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View Full Version : AA FO Fails Breathalyzer, Arrested


simon001
26th Mar 2016, 17:13
American Airlines Pilot Arrested After Failing Breathalyzer Test at Detroit Airport - ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-airlines-pilot-arrested-failing-breathalyzer-test-detroit/story?id=37949289)

Does this effectively terminate an airline pilot's career, especially as a 51 year old FO?

How common are breathalyzer tests for airline pilots in the US?

Other countries?

Are the tests truly random or do the companies observe pilot behaviour?

Sky7
26th Mar 2016, 18:52
It depends on the company. They are not so common as in the EU bit depending on the severity one can have termination from flying for good

core_dump
26th Mar 2016, 18:52
He was reported by TSA because of the way he was acting. So this case didn't have anything to do with random tests nor an observation by company.

Here's the part that has me scratching my head: After the FO was handcuffed on the apron in full view of the passengers, the flight was cancelled due to a "problem with the co-pilot chair". Source (http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2016/03/american_airlines_pilot.html). I wonder what problem that might have been? Either the "problem with the chair" was the simple fact that it was now unoccupied, or possibly the chair was... soiled.

oyster cracker
26th Mar 2016, 19:16
Apparently an E 190 F/O.

Huck
26th Mar 2016, 23:53
That's why they talk to us in screening. It ain't to be nice.

parabellum
27th Mar 2016, 04:35
What is it with the handcuffs? Once it is established the FO was unarmed and had not committed a violent crime surely he can be left uncuffed? If he attempts to run away they can just shoot him.

grounded27
27th Mar 2016, 04:40
.04 you are probably fired and reported to the FAA, .02-.04 removed from service and many operators would put you on a program, some returned to service simply after you blow under .02.

sb_sfo
27th Mar 2016, 04:47
At a previous airline employer, there was a breath tester in ops. Asian carrier

AtomKraft
27th Mar 2016, 05:10
Where I work, we are breathalysed on report, 100% of the time.

Got to blow zero.:rolleyes:

West Coast
27th Mar 2016, 05:16
About Us (http://www.himsprogram.com/Home/About)

It's not necessarily the end of the pilots career. HIMS has helped many pilots return to flying.

twb3
27th Mar 2016, 06:00
Handcuffing is a standard part of every arrest in the US, regardless of the crime charged.

CaptainProp
27th Mar 2016, 06:29
Where I work, we are breathalysed on report, 100%

Really?! Never heard of that before. Nothing wrong with it in my opinion just never seen that being done anywhere else. Is that in Europe or?

CP

Hydromet
27th Mar 2016, 06:43
Got to blow zero. I thought it was possible to blow a quite low figure without having drunk any alcohol, which was the reason for choosing <.02. Is this so?

compressor stall
27th Mar 2016, 09:51
I can't speak for every breathalyser from around the globe, but the ones used in this country are unreliable below 0.02%, hence that is made the threshold.

anson harris
27th Mar 2016, 11:41
I must be missing something, but every time a US pilot is arrested in Europe for being over the limit, there's massive outrage on PPRUNE. No sign of it here?

unworry
27th Mar 2016, 11:52
I must be missing something, but every time a US pilot is arrested in Europe for being over the limit, there's massive outrage on PPRuNe. No sign of it here?

Bad enough the fellow presented to the flight deck drunk, but soiling his seat? Outrageous! :uhoh:

Srsly, I'm appalled not only with a pilot that would consider taking the controls in a sodden state, but also any crew that turns a blind eye to past infractions. It's almost never the first time ... :ugh:

Capn Bloggs
27th Mar 2016, 13:29
That's why they talk to us in screening. It ain't to be nice.
Is a reply mandatory?

AtomKraft
27th Mar 2016, 13:40
It's India that does the 'always blow, gotta be zero" routine.

JammedStab
27th Mar 2016, 15:23
Hopefully our AA pilot will be leaving AA for a while so he can join a different AA.

Squawk7777
27th Mar 2016, 16:18
I am generally speaking not a fan of APA, but their substance-abuse program and Project Wingman are both excellent resources and help to get back on track

gasbag1
27th Mar 2016, 16:55
One never knows what is going on in his personal life. Some people make bad decisions and certainly this would seem to be one of them. Fortunately AA and many others have excellent pilot support programs for substance abuse or stress problems . You will get more than one strike in normal circumstances from the programs but not many more.

