Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

VS A340 pilot breathalysed at LHR: WRONGLY ACCUSED

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.
View Poll Results: Should airline pilots be tested for alcohol before every flight?
I am a professional pilot and I say YES
I am a professional pilot and I say NO
I am NOT a professional pilot and I say YES
I am NOT a professional pilot and I say NO
I have no opinion or am happy with the status quo
Voters: 1039. This poll is closed

VS A340 pilot breathalysed at LHR: WRONGLY ACCUSED

Old 7th Apr 2007, 16:31
  #161 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 3
Looks to be a fairly good piece on it here - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6535517.stm
gwynevans is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 16:37
  #162 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 202
A pilot arrested on suspicion of being over the alcohol limit has been cleared after tests found heavy dieting had caused his breath to smell like drink.
Scientists say low-carbohydrate diets can produce acetone in the body, which may fool breath test equipment.
silverelise is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 16:54
  #163 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 183
That is some serious diet if his breath smelt of 'alcohol'. The fact that it was a prolonged low carb diet leads to the hope that it was being regularly monitored by a medical doctor. Acetone breath can also occur in diabetics, mainly Type 1, less so in maturity-onset (Type 2)
Nov71 is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 17:03
  #164 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 44

People on the Atkins diet can smell very badly of Ketones which could be confused with the smell of alcohol.
Docfly is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 17:09
  #165 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 3,949
ok that settles it then - we all go on the Atkins diet to confuse security!

Glad to hear he is in the clear and I hope he goes for any compensation he can get and max embarassment to those that dobbed him in.
fireflybob is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 17:35
  #166 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 531
To be fair to the security people it could have been a genuine error. If they thought they smelt alcohol then perhaps they were correct to report it. Note the words could and perhaps.

On the other points, I for one as an aviation professional am happy he has been proven not to be operating under the influence of alcohol - something I doubted from the first.

I wonder how many of the "string him up" club will come forward and apologise, maybe they might start a separate thread on here!
GT3 is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 18:25
  #167 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 64
Posts: 677
[email protected] should have problems travelling by air from here on in ..if natural justice exists.

A personal apology in the very same newspaper should be the minimum requirement to get the junior jet club badge back.
VR-HFX is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 18:36
  #168 (permalink)  
Resident insomniac
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: N54 58 34 W02 01 21
Age: 75
Posts: 1,859
Replace the breathalyser with a lie detector - "Have you recently taken alcohol?"
G-CPTN is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 19:32
  #169 (permalink)  

More than just an ATCO
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Up someone's nose
Age: 70
Posts: 1,768
So where are the apologies from B757-200 (aka the Airbus family from JB?) and pals?
Lon More is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 19:32
  #170 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: San Jose
Posts: 726
Sounds like they need to find an alternative to breathalysers if such false positives can occur - if your instruments are unreliable then either get a better one or at least have a second-line test that can produce results real quick. Might also be an idea to assign Sun journalists to outside seats if they're planning on flying in the near future.

I hadn't read the Sun's article until the link was posted here today, down to their usual standards of accuracy and calm, unbiased reporting, I see (which is why I rarely look at it, my choice in comics is higher than that).
llondel is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 19:35
  #171 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: beverley
Posts: 262
He should have an apology printed everywhere and rightly so,bloody airport rent-a-cops shouldn't have anything to do with aircrew anyway.
markflyer6580 is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 20:18
  #172 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 95
So if Airport Security or indeed any other person suspect a Flight Crew member is going on duty and they suspect he has consumed alcohol, are they supposed to ignore it? do nothing about it?. Personally I feel any responsible person would bring it to the attention of the Authorities. Would you want you wife, son, daughter,mum, dad or whatever in the care of an intoxicated person, be they Pilot, Doctor, Taxi Driver, Bus Driver, Surgeon !!!!!.

The Police are called to deal with it, Now the questions must start, what type of reading did they get, is there a printed record from their analysis machine. Bear in mind breath is the least accurate method of analysis. How they arrived at their decision to arrest and detain for further investigation may be open to question. But thank God for the blood specimen, this has proved innocence.

The real disgrace in this case lies in the reporting, the character assination. In fact I think its essential that those who provided info to the press, that printed grossly incorrect information face the full rigours of the law. Some Newspapers in the UK will print "ANYTHING". Truth does not seem to matter.

In future, where a pilot is tested for, or detained on suspicion of, such an offence. It should be done in privacy and as discretely as possible, NO OFFENCE, NO BREACH OF RULE OF LAW HAS BEEN COMMITTED, the information does not belong in the public domain. The rights of, identity of and career of the person must be protected.

Tomorrow, perhaps even tonight, it could be me, or you, blowing into that machine. But we should not face trial by media for the mere fact that we were required under law to provide a specimen.
OldChinaHand is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 21:19
  #173 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 442
Ref. Apology from B757-200

Lon More and everyone else that has asked for apologies and retraction of others statements before the facts, I doubt that we will ever see one from this little wanabee. It appears that as 'B757-200' from Southend (Essex) on Spectator Balcony (Spotters Corner) he wants bits and pieces of aircraft to put in his bedroom (WTF?). It gets better 'cos it appears that he also masquerades as BA767-300 claiming to be a 'friend' of B757-200 also asking for aircraft parts and in his profile listing him/herself as a student from Essex .

