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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 29th Oct 2008, 15:40
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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What about a bus driver or a taxi driver, they are also subject to the same rule, yes different limits but also different pay.
As SLF when I read such sentences I am start to worry.
As another poster said
---I don't think you read what he said--I don't think he's saying to fly intoxicate--he's just saying why should a pilot never enjoy a drink--IN HIS LIFE---I think if you were flying with me I'd drink-after the flight for sure--and perhaps if I were caught drinking during the flight---NO jury will convict

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Old 29th Oct 2008, 15:44
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think you read what he said--I don't think he's saying to fly intoxicate--he's just saying why should a pilot never enjoy a drink--IN HIS LIFE---I think if you were flying with me I'd drink-after the flight for sure--and perhaps if I were caught drinking during the flight---NO jury will convict
If so, beers are on me once landed...
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 19:48
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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John R you said
The commander owes a legal duty of care to his passengers and crew for whom he is legally responsible. And so, faced with this situation, I would have no qualms in calling the police. Anything less is to fall short of one's responsibilities
I understood this to mean that you would call the police as the aircraft commander hence my reply to you.

Pvmw. Post #53 is so wide of the mark I can’t be bothered to rebut in detail. “Handled internally” is not a cozy cover up. If you knew anything about what happens to a pilot suspected by an employer of having a drink problem you would not have posted that daft scenario.

You are welcome to an opinion, and you are entitled to yours.

However some opinions are worth more than others…now that’s patronizing.
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 22:32
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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If the person in question has not gone airside with the intention of flying an aircraft then they haven't committed a crime, no matter how much alcohol they've consumed. You could call the police if you want but they'd simply scratch their heads for a while, look for something to charge them with, then release them. If the person in question had consumed sufficient alcohol that you'd be able to notice then you'd have challenged them long before they went airside. People don't just turn up drunk on an aircraft, reeking of alcohol. Scratch the surface and you'll often find many of these breathalyser tests are triggered by a 'tip off' from an individual with malicious intent.
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Old 29th Oct 2008, 22:59
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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John R
I still maintain that you're falling short of your legal responsibilites by not reporting a drunk crew member to the police.
What legal responsibility do you have in mind?
Is it your belief that the law requires an aircraft commander and/or everyone to report to the police any offence he/she sees committed?
(Underlining to avoid confusion with any moral obligation someone might feel.)

You'd involve the police if you witnessed an illegal act in public, wouldn't you?
Would you?
Do you?
Any illegal act?
Or do you make an assessment in each case?

FL
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Old 30th Oct 2008, 10:14
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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John R, I’m not the one confused, (max_conf ) you are.

Your knowledge of the law and the responsibilities of the aircraft commander under the ANO or equivalent, are somewhat confused. I am a current professional pilot. I have responsibilities to, and authority derived from, the state that issued my licence. I will carry out those responsibilities with the authority given to me…and that does not require me to call the police in the first instance, or the second, or indeed at all.

IMO, Flying Lawyer is the expert here. FWIW you and others should read and benefit from his vast knowledge of the law.
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Old 30th Oct 2008, 18:36
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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FL

Does the principle of judges rules still exist, which places a duty to assist Police? I accept the rest was replaced but, I don't seem to recall that part being so.

If not, while I realise that it is not statute, then that duty can be seen as a requirement by some. The primary function of police being the prevention of crime, and secondly the detection and punishment of offenders.

I take the point, as you raised it as a question, about assessments, but the criteria for that, in this sort of offence is going to be understandably different for a member of the public than for a pilot.
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Old 30th Oct 2008, 22:03
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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It wasnt so long ago I caught more flak than a Lancaster over Berlin for raising the issue of a (theoretical) drunken flight crew member on another thread.

Alcohol gets burned off in the system at a fairly constant rate of about 1 unit every 90 minutes. If I was in a bar and there was a person there who drank more than could reasonably be metabolised before flight and I saw him walking through the terminal wearing lots of scrambled egg on his hat then yes I would raise concerns. Loudly and vociferously.

If the person had a couple of beers and left it at that with a decent interval before they took charge of an aircraft... not a problem. Its not so much a legal requirement to report someone as just plain survival. I wouldnt get in a car with someone who had consumed more alcohol than the legal limit, let alone an aircraft.
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Old 31st Oct 2008, 08:49
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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mercurydancer

And thats the difference between people's opinions on here. I would rather not get in a car, or a bus or a train or a plane with anyone that has alcohol in thier blood stream. It may well be that they are perfectly capable of driving/flying safely, but I, and I'd suspect the majority of the public don't want to put that to the test.
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 09:32
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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bjcc
And thats the difference between people's opinions on here.
Is it?

I think the big difference is between pilots who would stop another pilot from flying if they knew or suspected he had alcohol in his bloodstream and those who would not only stop him flying but report him to the police as well.
There's a legal duty to do the first but not the second.

B.
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 15:26
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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That’s the point John R, it doesn’t. If one of my pax is a bit tipsy and well behaved I don’t have them carted off by the boys in blue. If they are causing a ruckus and upsetting the other pax and crew, I will have them removed if the CC or I believe it is prudent. But they are being removed because they are nuisance not because they are tipsy.