I have known a number of pilots with "drinking" problems. Some just plain drunks other driven to drink with personal issues. The majority go thru a program and come out the other side clean. But I know of a few that did not and were terminated or forced to retire usually after a second or third occurrence.

aterpster
27th Mar 2016, 18:29
gasbag 1:

One never knows what is going on in his personal life. Some people make bad decisions and certainly this would seem to be one of them. Fortunately AA and many others have excellent pilot support programs for substance abuse or stress problems . You will get more than one strike in normal circumstances from the programs but not many more.

I have known a number of pilots with "drinking" problems. Some just plain drunks other driven to drink with personal issues. The majority go thru a program and come out the other side clean. But I know of a few that did not and were terminated or forced to retire usually after a second or third occurrence.

Those options and programs are moot for those pilots who report for flight duty intoxicated.

RIGHTSEATKC135
27th Mar 2016, 18:57
Philly coverage from the wee hours today: NBC-10 6AM 27 March 2016 (http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Philly-Bound-Flight-Canceled-After-Co-Pilot-Detained-for-Suspected-Intoxication-373631961.html)

Mimpe
29th Mar 2016, 00:08
In Australia the general view is that its a medical issue and with the appropriate treatment , monitoring and medical and psychological clearances for alcohol abuse, the pilot is given a second chance. Third chances are much rarer. Other recreational drugs are treated with much less tolerance. Certain substances are zero tolerance.

West Coast
29th Mar 2016, 02:24
Those options and programs are moot for those pilots who report for flight duty intoxicated.

HIMS has helped pilots in this exact scenario.

gasbag1
29th Mar 2016, 05:57
Off with his head , is old school now and has been for sometime. It is a medical issue and is treatable. Further hand held breathalyzers are notoriously inaccurate, however before we condemn the pilot we should get ALL the facts. And I would bet he will have to go for treatment either way to keep his career intact.

Another observation, the cops could arrested the pilot in a less visible area to save some dignity for the pilot. I am certain they wouldn't arrest a fellow cop caught driving on the roadside, in uniform, at a stop light, if that cop was intoxicated at work.

core_dump
29th Mar 2016, 06:34
however before we condemn the pilot we should get ALL the facts.And the cops could arrested the pilot in a less visible area to save some dignity for the pilot. I am certain they wouldn't arrest a fellow cop caught driving on the roadside in uniform at a stop light if that cops was intoxicated.We should get "all the facts" before condemning the pilot, but 2 sentences later it's OK for you to condemn the cops. Is that how it works? For all we know, the cops may have had a reason for not waiting.

16024
29th Mar 2016, 12:54
The source at #3, had to "assure herself to remain calm" (would a brandy help?), yet had the presence of mind to get her phone out and get taping, and was "hoping for compensation".
Well that's the important thing.
And when I saw the first post I wondered how long before the Hand wringers would pipe up.
Not long.
Is there any chance the mods could stop wetting themselves about the word "laser", and instead ban any reference to counseling, programs (sic), and mental difficulties whenever someone has had a shandy too many the night before.
While we're on:
"(S)he probably did it before" is against every tenet of justice that there ever was so stop it.

Airbubba
29th Mar 2016, 14:49
Those options and programs are moot for those pilots who report for flight duty intoxicated.

HIMS has helped pilots in this exact scenario.

We get the HIMS presentation in yearly training. In recent years we've been told that once you report, you can't get any protection from prosecution and termination through HIMS.

Anecdotally, there have been incidents where the pilot was impaired, saw that they were going to be tested, and 'disappeared' to the loo or elsewhere to make a cell phone call to HIMS before actually blowing over the limit. Since they had voluntarily 'come for help' some of the legal and employment consequences are mitigated pending successful completion of HIMS treatment.

After the Fargo incident Northwest's policy was that you could come down to the altar and say you wanted to enter HIMS anytime before the completion of the Before Start Checklist. Nowadays the goal post, or should I say foul line, is much closer to the security checkpoint in the U.S. from what I see.

Strange, one FO failed alco test and drugs test, after turning up for duty for a European company, and he was allowed to resign without further action. I found that appaling.