A serious subject with serious repercussions requiring serious debate by the professionals this issue may affect, if more legislation is implemented within the industry, infiltrated by a snot nosed little sh1t who has no comprehension of what the actions taken against this pilot can have personally on this individual and industry wide if changes are deemed 'necessary'. Not got anything against the company but Boeings '757-200' and '767-300 'are on my avoid list from now on.
K.Whyjelly is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2007, 22:47
  #174 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 109
Just gonna be simple on this one. "Glad to have you back mate, albeit very short." K

Last edited by sign-it-to-your-room; 8th Apr 2007 at 10:09.
sign-it-to-your-room is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 01:33
  #175 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 183
This could make me unpopular but if the guy's breath smelled of 'alcohol' and the original allegation was not malicious, why is compensation due?
The Police provided results of follow up tests (blood alc) which were reported in the media within 9 days. Virgin may like to write to all Pax on the affected flight who witnessed the arrest, explaining the exoneration, as a PR exercise.

I would like to know if the guy was breathalysed in the a/c or just sniffed
Whether the breathalyser, if used, was calibrated to 9 or 32 mg
Why he was allowed to board the a/c and not detained in the Privacy of the crew room ie complaint should be imm referred to Co as well as Police

In an aside, media report the current Mr Universe was detained in US for drunken behaviour after a complaint from a member of the public. Although the Police quickly established he was a diabetic having a hypoglycaemic event, he was still arrested for taking an 'aggressive stance' when challenged.

I once witnessed a swearing, agressive female in hospital. I was appalled until the Dr explained she was a diabetic having a 'hypo'

Innocent until proven guilty, so wait for the facts
Nov71 is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 08:25
  #176 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 172
Having been Plod before flying what you have to take into account is that a breath testing device used on an aircraft or at the roadside (Its the same one, you just press a different button to set the limit) is a screening device only. It gives a fairly accurate indication, that gives the required grounds needed for an arrest. It DOES NOT constitue evidence for prosecution. On arrest a person is taking to a Police Station where they are put on a calibrated breath test machine. If they then provide a positive sample then it is this that is used for a charge. If it is negative, as would appear in this case, and impairment is still suspected then a blood sample is taken, and analysed by a lab for a result.
I would say in my career about 30% of the people who provided positive breath tests at the roadside gave negative results at the station.
avrodamo is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 08:55
  #177 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Essex
Age: 49
Posts: 118
it doesn't matter wether malicious or not.
Deciding wether flight crew are fit for duty has **** all to do with the security people. Perhaps if the just did their own job well instead of trying to play billy-big-balls and do everyone elses then it would be a slightly better place to work.
If rent-a-cops want to to this then fine, send them on a course, give them a breathaliser and let them make these accusations to peoples faces. Otherwise they are just little pathetic men pretending to be big men because they can hide behind their own anonimity.
FWIW I'm always polite to the security people and often have a chat, especially if its at oh-my-god-o'clock in the morning, when we all need a bit of lively chat, and 95% of them are good people but even with this positive attitude I still come across the odd one who just has a chip on his shoulder and wants to be nasty regarldess of how nice anyone else is.
AlexL is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 10:22
  #178 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: london/UK
Posts: 499

You say that judging aircrew fitness has nothing to do with airport security, but that assumes that they have judged. There is nothing to say that is the case. They smell alcohol, they call Police, who have the equiptment to make a judement as to whether a person has a BAC above a prescribed limit. At no point in that chain, has anyone 'judged' fitness to act as crew.

Reporting people to Police is a common occurance in the UK, and probably in most other countries. Sometimes it is done with malicious intent, mostly however, not. To try to deter those who believe they are being public spirited would be to everyones disadvantage ultimatly.


In the case of people arrested under this act, there is an agreement between ACPO and the CAA that blood will be taken rather than the evidencial second breath test, a delay in results is of course the disadvanage in this agreement. I always found the screening device to be accurate with those I arrested for drink drive, occationaly, someone blew one or 2 points under the limit on the evidience test, but that would be accounted for by time difference between tests and the BAC going down. The same applies to when the Evidiencial screening test machine was not available and blood was taken as an alternative, if the result came back under it was by a margin that would be expected in the time between original test and the doctor arriving at the Station to take a blood sample.
bjcc is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 11:48
  #179 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 3,949
What is interesting to note is how damning a misleading newspaper article can be. I have spoken to several people in my social circle in the last 24 hours and they have brought this case up, ie "Did you read about that Virgin pilot who was caught going to fly under the influence...etc?". I have then had to go into defensive mode and acquaint them with the facts but trouble is too many people believe what they read in the newspapers.
fireflybob is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2007, 13:10
  #180 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: New South Wales
Posts: 1,793
People on the Atkins diet can smell very badly of Ketones which could be confused with the smell of alcohol.
Received medical wisdom -- or at least it was when I went to med school -- is that it takes three days of complete carbohydrate starvation to start burning ketone bodies and therefore have your breath smell ketotic.

That is some diet! Good idea to fly when on that kind of extreme regime?

QDMQDMQDM is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.