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Drinking, driving and flying

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Drinking, driving and flying

Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:16
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: England
Posts: 928
Yep, me too.

There has never been an honest debate about it. Can't recall ever been pulled up for drinking, ever. Apart from once by my Chief AH at Yeovilton Fire Station. Never again in front of him.
Part of the forces culture since time was recorded.
Certainly, I honestly have to say I thought the RAFs drinking culture was stronger than the FAA (and I don't want to start a row, just my honest observation around the world). This actually increased my respect for the crabs, in a younger mans way.
Is it really necessary to enforce this new rule?
Another shot to the body of the prone UK armed forces?
Why now?
I've been in many tight spots of bother for our lovely Queen and although I hate to say it, a drink often got me through it all, usually afterwards down the messdeck with my mates>? Or in the pub.
Next day I carried on, and nothing further was said.
Familiar at all levels>? what is the problem> Is the date 2013 the problem?
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 21:04
  #22 (permalink)  
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Personally I find it a bit odd that the flying limit is to be so much tighter than the driving limit. Strange as it may seem, things happen a lot faster on the road than they do in the air because everything is so much closer and can change path so much quicker (kids jumping out into the road, for example). And while unexpected things can and do happen while piloting aircaft, the road is a far more unpredictable environment in the short-term. If 9mg is required for safety in aviation, why not behind the wheel? Don't tell me "realism". Realism would allow people to have a single beer or glass of wine with dinner and not have to worry about their jobs the next morning. Even though a single drink will probably be absolutely fine, any enjoyment will be more than offset by the nagging doubt.

On the plus side, all those stations that have moved their Happy Hours and squadron bar opening nights into midweek will now have to move them back to their rightful place on Friday nights! Saturday night Summer Balls are probably history as well...
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 22:33
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Cambridgeshire
Posts: 72
Gentlemen & ladies,
I seem to remember a certain 'Summer UAS Camp' at St Mawgan in the early 80's. As a student if you were not having a yellow or a brown at the bar comment was made by the senior officer in ear shot.

This was about 'squadron morale' In todays PCas world of love everyone and 'you' cant say that it was dreadful BUT it was an integral part of squadron morale.

Ok, you cant transpose that part on to today - granted.

Going into battle in business or in real means you need to KNOW the guy / girl standing next to you or on your wing. That process of ' knowing' takes time and is formed in training and in the mess. Some may say the 'mess' doesn't count but I would beg to differ - its all part of that complex bond that holds under adversity.

So, breath testing a young female / male fighter pilot on ops isnt in context. I would put my ass on her / him getting to target any day compared to the 'social norm' any day.

Horses for courses, let those who have 'riden' dictate the rules not those would may have perhaps liked to? It's not about alcohol - its about bonding....?!

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Old 26th Oct 2013, 23:53
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK and where I'm sent!
Posts: 519
Fun though it may be, I seriously cannot buy any of these arguments that suggest drinking alcohol makes one a beter operator or is essential to bonding with one;s squadron mates. The new limits are worrying and may well be inappropriate (I don't know), but the arguments put forward here are utter tosh.

I would really like two things: clear direction of when I can and cannot drink and some senior direction about how we are going to make this work and fit in with a normal social life.

Remember there is a difference between civ pilots that, in some cases, have a few days off at a time and mil pilots that may have a weekend, excluding other duties.

Above all, we need to be told exactly what rules we're required to work to and exactly what they mean in practical terms.

Fortunately for me the social life in the Mess has been beaten down to virtually nothing now anyway, so this is very unlikely to affect my bar time very much.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 00:18
  #25 (permalink)  
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Hangar, and the telling words were [QUOTEI hate to say it, a drink often got me through it all, usually afterwards down the messdeck [/QUOTE]. Afterwards. I wouldn't dream of driving the day after a skinful so why would i fly after a skinful and fly a crew down the back while not at my best. I wouldn't. Perhaps some people thought it was ok "back in the day" but it never should have been, shouldnt be now and certainly shouldnt be in the future. I'm off to get shite faced, not flying till Tuesday.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 09:26
  #26 (permalink)  
Deepest Norfolk
Posts: n/a
It may be folklore, but a story went around many years ago, Thus: -

A pilot (Colt, Jag ISTR) was shoved in the sim and given an escalating emergency to handle. No problems, landed safely.

He was then given a half and left to marinade for half an hour or so and given the same scenario. Crashed and burned.

Just lucky first time or is there a moral here?

Another point, you don't need to be p1ssed to bond. I'm (fortunately or unfortunately as per one's perception) allergic to alcohol and I can have just as good a time and bond as effectively as the next wino!!!

Old 27th Oct 2013, 10:47
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,851
This is just box-ticking by the MoD. If the MoD was really serious about the performance difference between 9mg and say 15mg I would expect them to have a long hard look at our fatigue management policies.

Our current rules on long 'days' and short 'nights' combined with a parsimonious attitude to crew rest facilities will continue to ensure that quite a few of our crews are performing below the level that the revised alcohol rules allegedly address.

I think our civilian counterparts would be surprised at how fatigued we can be before launch across the planet and the average civilian authority in Europe would be horrified to know that I have arrived at one of their busy civilian airports at the end of a 20hr+ crew duty day.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 10:48
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Jto, the two are linked.

Figure*2 : Fatigue, alcohol and performance impairment : Nature

it's pretty obvious whether you are pissed or not, your performance, decision making and levels of complacency due to anticipated fatigue levels, well known about and due to lack of aircrew, fatigue are going to be at dangerous levels for a fair few of our routine tasks.

As for the new regs, I fully support them. If you can't operate in or around an aircraft without having had the self restraint to not drink, or the integrity to fess up, you don't deserve to work in aviation.