I've always claimed that this sort of deal was not uncommon in past cases where there was little public knowledge of the testing or results.

A recent thread here discussed the case of an Alaska Airlines pilot who was allowed to retire after blowing over the limit. Homeland Security recently filed a criminal complaint nearly two years later and he may be facing a plea deal for prison time.

West Coast
29th Mar 2016, 15:18
We get the HIMS presentation in yearly training. In recent years we've been told that once you report, you can't get any protection from prosecution and termination through HIMS.

Part of AQP recurrent this year was to watch a well put together video about the company's HIMS program. It had a couple of pilots who used the program, one of whom I know well who failed a post flight breathalyzer. He was immediately fired, sought HIMS assistance and something like 18 months later was back on line.

Airbubba
29th Mar 2016, 16:03
It had a couple of pilots who used the program, one of whom I know well who failed a post flight breathalyzer. He was immediately fired, sought HIMS assistance and something like 18 months later was back on line.

Thanks for sharing this.

Did he face any legal action after operating an aircraft over the limit these days? I realize that so much of what happens seems to depend on the jurisdiction and circumstances.

Stuff
29th Mar 2016, 16:05
I thought it was possible to blow a quite low figure without having drunk any alcohol, which was the reason for choosing <.02. Is this so?

If you suffer from auto-brewery syndrome it's quite possible to have alcohol in your system without having drunk any, however, I think the sort of quantities produced by this syndrome is far in excess of 0.02.

West Coast
29th Mar 2016, 16:47
Bubba

Not sure what legal actions he faced. I've not built up the courage to ask many questions. What I know of the case is what he disclosed on the HIMS video.

Airbubba
29th Mar 2016, 17:27
Not sure what legal actions he faced. I've not built up the courage to ask many questions.

I understand and hope your friend has a great career ahead.

West Coast
29th Mar 2016, 18:30
He's a good, thoughtful pilot and person when I flew with him years ago when I was a FO. Funny thing is I can't ever recall him drinking a drop of alcohol. Either he started after or preferred to do it behind his hotel door.

langleybaston
29th Mar 2016, 18:44
Perhaps the captain was surprised that the FO fouled himself before take-off, rather than during?

core_dump
29th Mar 2016, 22:50
According to CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/police-american-airlines-pilot-john-maguire-blood-alcohol-level-was-double-legal-limit/), the FO blew a 0.081, twice the legal limit for flying. At first the guy denied drinking at all, but then admitted he had "a drink" the night before. And apparently the business about the seat wasn't just a fabrication:

Officers were called and a short time later, Maguire was observed sitting sideways in the airplane, saying he was having trouble with his seat. The other pilot in the cockpit told authorities to "take him," according to a report.

If having a BAC of "only" 0.08 caused this guy to go sideways in his seat and piss off the captain that badly in the process, I'd say he's not a heavy drinker. That's in lightweight territory. Mug shot in the linked article. He sure doesn't look like he's in great shape, but maybe that's his normal appearance.

Zaphod Beblebrox
30th Mar 2016, 22:10
In the US operating a aircraft (part 121), under the influence is a Felony. That's why the handcuffs.

parabellum
31st Mar 2016, 05:02
Thanks for the two responses re handcuffs.


I attended the inquest of a friend who died in a road accident, the medical report included the fact that the blood/alcohol level was 0.016. The coroner, himself a doctor I believe, said this level could easily be reached from the alcohol that certain foods generate and went on to add that alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

Airbubba
7th Apr 2016, 21:38
New video released showing the pilot getting his epaulettes removed before doing the perp walk in handcuffs through the terminal:

Video Shows Co-Pilot Before Boarding Aircraft While Allegedly Drunk - ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/US/video-shows-pilot-boarding-aircraft-allegedly-drunk/story?id=38208296)

Some stills from the video in this article:

American Airlines pilot John Maguire boarded a plane TWICE while drunk | Daily Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3528270/Confused-wearing-sunglasses-moment-drunk-American-Airlines-pilot-boarded-plane-TWICE-legal-alcohol-limit.html)

Also, he goes through security in uniform wearing a ballcap. Is this the new casual work attire at American?

