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Pilot jailed (alcoholism & pilots)

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Pilot jailed (alcoholism & pilots)

Old 6th Dec 2006, 15:13
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 14:39
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Pilot jailed (alcoholism & pilots)

I'm suprised that no one has commented, but the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that an Australian pilot employed by Emirates who turned up for duty "more than 3 times over the drink drive limit" has been jailed for 6 months.
Thankfully, he was intercepted before he even boarded the aircraft and I have no doubt that he would have been picked up by the rest of the crew had he done so.

Ive been in aviation for a long long time, and I am acutely aware of the dtresses and strains that lead "professionals" to drink and other substances, but I sincerely hope that he serves the full sentance, gets the help he needs to accept the gravity of his problem, and never, ever flys again,
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 14:54
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Originally Posted by niknak
Ive been in aviation for a long long time, and I am acutely aware of the dtresses and strains that lead "professionals" to drink and other substances, but I sincerely hope that he serves the full sentance, gets the help he needs to accept the gravity of his problem, and never, ever flys again,
The guy clearly has an alcohol addiction. Maybe you could take some time to understand the physiology of addiction a bit more before you condemn him for life. If he arrived at work in that state, then he does deserve to have his flying priveleges removed at least for some time. Unfortunately, 6 months in jail may heal the pain of society, but it will not help this guy, or anyone else to get past the addiction.

Contrary to popular belief, addiction is not a character flaw, it's a disease of the brain, and it is treatable. Forward looking companies have pilot assistance problems that are designed to provide the type of guidance and support that can help a pilot get well and in many cases, return to active duty successfully. Sadly, I suspect no such offer will be made and instead of getting better, he may be destined to live out his life in shame and disgrace. What a waste.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:01
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Yes he was a fool, yes he was irresponsible, yes his licence priviliges should be suspended and yes he should be punished.

But NO he should not automatically be banned for life - hopefully he will get the correct medical/physcological treatment and, if he reacts to this correctly, his priviliges should be reinstated as for any other illness that is overcome.

Alcoholism (and other addictions) are a little understood problem by the masses who have not experienced them personally or worked closely with them.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:02
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niknik, that is one of the most pompous pronouncements I've heard here. So you want him to serve his full sentence, you want him cured of his addiction, then you want him further punished by being denied any hope of his livelihood for the rest of his life! And all the other gits who murder and get out after 5 years serving about 1/3 their sentence 'have discharged their debt to society!'.

Spare us your pronouncements!
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:08
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Unfortunately, this is a recurring theme in aviation. I would estimate that perhaps half of these incidents never make the headlines. Over the years I've seen deals quietly cut that allow the accused to retire or go on long term leave for treatment. Sometimes the test results are torn up or invalidated to avoid paperwork outside the company.

Even showing up to check your mail after drinking will get you in big trouble these days as FedEx Chief Pilot Jack Lewis wrote in a recent memo:

...We have another Captain crew member who showed up drunk in the crew lounge recently after deadheading in for a trip. He wasn't checking in for 7 hours and was only transiting the crew lounge, getting his Jepps to prepare to fly later. Security nabbed him and we are all wear[ing] the label. Dumb move.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:09
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Regretably, if you live in a nanny state for long enough, some will think like a nanny. Yes the guys' done something wrong but he, and his family if he has one, shouldn't be ruined for life.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:44
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The man in question has been at Emirates since about day one! a very nice chap and what happened was most out of character.

The local rag out here states a four month jail term, after that who knows what for him? he's lost everything he had here in Dubai, at 51 years of age he still has a lot of flying ahead of him though.

I for one hope he get the help he needs to sort his life out and I wish him and his family all the best, it's going to be a rough ride!!!!
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:52
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In the US, alcohol abuse is grounds for being denied a medical necessary to fly professionally. The thought that it is proper to clean him up, rehab him and return him to a cockpit rather than a dispatch or some other non flying job seems to suggest that there is no availability of other pilots to perform the job without risking the lives of hundreds of people.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:56
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Very laudable pronouncements from you all.....

The guy has a problem, but once you are an alcoholic you are an alcoholic for life, having experienced the problem via a member of my family who was in an equally responsible profession, I know how easy it is to slip back into old habits and pretend everyhing is OK.

The facts are, whether you agree or not, that once you have the problem you need all the help you can get and, because of the possible consequences, you should never be allowed the professional responsibility this gentlemen had.

If that isn't enough for you, jsut imagine if he had got onto the Flight Deck and made an error which resulted in the deaths of one or all on board, would you be so quick to defend him?

As a final aside, my Uncle, who was a Genius in almost every respect, died because he was an alcoholic, like most astonishingly clever people, he wouldn't accept his problem was alcohol.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 15:59
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finfly1:

Maybe you didn't intend it, but that sounds like someone looking for ways to weed out the top end of the seniority list. You suggest that we just toss him out with no opportunity to get well and return to duty. As I said earlier, addiction is a disease, and in a just society, you cannot discriminate against people with diseases. If they receive the necessary treatment to allow them to return to the workforce, they deserve to be reinstated.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 16:05
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Nik Nak.

Alchoholism is curable. I know several people who have dried out and gone on to live t-totalled lives very happily.

You may have been in aviation a long time... Sadly not long enough to have your arrogance and pomposity beaten out of you.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 16:17
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So niknak, how well do you know J.D. the man in question? you seem to have him branded as an alcoholic.

Not the case!

Iv'e known him for over three years and flown with him, he is most definately not an alcoholic.

You claim to have been in aviation for a long time but you talk like a novice.

Try getting you facts in order before spouting off.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 16:20
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I was an alocoholic and finally reached the point that I sought medical help so as to stay in my chosen career, aviation as a pilot.

I admitted myself to Schick Shadel treatment hospital in Seattle Wa in January of 1985.

My Transport Canada doctor was aware of my treatment and has my treatment file from Schick Shadel which I gave him as does Transport Canada .

I have just retired from a lifetime of accident free flying in April of this year and have not had a drop of alcoholic beverage since my leaving Schick Shadel in 1985.

Alcoholism can be cured.

Chuck Ellsworth
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 16:27
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Well done Chuck!!

Happy retirement.
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 18:30
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I might slag the guy off if I were perfect myself................
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 18:37
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saskatoon.....

Am I to understand that I should not have been allowed to fly for pay for the last 21 years because I deserved punishment for have been an alcoholic?
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 19:39
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Chuck - my absolute respect and good wishes for a long and happy retirement.

SAS/Niknak/Finfly - you know not of what you speak !
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 19:41
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Originally Posted by TimS
Chuck - my absolute respect and good wishes for a long and happy retirement.
SAS/Niknak/Finfly - you know not of what you speak !

I suggest you re-read Sask's post - all of it...
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Old 9th Dec 2006, 20:09
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I have read all of both (perhaps you missed one?) of SAS's posts - indeed now for a second time at your behest SLF.

I understand (and have personal reason to do so) his anger and the harm that was done to himself/family/friends by a drunk driver.

I will still not support the premise that the individual concerned should "never, ever flys [sic] again".

If under reasonable professional measurement he is treated and cured (and one contributor who, apparently knows the individual concerned, suggests it was a 'one off aberration' along the lines of SAS's self admitted "reporting whilst not feeling 100%" rather than a deeply infiltrated problem) for a medically recognised condition it is my opinion that he should then -and only then - be able to continue to enjoy the priviliges of his licence in the same way that Chuck, a couple of colleagues who I have known and a larger number of their fellow professionals have done.
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