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Norwegian pilot over alcohol limit caught in AMS

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Norwegian pilot over alcohol limit caught in AMS

Old 11th Dec 2008, 08:26
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The pilot in question was conducting a line check or a safety pilot, so he was working and on duty. In this case he was NOT reported by any bartender, since he was breathalyzed after arriving from a flight from London.

Usually, if you're positioning / deadheading you are on duty so you should be sober. In this day and age, I would strongly suggest being sober at any time when you're wearing your uniform. You might be 'legal' but some faeces will definitely hit the ventilator when caught (bad press for company, tea&biccies with boss etc.)
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 09:51
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Another reality check...

When some of us still need one, I guess!

Most companies have it somewhere in the terms and conditions that drinking in uniform is a no-no, I think. Anyway, I never worked for an outfit that allowed that, not even a bush operation!

Don't sneer at "PR" because a lot of what we do IS "PR"! If you give the punters the impression you are a p1ss artist, that is the kiss of death right there, something a hundred PR types cannot undo. You might know, or just think you know, what your limit is, what you are doing next and when but the general public doesn't.

Too, bartenders are often pretty tired of their patrons in general I think and probably wouldn't much mind turning one in to the cops. He's never going to miss you, even assuming you are a big tipper but he has to live with the local cops continuously so why not "drop a dime" on you? It is not as if something really bad is going to happen to him for doing that, quite the opposite in fact.

Some of this is just a pathetic rear-guard action to try and get back to the happy days of yore, iron men in wooden airplanes, when no one could question what we skygods got up to working our aerial ju-ju.

It started downhill for me when this enormous Bahamian market lady looked across and asked me if I needed that "little piece of paper" (my checklist, actually) to fly my "little airplane" (a BE95 Travel Air, kinda dinky, yes) to the great amusement of her equally enormous lady friends sat behind us. I just told her, "Yes indeed, Madame! You better hope I don't lose it before we get to Freeport!" Hmph! No respect!

Nowadays every dweeb with Microsoft Flight Simulator thinks he knows better how to fly, the modern style of doing a landing is automatically down-graded as "bad" and prying eyes are everywhere as we just try to have a few relaxing bevvies or hits off a bong. It's a bit unfair that we have to just skip some of the fun at the hotel or airport bar when everyone else is having a good time but that is the way the game is played nowadays, when respect has been replaced by suspicion at every turn. Well, when each flight starts with being told, not asked, by some Tesco reject to partially disrobe and justify possession of various aviation impedimenta, what do we expect?

First the cigarettes, now the booze and dope... at least in America we can still tote our shootin' irons!
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 14:05
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Yes, used to drink and smoke in uniform all the time AND have a glass of wine with lunch whilst the aeroplane was being refuelled
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 14:37
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Remoaks remarks

Sorry to read your little backhander about BA crews being exposed on C4 and having a 'rampant drinking culture ' . I don't suppose it matters a fig to you righteous numpties that most of the crew 'exposed' on that sick docko were entirely innocent , including one captain who did not drink at all , just happened to be out with his crew as all good Captains should be , and another ( who I know to this day ) who always had a maximum of 1 drink ( because he handles it badly ) and who was incorrectly portrayed as operating hours later , when in fact he was operating much later the next day.
There was an enormous amount of artistic licence in that programme , and BA ,to their eternal shame, never made this clear.
Yes ,in all airlines , there is a problem from time to time , often heavily publicised , guilty parties being severely dealt with ( quite right ) but there are also many episodes of complete innocence , but never an apology or rebuttal.
It would be a good idea if you got to the bottom of why this docko was made in the first place , and who 'made' it and why . A woman spurned springs to mind . C4 have since abandoned such exposees which were 'personal'.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 14:57
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Not so many moons ago, most UK & European airports had private clubs where crews/staff could drink in uniform. LGW Aero Club, LTN Aero Club, LHR had a few (Silver Wing being one), Sabena club in BRU, too many to list. Whingers & prohibitionists learn, uniformed crews and/or staff are no different from anyone else, we all have a weekness somewhere, just like you lot !

Heck I'll even include customs in this, miss the customs Chrissy bashes at LGW does I

Maybe to bring things into perspective, check out Cliff Robertson's movie "The Pilot" apart from Cliff flying his own Pitts, they used an ONA DC8 & crew for all the flying shots.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 23:05
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kotakota

I read the threads about that doco at the time, and while it may have been dramatised a little, all involved had recourse to the libel laws if they felt they had been portrayed incorrectly. How many made any effort to defend themselves? Including BA?