Toruk Macto
8th Apr 2016, 18:51
A crew member reports direct to the plane for duty and other crew have suspicions about his condition , if they suggest he goes sick and he does not then if they know they can report him and he won't lose his job then pressure off just report him , get tested and help . If he will automatically lose his job as he has signed on then will the crew report him ? Or will they circle the wagons and get him to the destination ?
The idea of door closed is a good cut off point .

Pace
9th Apr 2016, 09:24
I was watching a program on Japanese trains. When the drivers turned up for their shifts part of the process was blowing into a Breathalyser machine

With all the high tech security at Airports I am surprised a cheap device like that is not part of the process for pilots ?

Pace

Fratemate
9th Apr 2016, 09:31
With all the high tech security at Airports I am surprised a cheap device like that is not part of the process for pilots ?

It is in Japan.

Pace
9th Apr 2016, 11:15
Apparently He had such a high level from drinking the night before not the morning of the flight so unless the night before was like 0200 for an 0600 get up time he must have had a skinful

He must have known he was way over and taking such a flight is inexcusable and will have ruined his career.

Alcoholic or serious temporary problem in his life which caused him to do this ?

Maybe a compulsory breathalyser for pilots on a duty checkin would do more than find those unfit for flight but also make the pilots think twice about trying to get away with it and call in sick

The Japanese trains had a fixed breathalyser at the train driver check in point and took about 40 seconds to do

Pace

core_dump
9th Apr 2016, 11:38
Pace- So what that the Japs need/want a breathalizer on their trains. You want to start comparing yourself to a 1st year train engineer or something? And in Japan, no less? I'm sorry, I just don't see the comparison.

Fratemate
9th Apr 2016, 13:39
So what that the Japs need/want a breathalizer on their trains. You want to start comparing yourself to a 1st year train engineer or something?

As per post #45, it's not just the train drivers but pilots as well. That also includes those with just a bit more than 1 year on the job. If we compare the numbers of pilots in the US and Japan that have been hauled off their aircraft or otherwise been arrested for attempting to fly when they shouldn't be then maybe it's not just "the Japs that need/want a breathalizer".

I'm sorry, I just don't see the comparison.

Hmmm, operating a machine with a couple of hundred of the public sitting in the back when you should have all your faculties. You must have some thick blinkers on if you can't see any comparison between the two.

Pace
9th Apr 2016, 14:05
I would have thought a breathalyser tube to blow into at the Crew security checkpoint apart from being a low cost and quick addition to security would save pilots from themselves and save not just the passenger lives but the pilots career.

Its win win all round.

Car drivers take the risk or believe they are under the limit when they are over or think that last nights one drink too much is well out of their system when its not.

Its another day and yesterday was yesterday so I am ok.

The pressure on pilots to turn up for the flight knowing there are 200 PAX waiting to board after a night of doing something stupid. We are human too

Sometimes people need protecting from themselves and knowing there is a compulsory 40 second breath test would have meant that pilot would have called in sick i bet he regrets it now with his career in shreds?

Pace

Chu Chu
9th Apr 2016, 14:38
The ones who really need help would probably turn to something that doesn't show up on a breathalyzer . . .

InMotion
9th Apr 2016, 15:18
But random drug tests would catch those.

Zaphod Beblebrox
11th Apr 2016, 21:57
Reporting for duty is the critical issue. I am aware of another incident at this airline where the pilot boarded the aircraft. He lost all his licenses and was terminated. In another situation I heard the story of a pilot who was at the hotel waiting on the crew Van for an early morning departure. His partner showed up smelling like booze and obviously still under the influence. The sober one told his mate, "go back to your room sleep it off and call in sick or I will report you and you will get tested." Once you are on the airport, in uniform with the intention of flying and your name is on the crew manifest you are fair game for a violation.

Airbubba
11th Apr 2016, 23:24
Once you are on the airport, in uniform with the intention of flying and your name is on the crew manifest you are fair game for a violation.

And in recent years, the absolute best place for an American pilot to blow over the limit without getting jail time is Heathrow:


No jail for US pilot caught in plane over alcohol limit

A US pilot who was over the alcohol limit as he prepared to take off from Heathrow Airport has been given a 10-month suspended jail sentence.

BBC News - No jail for US pilot caught in plane over alcohol limit (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8523452.stm)

Heathrow pilot caught drunk at 9am about to fly to America is spared jail

A pilot who was three times over the alcohol limit in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 at Heathrow was spared jail yesterday after pleas from his bosses.


