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LHR Inebriated DL Pilot Sentenced to Six Months

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LHR Inebriated DL Pilot Sentenced to Six Months

Old 1st Feb 2011, 07:26
  #81 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The right side of the Pennines
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The addiction is not self-inflicted..........
So there's an army of 'enforcers' - like the TSA maybe ? who FORCE people to drink alcohol and therefore become addicted ? is there ? News to me.

I would ask those who state that babies can be born with the alcoholic gene, or whatever starts alcoholism off - and I don't want to know, I don't care - if such babies were NEVER to allow alcohol to pass their lips, would they still grow up to be the wife-beaters and general PITA's to society that alcoholics are ?

Those who do so, and become alcoholics as a result, either inflicted the result upon themselves by imbibing in the first place, or were held down and forced to consume alcohol.

Oh, yeah !

The eventual addiction, which I totally agree then occurs, and the various ways to deal with it, is a different subject.
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 09:28
  #82 (permalink)  
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Hey Tyke ... are you best mates with Shell Management ?
It seems that you and your fellow sexagenerian are a bit keen to dismiss published medical research about a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
There is, however, a definate genetic link between being of the white rose persuasion, and being a bit of a blinkered self opinionated herbert.
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 09:43
  #83 (permalink)  
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So there's an army of 'enforcers' - like the TSA maybe ? who FORCE people to drink alcohol and therefore become addicted ? is there ? News to me.
I think there is a very strong drinking permissive culture in the UK. People get influenced by what they see on TV, advertisements. If an alcoholic beverage producer is allowed to sponsor key sporting events that speaks for itself.

So - maybe no one is in fact forcing anyone to drink - but people are pretty much encouraged to have a go at alcohol.

Let me give you a prime example - when I was at my first year of uni at London (ages ago) just about all the student induction events - including those staged at the various student dormitories - were organised under the theme of 'free drinks; free shots; shot of vodka just 1GBP' theme. During these parties - as can be expected of 18 year olds away from home for the first time in their lives - there were many cases of alcohol abuse and a lot of students got into trouble and faced quite dire consequences. Now in many other countries (and I have personal experience of two other European countries) it would be absolutely unacceptable for binge-drinking parties to be officially organised on a university campus.

As far as the pilot is concerned - of course he must be punished - that is neccessary as a deterrent to others and also to ensure the general public has confidence in the safety of flying. However - given how the flying profession is conducive to alcoholism (as many other highly stressing professions requiring people to spend significant amounts of time away from home and family are) - if the pilot's airline did not have a monitoring/support network in place he should be allowed to gain compensation from his employer for his loss of income. A substantial payout - to the benefit of the employee - will ensure that airlines will put appropriate procedures in place. It is easy to say - 'you are intoxicated you should not show up for the job' - but with the pressure of mortgages, loans and a family to support it is easier said than done. For a genuine alcoholic refraining from drink is a huge challenge, you cannot compare this to refraining from your favourite chocolate bar or a greasy hamburger.

If he was not an alcoholic, and this was merely a one-off - that is somewhat different. But I wonder - if you call in and say you cannot fly because you sprained your wrist at the hotel gym the previous night - will that be looked at in the same way as calling in and saying you cannot fly because you had a few drinks too many whilst watching the game at the hotel bar?

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Old 1st Feb 2011, 10:55
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
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While the jury is still divided, I agree with Golf-Sierra's analysis of the case under discussion.
If the 'guilty' pilot needs rehab, he must be offered a chance rather than pronounced guilty without considering the genesis of the reported drunken episode (Bashing the Drunk! | Aviation Medicine :: Aerospace Medicine).
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 18:28
  #85 (permalink)  
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Flying While Intoxicated

I was a sponsor for ALPAs program for DUIs, etc. The program worked quite well and gave a pilot a second chance. My father-in-law was an alcoholic, a great man when sober, and that's why I tried to help others-besides being an ex-cop that worked a lot of domestic issues when alcohol was flowing between the combatants.

Tom Cloyd jr., was the son af a very good friend of mine that perished in the B-26 "Carollyn" crash in 1995, the late Great Tom Cloyd.
Tommy flew for America West, and was seen on t.v. getting a convicton of 5 years, not the 6 months that others are getting. His mother is an absolute saint, the classiest lady in the face of adversity and tragedy.
Both her late husband, and Tommy made the national news, but her demeanor was above anything that anyone should have to endure.

Not all of my program cases were a success, but I did try. I absolutely love beer, Irish coffee on a day like today, but I do not go anywhere near a machine of any type after consuming.

When you're a starving first officer (back in the 1970s & 80s) if you didn't go to happy hour, you didn't eat-the free snacks and all. You just had to watch the alcohol intake. Why go to Mc Ds' when you could eat a lot for having bought two beers for a buck?

I am one of "Cloyd's Boys", and I will always feel the pain of seeing what alcohol can do to families, careers, and lives.

Regards to all,

"Not Too"
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Old 1st Feb 2011, 19:52
  #86 (permalink)  
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Hey Tyke ... are you best mates with Shell Management ?
No. and I don't necessarily support his viewpoint either, I've 'helped' fellow pilots keep their jobs and continue alcohol free to retirement, rightly or wrongly, water under the bridge now and my lips are sealed, my only platform is that the first drink, which may well lead to alcoholism is self inflicted, and from that I will not waver - don't even try, tough.

.......to dismiss published medical research about a possible genetic predisposition to addiction.
Not at all, the addiction is acknowledged, but the first drink is self inflicted, even if as a result of peer pressure, or other outside pressures. It might be difficult to resist, but nobody - to my knowledge, and correct me if I'm wrong,pls. - FORCES alcohol down anyones' throat, but when the first drink is taken then of course I accept that the inevitable might happen - but the first drink is self inflicted.