Mud sticks for a reason. Journos may not be our best friends, but they do run these docos past lawyers before airing them to limit their exposure to litigation. They had clearly decided that the contents of that programme were substantially correct, and the lack of any serious challenge simply confirms it.

Sadly for our industry, many simply live in denial when it comes to these issues. I have witnessed enough poor behaviour down-route, by crews from many airlines (including BA) to know that a drinking culture still exists in most UK airlines. It seems to be a cultural thing, shared by most of the ex-colonial countries. It is tolerated, but not encouraged, by both the authorities and the airlines.

If you want to see this culture at work, just visit a PPRuNe bash. I can't speak for all of them, but the three or four I went to featured a large number of people who were thoroughly inebriated and, in some cases, behaving rather badly. Maybe they have changed since I last went to one, but I remember wondering why it was that pilots couldn't enjoy each other's company without needing to be p*ssed. Sadly, it seemed that unless one was completely intoxicated, one was not considered to be entering into the spirit of the evening.

I have nothing against drinking, I enjoy my beer and wine as much as the next guy. But I just don't touch it within 24 hours of flying (personal limit), and I don't need to drink lots of it to enjoy the company of my colleagues.

Whatever the rights and the wrongs of the C4 doco, it did expose a serious problem that many pilots seem unwilling or unable to confront. Times have changed since the '70s, we have to live and work to different standards now and the sooner that is accepted, the better.

For what it is worth, I have (so far) had to send people home on five occasions because they turned up for work "under the influence". They knew they were, they admitted it (and in some cases I knew anyway because I had seen them drinking in the hotel bar), and yet still they turned up for duty. I only ever reported them as sick (not intoxicated), which is probably wrong of me, but I live in the eternal hope that people can learn from their mistakes.

The problem is still there, no matter how much some may live in denial.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 23:31
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Here is an interesting thought, you are off duty and flying cattle class down the back and have a beer, and emergency in the cockpit requires a qualified pilot to say assist or help out, perhaps even take control, what would you do in that situation if you were the only other on board......... would you then be still prosecuted or arrested when you land?
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 08:12
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I think in this situation you would not be charged depending on your companies rules. The airline I work for does not allow any crew drinking on board when on a positioning flight, etc. You have to assume that you can always be put up in the cockpit even if you're off duty or even when doing private traveling (eg vacation, etc).
The other thing is that the highest ranking crew member on board always has final authority. So even when sitting in the back a TRI/TRE will be the final authority even over the captain up front.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 09:29
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I dont drink neithe r am i a saintso forgive me for sounding harsh. Do these capts/fos have it at the back of thier mind what they stand to loose if they are caught drunk about to fly innocent lives in the passenger cabin. Is the compulsion to drink so great that they are willing to gamble thier career away becauce of a pint of larger.
Qiute frankly any pilot caught guilty of trying to operate while obviously drunk should loose his licence for a while till he or she comes to thier senses. I know only a tiny fraction or minority will ever do this however the loss of lives that could come from a crashed 777/747 will be horrendous. You are looking at least 200 lives, should the aircraft be full as its close to christmas you're looking at 300 lives or more. Then think of the orphans, widows the pilots would create with a silly gamble not to mention the damages the company will have to pay out if this happened in a litigious society like the United states.
Just my opinion.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 10:09
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What a strange scenario you have in whichever company you work for.
So if Capt TRI/TRE/God down the back decides he knows better than the guy who accepted the flight as Commander ,and signed all the paperwork as such prior to the flight he can demand to burst into the cockpit proclaiming " I am the senior one here I demand you relinquish command and defer to my greater company seniority" surely you are joking ?
Mind you I have flown with a few of your countrymen in Ryanair who had a little difficulty with the concept of "Pilot in Command" so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 10:25
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Just playing devilís advocateÖ can anyone show this thread the applicable section contained within their flight operations manual that it is acceptable behavior to show up for a dead heading trip in uniform and with the scent of alcohol on their breath?
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 10:49
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Why would anyone be so stupid to put their uniform on "to get through security" to just dead-head somewhere?????? Complete insanity! I wouldn't dare go near my uniform after a night on the beer.

The goons in security lie in wait to get pilots, it brightens up their days and sadly justifies their harrassment of pilots on a daily basis.