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

Captain Joseph C******, 57, said the unfamiliar tipple was stronger than alcoholic beverages he usually drank and he did not realise it would put him over the limit when he turned up at Heathrow the next morning.

..."One doesn't know how that alcohol will affect someone if something unexpected happens. As you ought to know, it could have catastrophic results.

"For that reason the courts always take a dim view of this offence. Usually the sentence is one of imprisonment."

The judge said because of his distinguished track record and glowing references from colleagues, he would instead impose a fine of 1,500, with 300 costs.


American pilot blames 'British beer' - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/6027937/American-pilot-blames-British-beer.html)

oyster cracker
11th Apr 2016, 23:48
After the Northwest Airlines drunk pilots episode in 1990, I resolved to never take a drink while on a trip. I had some brown water waiting for me at home if I wanted it.
This AA pilot might get his job back but it will be a long row to hoe.

Lookleft
12th Apr 2016, 04:13
Its not just in the Northern Hemisphere. A good lesson for anyone who drinks the day before operating:

Virgin pilot found over the limit before commercial flight loses appeal (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/virgin-pilot-found-over-the-limit-before-commercial-flight-loses-appeal-20160411-go3fvh.html)

Reverserbucket
12th Apr 2016, 10:46
Interesting to note the differences in the degree of recall between the two in the above cases...

VA:
The pilot would give evidence that he'd had two vodka, lime and sodas, shared a bottle of red wine, and another three glasses of wine, before going to bed at 10pm the night before.and
The pilot....argued that the amount he drank was not capable of giving such a high reading the next morning.

Whereas the AA pilot "....did have some drinks, but the only thing he can suggest to explain this is that he had some unfamiliar beers, which were stronger than those he was used to.

I wonder how the Australian argument would have gone down in the English court?

Airbubba
12th Apr 2016, 14:25
Interesting to note the differences in the degree of recall between the two in the above cases...


And the American Airlines pilot at Manchester who was acquitted in a jury trial after blowing 'almost eight times over the legal limit'. A third of his bottle of Bushmill's mysteriously disappeared while he was sleeping according to his testimony:

Earlier, the jury was told that he had left the Renaissance Hotel in Manchester for a seven-hour drinking session with his two fellow pilots. He had drunk pints in at least four pubs before retiring for a Scotch in the hotel bar.

Around midnight, he swallowed a sedative to help him to sleep. When he woke up the next morning, after 9am, he could hear his captain banging on the hotel door. He noticed that about a third of the Irish whiskey he had bought the previous day had been consumed, but he had no memory of drinking it.

"American Airlines pilot who drank whiskey 'in his sleep' is cleared" (http://archives.californiaaviation.org/airport/msg40331.html)

He successfully convinced the Minshull Street Crown Court jury that he had showed up at the airport drunk in full uniform only to tell the captain that he was unfit for duty and that he had no intent to operate the flight to ORD. As noted elsewhere in this thread, this 'we didn't know we wuz gonna fly' defense no longer works very well in the U.S.

"Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

KRviator
12th Apr 2016, 19:41
Pace- So what that the Japs need/want a breathalizer on their trains. You want to start comparing yourself to a 1st year train engineer or something? And in Japan, no less? I'm sorry, I just don't see the comparison. Having seen and worked in both industries, in Australia, the Rail Safety Act allows you to be required to submit to a Drug/Alcohol test once you leave home with the intent of performing rail safety work. In other words, if they suspect you have a problem, they can be standing at your mailbox, and if you reverse out of your driveway in work uniform, you can be compelled to provide a sample. No ifs' buts or maybes. I have never heard of anyone being tested in this manner, but the scope is there - and it also allows you to be tested at work, but before you actually sign on duty.


Having been driving trains for over 10 years now (much better pay than most pilots in Oz...), I have been tested in the middle of the Australian scrub (Merrywinebone, for those who know it), been driven straight to the testing facility after stepping off a train as part of a random test, and been tested more times than I can remember as part of the sign-on process, again, all random tests that I am fully supportive of.


