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Sun Article - US Pilot Arrested for being over alcohol limit

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Sun Article - US Pilot Arrested for being over alcohol limit

Old 20th Oct 2008, 10:35
  #21 (permalink)  

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When I saw this story on the Daily Telegraph online, I logged on here as I knew there would be the usual collection of "flog 'em, hanging's too good for 'em" merchants.

I wasn't disappointed.

heliport, how would you feel if a disgruntled security employee with an axe to grind against pilots falsely reported you?

captjns has also missed the point. You can be alcohol-free, as you no doubt are, that won't stop someone reporting you. Then you captjns would be pulled down from the moral high ground as well.

I bet this thread goes on for at least 10 pages...
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 11:37
  #22 (permalink)  

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Did the VA pilot sue any of the newspapers that falsely reported that he was "drunk" or is it sufficient defence in law for a newspaper to make an allegation without naming the individual?

It was good to see that the Express newspapers group allegedly had to pay about £400,000 to the friends of the McCanns.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 13:12
  #23 (permalink)  
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Handicap System? "He is rated to 6pints and 5hrs"

Wheelbarrow, I sympathise on the alco. rule. So, if we are really interested in the ability to perform your job then what can we do?
Well, today, you pass a test and a medical -You can fly.
We have periodic sim tests and medicals to see that you are still in the zone.
We have rules that say, get sleep , don't drink.

There are clearly differences in ability, I concede that there are people who drive better drunk than I do sober. In fact if a US cop asked me to walk down a straight line, I would probably get pulled in for drinking, but then I have spastic cerebral palsy. So, if we want to accept that it is performance that counts and get flexible on sleep/alcohol then we have (at least) two alternatives:
1- A test prior to flight. Something to measure performance.
Unfortunately this is bad for scheduling because some poor guy who is borderline most days might just fail prior to engine start even if he is sober and well rested. So,...lets move on to option2

2- Periodic re-test with a handicap system. This one is great for egos, you do your sim checks drunk, with little sleep and provided you pass, that is ok.
You receive calibration certificate saying that you are allowed to fly drunk.

Of course, the borderline guy, he fails if he so much as sniffs the barmaid's apron. BUT, some of those legendary flyers of days gone past, hell, we would even give them badges to wear. Imagine if you were cleared safe to fly on only 5 hrs sleep after 6pints of beer and had the badges to prove it! I would even expect such a pilot to get paid more, because it would be LEGAL for them to only have 5 hrs sleep and that means the airline could save costs.

Seriously though, it seems to me that apart from "more hours flown" there are not many visible rating systems for pilots, given how competitive you guys probably are, I am surprised that there is no real incentive (apart from staying alive!) to get better. Stirling Moss (ex F1 driver) suggested that instead of people just passing their driving test (pass/fail), there should be a rating system and might encourage all of us to actively try to get better.
Bring in a Handicap system and cut the best some slack!

Sorry, it is impossible to stay serious on this one. We have been around it so many times and the best I have read was from a pilot who recovered from an alcohol addiction. Promise to stay quiet now. - Jet Blast??
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 13:44
  #24 (permalink)  
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Does this imply that flying over the limit is ok, it is just one of those ridiculous technical details that are there to be ignored.

I think you missed my point. I certainly did not say or imply that the rules are there to be ignored. Hence my comment as to why aircrew would (if indeed they do) still take the risk.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 14:17
  #25 (permalink)  
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I saw this on the BBC website last night (as in California time) and pointedly didn't post it on here because I knew what I'd wake up to. Seems I did wake up to it anyway.

I did use the BBC's contact form to point out that the last few such cases were resolved in favour of the pilots and that the breathalyser is inaccurate at such low levels so it has to be done with a blood test. Not seen them update their story though, apart from to pinpoint the flight (and therefore the affected party) a bit more accurately
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 15:37
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I am totally shocked by how many pilots have one too many the night before, so i am not suprised that this arrest has come.
While staying at the LGW Arora earlier this year, i got talking to a few US crew members that were on a 18/24 hr layover.
One crew in particular, Capt & FO of NW Airlines A330. We were in the bar chatting, the Capt was knocking them back, pints and whiskeys. One of the FA's had to be carried back to her room and after about 5 hrs of drinking he called it a night just after midnight.
Come 9am he was in the lobby ready to leave.

That amount of alcohol stays in your system for sometime, i remember from living in the UK, that the police would get most drunk drivers in the morning, on there way to work.

You may not of smelt it on him that morning but i am sure he would of been over the level to drive a car never mind fly across the Atlantic.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 16:11
  #27 (permalink)  
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The skipper had the presence of mind to keep this chap from the flight deck, contact company, and have the authorities awaiting the arrival of this flight.
IF this was the case, and the captain really wanted to do the FO a favour, the captain should have encouraged the FO to call in sick and then sort out the problem, not see to it that he potentially loses his job and livelyhood with a conviction to boot.

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Old 20th Oct 2008, 17:08
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Awaiting the facts here like many. However it's worth bearing in mind that Listerine has an alcohol content of between 21.9% and 27% abv depending on the flavour and is known to give false positive readings on breathalyzers.