Last edited by VinRouge; 27th Oct 2013 at 10:59.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:00
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,851
Indeed, they are very much linked:

So towards the end of a typical military crew duty day I have the equivalent of 0.07 to 0.09 blood alcohol.

The medics define the behaviour as:

-Blunted feelings

The medics list impairments to the following:

-Depth perception
-Peripheral vision
-Glare recovery

Yet the MoD calls it:

-A perfectly acceptable time to try and land the aircraft
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:42
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK and where I'm sent!
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I'm not sure how long your typical crew duty day is, I'm assuming you are thinking of a crew flying a route and landing at around 20 to 22 hours? The thing is, if you redraw that graph so that the left vertical axis goes from 0 to 100 (or a bit over) it would suggest an answer that looks very different. The dip in performance would look very slight. At worst, the crew is still funtioning at around 95% effectiveness. I'm sure there are plenty of other human factors that are likely to have a much larger effect than that.

One could argue that landing the aircraft at 95% effectiveness is pretty reasonable. Just a thought, Just This Once.

Of course, if you're worried about landing then, it looks like you just need to fly around for another eight or nine hours and you'll be almost back to 100%.

Last edited by Mach Two; 27th Oct 2013 at 11:43.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:49
  #31 (permalink)  
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M2, the right hand side of the graph is pertinent to this discussion.

Having operated having been awake for 30 hours on a standard duty day, I can tell you I would have preferred to have had 3 pints and be well rested. When it takes three attempts to get your squalk code read back you know you aren't firing on all cylinders.

I wonder what the long term health effects are of these 'routine' trips? Be useful for cam to do a study as I'm aware that gastrointestinal disorders, heart issues and sleep apnoea aren't unheard of.

Last edited by VinRouge; 27th Oct 2013 at 11:50.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:50
  #32 (permalink)  
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I like your thinking and perhaps worth a go in front of a jury!

Just to define the scale, above 0.1 BAC you are in to erectile dysfunction territory…
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 11:54
  #33 (permalink)  
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Location: UK and where I'm sent!
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Yes, you both put it into context well.

Just one point:

Just to define the scale, above 0.1 BAC you are in to erectile dysfunction territory…
Speak for yourself, Tiger!!!
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 12:00
  #34 (permalink)  
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I recall an incident back in the 70s when a surprise early morning callout (minival maybe?) found a crew assembling to fly with a captain who was still distinctly "under the weather" from a very heavy late session the previous night. The crew tactfully pointed out to their captain that he obviously had a heavy cold and blocked ears, so he should declare himself unfit to fly. Said captain wouldnt take the hint, so his crew downed navbags and refused to fly with him

Result, a huge bollocking from the boss for the captain and none of that "squadron loyalty" crap mentioned by wensleydale and vascodagama for the rest of the crew. Said captain learned his lesson and went on to a very successful RAF and civilian career.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 12:18
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 374

Not sure the line you are taking but I did not mention squadron loyalty or anything like it. As I said the AEO refused to fly and the other crew went. They were just as bad as us! What surprised me was the attitude later of some individuals who thought that the AEO was being a pxxf by refusing to go.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 15:20
  #36 (permalink)  
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Perhaps more accurately I was referring to what Wenselydale experienced when he quite correctly pointed out he was unfit. Some squadron commanders on the make seemed to think that the rules could be bent if it got things done - quite whether they would have backed up those whose arms they had been twisting if things had gone wrong is a different matter.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 15:38
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Exiled in England
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Coming at this from the sleep deprivation angle.
Currently I am head hammer smasher in a factory.
Many times I have been called out, so woken from broken sleep after a long and stressful day.
Dressed, car, drive to work, work on live three phase equipment.

Drive home, back to sleep (yeah ok)
Alarm goes for the following day and back in to work.......

I feel far worse at this point than if I was we'll oiled.
yet there are no rules in law to protect me, working time directive included.
11 hrs daily rest is not opt out able yet if that eleven hrs is broken by a callout, or three in a night it is immaterial.

The only way to not be dead is to inform the management I am going for a nap for an hour on works time and only wake me if there is a major disaster,

Point being, NOBODY should be in work in an unfit state, whatever the job.
Th rules need to be set as such that should you have a glass or two with dinner then the limit for flying the following day will allow this, if that can't be achieved safely then no booze for you...

I also maintain that British military drinking culture is not big nor clever.
Call it what it is, alcoholism.

I had a chat with a fellow JellyTot once, we totted up his previous Friday score.
He was at twenty units before leaving the beer call.
Total for the evening was fifty three units........

Thats alcohol poisoning or cirrhosis of the liver and an early death.
Yet he was thought of by all as a top bloke because he could handle so much booze..........

Yes, enjoy a drink. Get wasted on occasion but if you can't go out and stop drinking or be sober all night then there is an issue.....

Oh, and I had a beer last night, very nice it was too.
That's three beers in a week for me, what a drinker.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 17:53
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK and where I'm sent!
Posts: 519
Originally Posted by cornish-stormrider
Call it what it is, alcoholism.
I take all your points, but that statement is incorrect. At worst it is alcohol abuse, at best, a bunch of mates enjoying a few beers. Alcoholism is a medical condition and very different to what's being discussed here.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 18:12
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Lincolnshire
Posts: 542
I recall the TACEVAL at Wildenrath at 5.30 on a Friday as Happy Hour was spooling up. We were all well into the first pint.

Sorry SACEUR we've all had a beer we can't possibly react to a hooter. Call back tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to the BBC headlines.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 18:51
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 3,813
There is another reason for having a fews scoops on your first night down-route - adjusting to the local time zone. Many Drs used to offer Temazepam as an alternative, which is really nasty drug that can cause significant side effects and also generate addiction/dependance.

So I would opt for a few scoops of the amber nectar instead of taking drugs!
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