I - and all but a tiny percentage of my colleagues - have no problem with, and would actively support and encourage, the testing of each Driver before signon, and the immediate sacking for anyone that fails. It is well known and an accepted part of the job that you are AOD free at work, and there is plenty of support for those that need it. The risks of a subtle impairment putting a Shunter or another Driver at risk are worth such a hard-line stance, IMHO, and while the number of people that might potentially fail is quite small, we operate with no FO to watch over our actions.


For this reason, I can't understand any transport professional, be it a train driver, ferry skipper or airline pilot that would have an issue with such testing. Unless you yourself are prepared to risk rocking up to work after a night out with the lads, what is the issue? And if you are such a person, feel free to not be the one crewing my flights...

chuks
12th Apr 2016, 20:16
A DWI (Driving While Impaired) along with certain other driving convictions can easily lead to the loss of your FAA license. You don't need to go anywhere close to an airport for that to happen.

There's a box on the medical application that asks specifically if you have been convicted of a DWI, although it may not be phrased in quite that way.

It's a real nightmare, being a pilot with a DWI, when you are definitely out of business for quite some time. There's a real gotcha in that you essentially are required to turn yourself in to the FAA for a DWI. If you do not then there's this federal database that tracks DWIs (and certain other offenses such as doing 150 mph in a school zone) that will, sooner or later, link you the pilot to you the drunk driver.

It's a brave man who drinks before he drives or flies nowadays. You are always gambling when you drink, gambling with whatever rate your liver is able to burn off the alcohol and how much alcohol you have imbibed, along with the odd fact that many people will have a tiny amount of alcohol in the bloodstream anyway. You can be walking around with .001% BAC just for starters!

It's no excuse, but it's quite true that knocking back a few pints of real British ale could put you over the limit where the same amount of what passes for beer in the States, perhaps just 3.2% alcohol, would not.

Pace
12th Apr 2016, 20:25
Pilots have problems like anyone else and have to also be protected from themselves.

The Japanese railway requirement of a breath test on signing on would do just that!

A pilot who had been on the binge the night before for whatever reason would call in sick rather than try to get away with it if he had to blow into a machine

It would save his job from a stupid decision mistake as well as maybe a plane load of passengers so win win all around and the cost a 30 second blow

Pace

Derfred
13th Apr 2016, 00:25
And all this to solve what exactly? How many loss of life accidents are caused by alcohol in airlines? Zero.

Yet we tolerate drunk car drivers - I don't see you demanding alcohol interlocks on all motor vehicles, and they are responsible for thousands of deaths per month.

It's usually a good idea to actually identify a problem before you go to great lengths insulting the professionalism of airline pilots every day they turn up for work.

Oh, hang on a minute, we have... It's called fatigue. What are we doing about it? Nothing.

harrryw
13th Apr 2016, 04:49
MOST ALCOHOL-RELATED PLANE CRASHES OCCUR AT NIGHT AND IN WORSENING WEATHER CONDITIONS, NEW STUDY SHOWS (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2005/01_06_05.html)

Pace
13th Apr 2016, 08:12
This guy will have had his career ruined finished Caput. There was an equal incident at Leeds UK where the pilot turned up unsteady on his feet and was found to be way over the limit.

All alcohol related incidents are not Alcoholic s but maybe a pilot with a personal problem or doing something he regrets the night before as a one off.
The very thought that they had to blow into a machine going airside would have saved both pilots their careers so its not just for passengers being flown by someone unfit its also about getting pilots to think twice and call in Sick

A and C
13th Apr 2016, 08:27
Are we not overblowing this thing a little in thirty years of professional avation I have seen one person turn up for a flight under the influence. He did not get to fly due to crew action.

The installation in crew rooms across the globe of breath test machines would be very poor value for money.

The money would be far better spent on addressing the fatiuge issue.

harrryw
13th Apr 2016, 08:46
Pilots can address the fatigue issue in the same way they can address the alchohol issue. Refuse to fly when alchohol or fatigue impaired and refuse to fly with someone that is.

chuks
13th Apr 2016, 09:16
"Pilots can address the fatigue issue in the same way they can address the alcohol issue. Refuse to fly when alcohol or fatigue impaired and refuse to fly with someone that is."

Alcohol impairment, okay, but fatigue? That's highly subjective, so that saying that your schedule, or that cheap motel you were staying in, left you too fatigued to operate ... that might solve another problem instead: the lack of job opportunities, when Management would find someone else who was perfectly happy to take on that very same schedule that you just found yourself unable to cope with.