Position out of uniform whether it's sop or not!
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 10:50
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Captjns
Doubt if any company would support that. I am sure they could nail you under the general heading of behaviour likely to be detrimental to the image of the company etc etc, as far back as the mid eighties the company I worked for prohibited drinking in uniform specifically because of the possibility that " someone " could get the wrong idea of your future intentions, and positioning was counted as duty so strictly speaking you were expected to turn up in a reasonable state. As previous poster said too, better not to provide ammo for the wooden-tops at security.
Of course in these days we were expected & trusted to behave like adults and were allowed a certain latitude ,unlike the nanny state we live in now where every little bunny has decided he will watch the other just in case he can identify something that might require reporting. A bit pathetic really, I thought I left that behind in primary school. Because of this the harmless but contrary to the regs habit of "chocktails" has no doubt fallen into dissuse along with a great deal of the ambience broadly termed "fun" that used to exist in this profession. Instead the dullards and grey personalities so beloved of bean-counters and certain nationalities have taken over, bringing with them it should be added a commensurate dose of the lack of imagination or lateral thinking asssociated with their creed. All of course strictly my bitter & twisted personal view of what this industry/society in general has become BTW.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 12:56
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The fact that he is doing a linecheck shows that he is NOT part of the active crew. That means that probably with some legal help from his company and/or union he will stay clear of the law.
Still he shows up (alledgedly) drunk for work and whatever his employer thinks of that is another story, but i guess it is not enough to get fired for (at least in europe).
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 13:53
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A line-checker or safety pilot is always active crew. What else is he......a passenger sitting in the FD? That there is discussion about this, amazing !
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 15:15
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golfyankeesierra:

If you are a professional pilot you should know that a linechecker conducting a line check is most certainly a crewmember and on duty. He will be even more in trouble because of his senior position as linechecker, since most judges will argue that this position comes with a higher responsibility and will sentence accordingly. You can bet on a dutch judge to do exactly that.

He will, therefore, most certainly NOT steer clear of the law and there is little a lawyer/union/company can do about it. Being over the limit as a pilot on duty is not a misdemeanor or a felony like a parking ticket but a CRIME. While I feel sorry for him as a person (I don't know his background or the reason why he was over the limit), he should have been sober when he showed up for work.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 21:28
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he should have been sober when he showed up for work
Absolutely!

But still, the only thing he got in his hands are a pen and a cup of coffee.
I am not going to defend him, but I really think as a linechecker he will (not should!) be judged differently.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 21:34
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The purpose of a check captain is twofold;

To evaluate the crew; and

to take over for any defficient crewmember should they not perform to standard... thus stay off the booze.

No ifs ands or buts.
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Old 12th Dec 2008, 23:04
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Just in passing does anyone know how many aircraft accidents and incidents are caused by pilots over the legal alcohol limit each year? The figures for land based craft and also water craft of all sorts are available for the UK.
I can't remember seeing anything for aircraft especially commercial aircraft. I think that sums up the aviation industry and it's pilots professionalism .
As an aside no one has ever done any meaningful research on how alcohol affects driving/flying/sailing as all scientific research requires a baseline from which everything else can be measured. As we are all different in reaction times and judgement calls when sober then it is impossible to judge how much alcohol is safe for the total population to drink before driving/flying/sailing.The limits imposed are arbitary and at best are guestimates for people in laboratory conditions. What is safe for me may not be safe for you and vice versa. The only certain way is a zero limit which is impossible to apply due to the limits of field testing kits and our lifestyle using alcohol based products such as aftershave etc.There is also the degradation rate of alcohol in the body which varies not only from person to person but from day to day in that same person.
Still if the facts of the case are as reported then the pilot can have no complaints. All rules are there to follow or ignore at your own risk.
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Old 13th Dec 2008, 07:48
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Just in passing does anyone know how many aircraft accidents and incidents are caused by pilots over the legal alcohol limit each year?
ATSB 1975 - 2006
Drug and alcohol events accounted for only 0.02 per cent of all the occurrences listed on the Australian Transport Safety Bureauís database. Drug and alcohol-related accidents accounted for 0.4 per cent of all accidents.


For comparison NTSB study on Truckers....

From NTSB toxicological tests, the Safety Board found that 33 percent of the fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol and other drugs of abuse. The most prevalent drugs found were marijuana and alcohol (13 percent each), followed by cocaine (9 percent), methamphetamine/amphetamines (7 percent), other stimulants (S percent), and codeine and phencyclidine (PCP) (less than I percent each). Stimulants are the most frequently identified drug class among fatally injured truck drivers.
Fatigue and fatigue-drug interactions were involved in more fatalities in this study than alcohol and other drugs of abuse alone.

I'm sure there was an NTSB study on the internet about alcohol results in fatal aviation accidents but I can't remember where it is and so far google hasn't found it....
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