The machine is incapable of differentiating whether the alcohol vapour is coming from the lungs or is residual in the mouth. Better to wait for the blood test results before judging the guy.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 17:14
  #29 (permalink)  
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Boys boys boys,Why is it that every time something like this comes up it ends up in a bitch between users.I don't post that often and normnally only post on the rotorheads but no matter what forum subject that is contentious that i view, people end up in a verbal fighting match. We're all the same, doing the same job and should stick together. It saddens me to see such faceless bitching, it is like faceless roadrage.Please guys lets all try to get along. There's enough pressures against us out there without us turning on ourselves!Live and let live.Paul
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 17:30
  #30 (permalink)  
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I would be more concerned about fatigue than alcohol at the levels we are discussing, but my point remains. It is no good saying "Technically I did not get enough sleep, but I'm wide awake and capable to fly." Rules are rules.
If you did not get enought sleep your are not FIT to fly.
If all the pilots who didn't get enough sleep erred on the side of caution, aviation would grind to a halt. It's ironic that although the alcohol limit for pilots is a quarter of the uk road limit, they are allowed to fly hours well in excess of the safety limits of a heavy goods vehicle driver. Explain that one; I can't.

Good luck to the FO. Hopefully he'll be exonerated.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 17:53
  #31 (permalink)  
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Boeing Junkie

Listerine might well contain alcohol but if you drink enough of it, and do not just swill and spit it out, then you could well be over the fly/drive limit. If there is alcohol present, it does not matter whether it came from, Listerine or whiskey.

The machine IS incapable from distinguishing between residual alcohol and alcohol from the lungs. That is why when you provide samples at the Police Station you have to have had no drink or mouthwash etc in the last 20 minutes so that it can clear from the mouth. Its the same at the raodside aswell. Also, when you provide a specimen at the station, you provide a specimen of breath, the amount of which is determined by the machine in order that in can measure alcohol from the lungs and not the mouth.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 17:58
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JohnR, Wouldn't we all. How we deal with it is a different matter. Do you care about your colleague's well being? Would you have "shopped" your work colleague? Would you have thought yourself above making a mistake?

Also, please note: There was a rather large IF at the front of my statement.

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Old 20th Oct 2008, 18:07
  #33 (permalink)  
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Thanks for clarifying WhatstheNoise. I knew that there were procedures at the police station but couldn't remember what they were.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 20:43
  #34 (permalink)  
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"...........There's enough pressures against us out there without us turning on ourselves!Live and let live......"
Well said. What do we know ? Was the breathalyzer accurate ? Was he over the limit, if so do we know what caused him to be in that state, maybe no excuse but maybe some reason ? Have we no compassion ? There But For The Grace of God .......... Let Him Without Sin Cast The First Stone ......


Last edited by ExSp33db1rd; 20th Oct 2008 at 20:53.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 22:26
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Bailed until January because it takes 6 weeks for the blood samples to be analyzed.
How wrong you are. It takes 1 Hour to complete this test with results printed out as evidence if required in court.

Been there seen it Wore the tee shirt.
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Old 20th Oct 2008, 22:35
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Blood tests


Another anomaly of blood testing pilots is that in 2006 100% of 27 airline pilots tested had a highly abnormal cocktail of chemicals containing nickel, lindane, benzene, organo phosphates etc. which caused them very serious ill health and most of them to lose their careers.

So whilst checking for alcohol, why not look for those chemicals which are involuntarily absorbed by all aircrew from contaminated cabin air during a fume event?

By not looking, it is so easy not to find.....Convenient for some, no doubt.

Meantime, AME's check for 'anaemia' of all things, on recurrent medicals.

It's a blxxdy scandal and they know it.

If anybody is feeling unusually rough and would like a 'proper' blood test, please contact the Aerotoxic Association to find out what may be lurking inside you?

Don't worry; such tests will never be compulsory....

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Old 21st Oct 2008, 03:35
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There are two samples. One for the prosecution and one for the defendant.

The six weeks time frame is to allow the defendant sufficient time to have their sample tested at an independent laboratory.

Being brought to court in a shorter time would invalidate the prosecution.

I don't think you had to wear that t-shirt for very long.
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 14:35
  #38 (permalink)  
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If you get a chance, please change the thread title to "USA pilot.., United States Pilot..., sceptic pilot, or Colonial pilot....", just something else besides "AA"

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Old 21st Oct 2008, 16:31
  #39 (permalink)  
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John R, thank god you’ll never be in charge of anything bigger than a puddle jumper.

No one condones being over the limit…but a commander needs to exercise good judgment in dealing with any situation as it arises.

I know how I would have dealt with this situation. The end result would have been that the F/O would not have flown. The passengers would never have been put at risk, if indeed he was over the limit. The company would be dealing with this by internal means and that can be very severe. There would be no hysterical headlines with bad publicity for the airline concerned, a win win situation for all concerned.
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Old 21st Oct 2008, 16:35
  #40 (permalink)  
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there's no such thing as a 'win' when your over the limit!.
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