It seems like yesterday that our genius Management had found a double-wide house trailer for us to use on our overnights in beautiful Columbia, South Carolina. It was winter then, when even South Carolina has cold weather, down around freezing, and this thing had no real insulation and a very noisy warm-air heating system.

Every five minutes or so the furnace would come on and put the temperature up to about 20 C, when it would then shut off. Then the temperature inside would plummet to match the temperature outside. It took about ten minutes for that until the noisy furnace came on again ... cycling all night long and leaving both of us unable to sleep. When we complained about that to Management they got on our case about being unreasonable ingrates, since nobody else had complained. Next time we took our sleeping bags and slept without the furnace; I have no idea how the other crews managed.

Soon enough we were invited to take our ungrateful selves down the road, when that sent a message to me.

Pace
13th Apr 2016, 10:56
I do not know if there are any figures available other than prosecutions on the likely numbers of pilots who probably have flown while slightly over limit?

I am sure most of us at some time in the past have driven home from a pub or party thinking that they were probably under and would risk it.

I am sure if there was a police car parked at the entrance to the pub no one would get into that car if there was any doubt at all.

IT could be the case of doing something stupid the night before rather than an alcoholic with a drinking problem but this something stupid will ruin your career and reputation

obviously a seriously drunk pilot will be noticed by other crew or security but those just over probably won't

Pilots are not super Gods and due to the nature of their jobs are probably more likely to suffer personal problems and as posted Fatigue and stress is more likely to create a situation where a one off indiscretion could have disastrous results for the pilot and possibly safety of the aircraft

chuks
14th Apr 2016, 03:27
We are simply tested for the use of certain drugs, not for impairment.

Alcohol is legal to use and quickly eliminated from the body. Low amounts of alcohol are not a problem, although it's very easy to go over those low limits.

Cannabis, on the other hand, usually is illegal to use, even in places where it's been decriminalized, plus it's slowly eliminated from the body, so that the detection of trace amounts even a month or more after use, when there's almost no question of impairment, can be as bad or worse than having a too-high BAC.

Some of us may remember that scene from Pulp Fiction where Vincent Vega is telling Jules about the "hash bars" in Amsterdam. Check this out:

"Cannabis is less harmful to a user’s health than hard drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine, but it remains an illegal substance. This means that the trade in as well as the sale, production and possession of this drug is punishable by law. A tolerance policy is active in the Netherlands which means the possession and sale of soft drugs is recognised as a violation of the law, but isn’t prosecuted." (FAQ Coffeeshops in Amsterdam | I amsterdam (http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/media-centre/city-hall/dossier-coffeeshops/faq))

Heliport
14th Apr 2016, 07:00
harryw

The 2005 study (your link) related to light aircraft/general aviation crashes.

harrryw
15th Apr 2016, 07:38
"harryw

The 2005 study (your link) related to light aircraft/general aviation crashes."
Yes I know....but just as GA obeys the same physics as commercial aircraft the affect of impairment of the pilots is similar for both.

of course if not feel free to post a study counteracting this.

chuks
15th Apr 2016, 08:27
It's very rarely that drugs, including alcohol, feature in public transport aircraft accidents. We get into a cost-benefits argument then, given that this problem does not seem to be a large one. Simply put, there are more beneficial things to spend money on when trying to improve the safety of air travel than increased drug testing of crews.

When it happens, it's bad, of course, but it's a very rare occurrence in airline operations, fortunately. Just for starters, there are two of you in the cockpit, plus one or more cabin crew, so that someone might notice your being over the limit, especially when you have all just been on a night-stop together. In private flying you are often alone in the cockpit, with no one to notice that you might have been drinking.

I remember once when I went over to have a word with the pilot of a Cessna 195 Airmaster, after he had done a rather neat "crop-duster" style approach at our airport, one with a lot of student traffic. When he opened the door I could see all these shiny alloy beer cans rolling around on the floor behind his seat!

I just complimented him on his classic round-engine machine and took my low-time, non-rich self off in a different direction then, because there was not much sense in trying to get his attention, a nobody talking to a somebody, a somebody who was probably half-lit. That was 40 years ago, and down South, when a different approach to all this was taken.