For a pilot to be suspected by me of being over the limit, they would have to be significantly over for me to even notice. The limit is so low that in fact they are not drunk, but over the set arbitrary limit. If he/she has not reported for duty, IE we were at the hotac, I would ask them to consider another course of action. If they had reported and were in the crew room, a manager would deal with it. IF they got to the aircraft and I became aware, then a manager would still deal with it.

I will therefore have discharged my duties to the state, the company and the passengers. If the company choose to involve the police, that is their call not mine.
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 16:00
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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I have a quick question. Let's say a pilot lands in a "remote" airport with an incident that may indicate he had been drinking. Who has the authority to request an alcohol test? Local police can request he runs the same tests used by road drivers? Can the pilot refuse?

Do all airports have an authority in service that may demand a pilot to take an alcohol test? Even if he is a foreign citizen? What happens if he refuses, can he be suspended back home?

Is an alcohol test standard procedure for all pilots involved in an incident/accident? Who administers it?

Are foreign pilots routinely tested at airports? By who?

Last edited by justme69; 1st Nov 2008 at 18:19.
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 18:14
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Local laws apply at remote airports. If the local laws require you to take a test then you will. If you don't feel fit to operate afterwards then don't but it'd be a foolish man who tried to argue against the local fuzz.
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 19:07
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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bjcc wrote :

Think you'll find that while that was an issue with the first electronic breath test machines, it has long since been resolved, and it is no longer an issue.
Sadly not the case - There was a virgin pilot removed from the flight deck last year for a positive breath test while his blood alcohol level was effectively zero. It was thought to be caused by a high protein diet - which increases acetone in the breath.
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Old 2nd Nov 2008, 07:07
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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ribt4t

Not quite. The pilot in question says that was the cause. That isn't the same as it was the cause.

Obviously if it was correct, then the Countries where the BAC for driving is zero, would have a large number of aquittals because of it.

justme69

Don't know about the rest of world, but in the case of the UK, you can refuse, but if the Police Officer suspects you have alcohol in your blood, you wil probably be arrested.

Only a Constable (ie Police Officer) has the right to require a person subject to the act in the UK to take a breath test, not the airport authority. That applies to non UK pilots yes.

Suspension is a matter for the employer, not the Police.
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Old 5th Nov 2008, 00:39
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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I see no error in what ribt4t said.

bjcc
Not quite. The pilot in question says that was the cause.
I don’t know where bjcc gets that from. As far as I’m aware, the pilot said no such thing; he simply couldn't understand how he could possibly have tested positive. Scientists thought that was the likely cause.

Analysis of the pilot's blood sample proved that the level of alcohol in his blood did not exceed the prescribed limit. It was minute, and consistent with that of a non-drinker.
The pilot and those advising him were, not surprisingly, concerned to find out how the initial test could have given a positive reading.

One possibility was that the screening device didn’t provide an accurate reading. The devices used for ‘field tests’ are not infallible and are not claimed to be.
Extracts from posts by two policeman on another ‘alcohol’ thread:
What you have to take into account is that a breath testing device used on an aircraft or at the roadside is a screening device only. It gives a fairly accurate indication, that gives the required grounds needed for an arrest. 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.
I have to disagree with bjcc.
Many is the time I have used an ESD (Electronic sampling device) at the roadside and the result to bypass the Pass and Warn lights and shoot straight to Positive, only to find that the subject blows under the limit when tested on the EBM at the station a short while later.
These machines are merely indicators that a person MIGHT be over the prescribed limit and they are not infallible.
However, further investigation revealed that the pilot had been on a very low calorie diet for a long period which provided an alternative explanation.
It is known that low-carbohydrate diets can produce acetone which is produced by the body trying to make up the glucose absent from low-carbohydrate diets. It can fool breath test equipment.
Prof. Wayne Jones, a professor in experimental alcohol research, says that breathalysers can sometimes fail to distinguish acetone from drink. "Then there's a risk you get a false positive reading."

From the International Journal of Obesity
False-positive breath-alcohol test after a ketogenic diet.
“A 59-year-old man undergoing weight loss with very low calorie diets (VLCD) attempted to drive a car, which was fitted with an alcohol ignition interlock device, but the vehicle failed to start. Because the man was a teetotaller, he was surprised and upset by this result.
VLCD treatment leads to ketonemia with high concentrations of acetone, acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate in the blood.
The interlock device determines alcohol (ethanol) in breath by electrochemical oxidation, but acetone does not undergo oxidation with this detector.
However, under certain circumstances acetone is reduced in the body to isopropanol by hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH).
The ignition interlock device responds to other alcohols (e.g. methanol, n-propanol and isopropanol), which therefore explains the false-positive result.
This 'side effect' of ketogenic diets needs further discussion by authorities when people engaged in safety-sensitive work (e.g. bus drivers and airline pilots) submit to random breath-alcohol tests.”


FL

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 5th Nov 2008 at 00:56.
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Old 5th Nov 2008, 23:37
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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Breath tests may well have false positives. This would lead logically on to blood tests. False positives for orally ingested alcohol are almost unknown. As a filter a breathalyser is pretty good. Pilots taking a breathaliser and if failing submitting to a blood test appears to be a sound SOP to me.
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