceding such an activity.
It is forbidden for a member of the crew to perform any activities on board of an aircraft whilst under influence of a substance (i.e. medicine, drugs) that inhibits his ability to perform his duties properly.
Because the Law speaks of" performance of any activities" the pre-flight preparation phase is included in the prohibition.

The aviation police will be performing breathalyzer tests at random on all crew members in the flight centre as well as on board of the aircraft.

The procedure will be as follows:

When requested by the aviation police crew members are required to comply and co- operate in the execution of a preliminary breathalyzer test As much as possible these tests will be performed out of view of the general public.
This preliminary test is just a pre-selection device. The machine will show a letter indicating the absence of alcohol or the presence of it and will give a rough indication of the amount of alcohol involved. It alcohol is detected, the person involved will be arrested and escorted to the nearest police station for a breathalyzer test that will show the exact amount of alcohol present.
If the alcohol level exceeds the limit of 90 g/L (0.2 ‰ ;) a police report will be filed of the incident. If the test results in a level between 260 g/L (0.6 ‰ ;) and 434 g/L (1.0 ‰ the license can he demanded and - depending 0fl earlier convictions - be retained. If the alcohol level exceeds the limit of 434 g/L (1.0 ‰ ;) the flight certificate will be demanded and retained. A request to have the license retimed can be directed to the local public prosecutors office.
If the alcohol level exceeds the limit of g/L (0.2 ‰ ;) the police is entitled to stipulate a no-flying time lasting up to 24 hours, depending on the alcohol level involved.
With this short summary of the law, regulations and procedure we hope to have given you a better insight into this subject. If you require more information or have questions concerning this matter, you are very welcome to contact the Bureau Verkeershandhaving Openbaar Ministerie.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. J. Spee
Hoofd Bureau Verkeershandhaving Openbaar Ministerie

I editted all the smilies out.

[This message has been edited by static (edited 11 April 2001).]

11th Apr 2001, 16:59
Jolly Tall

You said 'Except to say that as a PPL if I were required to undergo a breath test whenever I took a passenger, or was subject to random breath tests (as do some countries for motoring), I would accept it as necessary in the interests of safety.'

Could you explain how this present farce is in the interests of safety?

It is like so many things in todays world -the great majority of us have to put up with tiresome rules and procedures that have little bearing on reality and serve purely to make life a little less pleasant whenever we come up against these bureaucraticly inspired changes. Bit like the myth perpetuated in the UK as a justification for unnecessary speed limits and so called 'traffic calming' that 'speed kills'. It doesn't. Speed is a causal factor in under 7% of UK car accidents. DETR statistical references supplied if required.

I have nothing to hide, I will comply with the breath test requirements if required to but please don't tell me it is in the interests of safety.

Edited for spalling mistiks.

[This message has been edited by M.Mouse (edited 11 April 2001).]

12th Apr 2001, 00:58
Some good information posted above.

I think that it is our employers responsibility to disseminate information like this.

The problem with very low level limits is that very small margins of error can have very large impact upon our livelyhood. I pointed to the abuse of breath freshner which has an alchohol base, I am told that some people's physiology can create a background level of alchohol, this would not cause problems at the higher permitted levels for driving but for flying could cause you to loser your licence.

To support this inititive we all need to know with confidence where we stand.

Free, zero jeopardy breath tests/ use of test equipment before this becomes effective would go some way to allay my fears.

Further, conviction should never be permitted upon breath test alone. A sample must be provided for independent analysis.

Do you trust your flight management not to finger a face that does not fit?

I have been breath tested in a car, (glad to say negative) I was however quite shaken by the experience. My mind raced over the event and I talked of little else for quite some time after the event. This environment is not conducive to flight safety. I think that BALPA should cast off its sheeps clothing and insist that crews subject to a check, require two hours off before flight. Believe me the only thing upon the crews mind will be the trauma of the preceding event...

Jolly Tall
12th Apr 2001, 01:23

You quoted me correctly, but if I had spoken those words instead of written them I would have put the emphasis on 'if'. I hope never to have to undertake random breath tests, but presumably this would only come about if it were felt that there was a significant problem (and we can of course debate whether that really IS the case).

I suggested it would serve the interest of safety IF it deters some individuals from flying while under the influence, just as I imagine the current penalties deter some road vehicle drivers from doing the equivalent. I wasn't actually commenting on the particular situation in AMS, which may indeed have been a farce.

I believe random breath testing will happen - the legislation will need to be drafted carefully for reasons already discussed. Whether you or I like this eventuality is immaterial.