He later dinged in, when the accident report autopsy showed him positive for alcohol, but there he was a rich guy who flew alone and did as he pleased. There was no way he could have got away with that flagrant behavior when flying for an airline, even then.

Reverserbucket
15th Apr 2016, 11:19
I presented myself for an FAA checkride one morning to a Designated Pilot Examiner who following the oral, informed me that we couldn't fly until 1100 at the earliest as he had been drinking into the early hours of the morning. As the morning wore on however, it became clear that his hangover was progressively getting worse and the copious amounts of coffee and jugs of Gatorade just weren't helping so he effectively persuaded me to call off the trip on the basis that the crosswind was likely to be outside limits by the time we taxied - it was only a few degrees off the axis and less than 12kts forecast for the entire day, in addition to me having several thousand hours of experience. We met again the following week, flew and as I shutdown he handed me a pre-typed Temporary Airman's Certificate to sign...I learned about flying that day. This gentlemen flew Part 121 for a living.

Another guy I knew was an A320 skipper with a large US carrier who was often seen wandering around the local grocery store in uniform minus his epaulettes before mid-morning, nursing a large 7 eleven jug and slurping away as he went - who drinks vodka through a straw? My point being that although I'm sure most of the sorry tales we see reported are no more than an unfortunate aberration, whether it be an oversight of the strength of the local tipple or inadvertently reaching for 2/3 of a bottle of scotch in the night instead of your glass of water, some aircrew, in common with a proportion of the rest of society, suffer the appalling affliction of alcoholism, yet apparently manage to remain high-functioning and continue their daily routine unaffected by their diminished mental health state. The gentlemen described in my examples above are both now retired but there are many who continue to fly and who need help and support to either stop drinking or stop flying and sometimes, it's the intervention of the TSA or suspicion of a local security screener that makes that decision for them. Surely there has to be a better deterrent than merely a chance that you get caught?

chuks
15th Apr 2016, 12:05
If there's a better deterrent than the risk of landing on your butt, out of your high-paying and still somewhat prestigious job, in late middle age, I have no idea what that is! Ol' Demon Rum gets on top of you without you even noticing that, and then it's usually denial-denial-denial until the hammer comes down, since denial is part of being an alcoholic.

I've watched it happen several times. once even cornering the guilty party when he came into my office for some expense money, badgering him about this rumor that we all had heard, that he kept a bottle of Whyte and Mackay in his night table.

"Well, yes, but sometimes I have people come to visit!" was the answer to that, when I told him that the rest of us invited our visitors into the bar for a few drinks, that we did not need to stock booze in our rooms.

Needless to say, he laughed it all off, me not being ex-RAF and all, until one night when our Flight Surgeon came into the bar late one evening when this fellow was on earlies and discovered, shock, horror, that the man was heavily intoxicated, too far gone to ever even hope to report for duty the next morning at 0700 cold sober. Then he finally joined AA and all, but it took being fired to finally wake him up to reality. That's the booze for you.

After that there's just, if you are lucky, one of those wearisome programs the that let you get your medical back if you can prove that you have learned how to stop drinking, not that you can ever stop being an alcoholic.

Heliport
15th Apr 2016, 12:52
harryw Yes I know....but just as GA obeys the same physics as commercial aircraft the affect of impairment of the pilots is similar for both.

of course if not feel free to post a study counteracting this. You misunderstood my point.
See the first sentence of the post after yours - It's very rarely that drugs, including alcohol, feature in public transport aircraft accidents.That can not be said about light aircraft/GA accidents worldwide.

Reverserbucket
15th Apr 2016, 13:00
badgering him about this rumor that we all had heard, that he kept a bottle of Whyte and Mackay in his night table.

At least he kept it at home; I worked at a place where the Chief Pilot (and another FAA DPE if I recall) kept a bottle of scotch in the drawer of his desk in the office.

Sadly though chuks, the risks do not always outweigh the need and as you say, denial is part of it.

IcePack
15th Apr 2016, 16:28
I worked at a place where the Chief Pilot (and another FAA DPE if I recall) kept a bottle of scotch in the drawer of his desk in the office.


Yep in times gone by, not unusual to have a "sharpener" prior to a check ride.
No one crashed.
Maybe we even performed better, who knows.