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Drinking, driving and flying

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Drinking, driving and flying

Old 25th Oct 2013, 17:26
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: England
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Drinking, driving and flying

I see the UK Mil fraternity will be joining our civilian colleagues and coming in line with the 2003 Transport Act. New rules come in on 01 Nov this year which reduces alcohol limits for those involved with flying, live arming etc to 09 thingies per unit volume (same as the civilian rules). It's just a pity that the DIN has not been released (with 5 days to go to implementation date) and the JSP on PIDAT has not yet received an update either.
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 18:14
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Have a beer and ignore it, mate!

Jeez the RAF must be an awful life these days.....
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 18:52
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Any chance for the MAA to get its thumb out of its arse and do the same wrt cap371/Easa subpart Q?

Or is it only air tanker that gets to enjoy decent fdl's?
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 19:01
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BEags - advice taken, just returned from the pub. One only of course as had the car!!

Vin - any chance of a translation?
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 19:06
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Will this have an impact on sqns at the weekend. Do all sqns have standby cover for sickness or do they just call the next person on the list. If he's under the drink drive limit but above the 9 line, what happens when he has an incident?
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 19:09
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This is serious. If you think that all our squadrons have a duty person - we could be talking about as many as 15 people here!
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 21:08
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About time too, it's not terribly professional to be going near a flight deck when there's alcohol in your system. It might have been acceptable to fly hung over many years ago but just like racism (for example), something shouldn't be deemed okay simply based on the principle that it was okay a decade or two ago. I hope BEagle is joking by the way and that my sarcasm radar is on the blink.
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 21:23
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I think there's a substantial difference between operating aircraft, vehicles, machinery and weaponry while hungover or even drunk, and E&D transgressions.

I'd rather be called speccy-4-eyes than killed by a drunk driver.
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 21:28
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I always thought that if I could fly under an uber-shabby fog then I'd cope with the fog of war. Hangovers sharpened my skill requirements and not blunted them!

During WWI and WWII most of our aircrew in battle took solace and support from booze - train as you mean to fight?

Finally, I remember hearing from the RAF's top expert on fatigue saying something like a disturbed night of sleep of 5-6 hours was like turning up to work to fly after a couple of beers - are we going to insist that all aircrew have no children?

I write this part tongue-in-cheek and part serious!

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Old 25th Oct 2013, 21:30
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Back in the 1980s, we were called into the squadron for a station minival - I had had a couple of beers and yet was put on the flying program to fly in two hours time. I told the captain that I was unfit to fly due to having had a beer within the prohibited time limits and suggested that he take someone else. Next morning I was called into my flight commanders office for a hats on b*ll*cking and read the riot act about squadron loyalty. I did ask about what support I would have if there had been an incident and I was given a blood test etc but this was sniffed off with the comment that this would not happen.

On the same squadron (now AWACS), but over 15 years later, I was placed on six hours to deploy as Christmas standby for personnel in theatre. I pointed out that I was on leave. That's all right said the flight commander - you can do this while on local leave. I then pointed out that I could not drink over the Christmas period and that if I was on leave then I could not be on standby - if he signed the leave cancellation then I would do the standby and then take my leave over the new year. After a stand-off we finally agreed a compromise to change the standby to a 24 hour commitment as he wanted me to deploy in the new year (it was during a period when mission crews were deploying for about 4 weeks in every six due to a manning shortfall - the squadron had declared too many crews for the number of mission personnel but to quote the Squadron boss - he "could not reduce the number of crews because it could affect the crew captain's career").

The bottom line - there are rules for drinking, but they only apply to the individual - the squadron hierarchy could ignore them. (Perhaps this post should be on the "Just Culture" thread).
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 21:40
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PS. Laarbruch, the chemical formula for Cholestrol is C27H45OH which contains the same Hydroxyl group (OH) as Ethanol C2H5OH. This makes Cholestrol an alcohol, so technically speaking I hope we are all flying with alcohol in our system!
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Old 25th Oct 2013, 22:47
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There is a rumour that the alcohol limit for aircrew will be 10 mg and 80 mg for maintainers.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 01:51
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I refer the significant delta in crew duty limits for crews operating under the air tanker ops manual and what could be termed "the rest of us".

One meets the mrp requirements set out with respect to flight duty limits, the rest of us don't.

By a significant margin.

On exercise as well as ops.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 07:47
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There is a rumour that the alcohol limit for aircrew will be 10 mg and 80 mg for maintainers.
9mg for operators, ATC, LAG or other time critical decision makers, 35mg for airworthiness related jobs.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 09:01
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Does that now mean that when an RAF helicopter is airborne on an early morning flight with two pilots the one flying it is expected to handle the cyclic AND the collective.

Ye Gods.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 09:14
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Vin - sorry, you are still talking in riddles "mrp"?

And I'm not sure what the issue is that you refer to? I'm guessing that mil voyager pilots have different crew duty times than the civ voyager pilots? Is that correct?

Kitbag has the figures correct. From the brief I saw it suggested 9mg equates to zero ingested alcohol. Not sure in what time period (as the detail still isn't out) but I vaguely seem to remember the RAFCAM doctors stating it takes 48 hours for alcohol to completely clear the system. That buggers up the weekend if you are on the Mon AM wave.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 15:40
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Do we need a drink that badly that this this is an issue? I don't think that any flier, including myself, needs a drink to sharpen the requirements. We have plenty of time for first time madness or whatever to drink. The fact that some people used to do this years ago doesn't make drinking before a flight big or clever. Simple, don't drink before you fly. If you cant do this, perhaps you have a problem.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 18:17
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I recall an episode some years years ago when intense pressure was put on us to fly when we had been certainly drinking far too much. This was after being given the green light to hang one on ! To my lasting shame I did not say no but luckily the AEO did. I often thought about submitting an air clues article but have no confidence in the system.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 18:38
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Originally Posted by toadstool
Do we need a drink that badly that this this is an issue?
Bingo. This has always amazed me about the British culture. That most Brits must have a drink. If you don't have a drink others ask why aren't you drinking? Like it's against the norm not to have a drink. In other cultures this would be an alcohol dependancy problem.

If you do not have an alcohol dependancy problem you can go out for a social occasion and not drink. Or you would not need to have a beer or wine every time you go out for a meal.

It amazes me when you ask the youth of today what they are doing this weekend, they reply they are planning to drink and drink and drink until they are absolute p*ssed. Why do they feel they need to do this every weekend?
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:14
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When I joined the light blue, my father was talking to an ex-RN colleague who said "oh, the Drinking Service!"

It seemed to be SOP, from Day One. And went on forever. And, sadly, still does because it becomes habitual.

I wave no flags, take no moral position, but certainly the 'rhythm of life' through the 60-90s timeline seemed to be that drinking was 'what you do'.

Only ever been unfit for duty once, TBH. Downtown Singapore' late 60s, got back to the Mess around 0600, shower and change, Airfield Inspection and ... 0730 in Local. I thank <insert Deity> that the weather was [email protected], and almost nothing flew that morning, as I sat in Local feeling the hangover evolving. NEVER again - "I learned about Air Trafficking from that".

Last edited by MPN11; 26th Oct 2013 at 19:15.
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