So - maybe no one is in fact forcing anyone to drink - but people are pretty much encouraged to have a go at alcohol.
Agreed, but whose decision is it to have a go ?

Self inflicted, for whatever reason.

I rest my case.


.......fellow sexagenerian.......
I like the sex bit ! but what has age to do with it ? or is this an attempt by the younger generation - armed with iPads - to force their social and alcoholic mores upon us ? ( actually, trying to deal with an iPad is enough to drive anyone to drink )

a definate genetic link between being of the white rose persuasion, and being a bit of a blinkered self opinionated herbert.
Not blinkered but focussed on reality ,and my name isn't Herbert - the rest is spot on, and long may it continue. ( I can spell definite, too. )

Nil Illegitimum Carborundum

Last edited by YorkshireTyke; 1st Feb 2011 at 23:26.
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 00:09
  #87 (permalink)  
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Captain Lyle Prouse has been mentioned earlier in the thread and I came across this quite by accident while researching something else. Business & Commercial Aviation, May, 2001, by Paul Richfield.

Pardoned Captain's long Journey Back

Life offers few second chances - Lyle Prouse has made the most of his.

Few pilots are better qualified to discuss the dangers of alcohol than Lyle Prouse, the Northwest Airlines captain whose fall from grace made national headlines 11 years ago.

On March 8, 1990, Prouse and the other two members of his Boeing 727 flight crew were arrested after completing a trip from Fargo, N.D., to Minneapolis. Hours earlier they'd been drinking heavily at a bar and a witness had tipped the FAA. The three pilots were the first to be charged under a 1986 law that criminalized operating a “common carrier" under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The day after his arrest, Prouse entered a month-long alcohol abuse program. He has been sober ever since.

However, other aspects of his life worsened. He lost his job and then all his money. The FAA revoked his medical and pilot certificates. And then he was convicted and sent to Atlanta's federal prison camp where he became Inmate 04478-041. Prouse served 14 months of a 16-month sentence. His crewmates were sentenced to 12 months.

Although he despaired, the former Marine A4E pilot and Vietnam combat veteran was determined to return to the cockpit. A fellow Northwest pilot who owned an FBO told Prouse he wanted him to get his licenses back and that he could fly for free at his facility.

Starting with the Private Pilot license, Prouse earned his qualifications back one by one. In 1993, he was working at a hospital, making $6.75 an hour, when the head of Northwest's pilot's union informed him that CEO John Dasburg had decided to rehire him as a first officer in the airline's training department. The news reduced him to tears.

Although he never expected to, Prouse ultimately worked his way back into the cockpit, and retired from Northwest in 1998 as a Boeing 747 captain.

'From a personal standpoint, the entire situation has proven to be a positive one, since it saved my life," he told BICA. "My advice to working pilots is to look out for your peers - no one sets out to be an alcoholic, and few know it once they become one. Friends need to exercise care and determination."

Prouse's journey came full circle on January 20, 2001, when he was included in the list of 140 Americans to receive presidential pardons from the outgoing Clinton administration; 36 others had their prison sentences commuted. With his pardon, Prouse regains rights many of us take for granted: the right to vote, to serve on a jury, to run for public office, and most importantly to the avid outdoorsman, the right to own firearms.

Although many of the pardons were unexpected and controversial, Prouse's

came after a difficult campaign. His quest for a presidential pardon began in January 1999 with a letter to the U.S. Pardons Attorney in Washington, who responded with a stack of forms and other requests for supporting affidavits.

Supporters included James Rosenbaurn, the judge who presided over Prouse's original case, Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-Mnn.) and two Georgia state senators, whom Prouse categorizes as "hard sells."

"Helping a convicted felon is not a strong political cause, but they agreed to support me," he said.

"An FBI investigation followed, and I knew that the longer it dragged on, the better my chances.

"I found out about the pardon on the afternoon of January 20," he says. "I actually had let go of the pardon, deciding it wasn't going to happen. The big push of the whole experience is the psychological and emotional impact."

Prouse still flies, and owns a 1975 Piper Warrior. He's an active participant in the Angel Flight program, and often is invited to speak to alcohol rehabilitation and other groups.

He says his crew during "the incident" also is flying again: The first officer is a check airman with a national carrier; the second officer is a flight engineer with one of the majors.

"Some guys hate me forever, since the incident threw a wet blanket on some of the partying, but many more say 'I saw what happened to you, and it made me take a look at myself and get help,"' he says. "Alcoholism is a tough, tough disease, and it's important to dispel the misconceptions about it and treat it before it's too late."

My advice to working pilots is to look out for your peers
It seems to be a sad fact of life that even when we are aware of a friends/workmates difficulties, of any sort, we are reluctant to get involved.

Last edited by Brian Abraham; 2nd Feb 2011 at 01:04.
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 01:34
  #88 (permalink)  
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Interesting contrast between Brian's post and that of the, ah, person who posted above him.
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 02:01
  #89 (permalink)  
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Interesting contrast between Brian's post and that of the, ah, person who posted above him.

stepwilk ....... it would help if you started brain before engaging mouth, I'll repeat what I posted.........

I've 'helped' fellow pilots keep their jobs and continue alcohol free to retirement,
I have sympathy for some who become alcoholics, my only platform is that it is self inflicted, and even the post about Capt. Prouse stated .........
Hours earlier they'd been drinking heavily at a bar
Doubtless they were forced to do so in your eyes ? Who by ?

I'm not wasting anymore time on this, best of luck.
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 07:54
  #90 (permalink)  
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thank you for sharing a wonderful story of grit and determination. Surely, it helps those who may be sliding down the alcohol way, and do not know if they can help alleviate themselves out of their self-inflicted morass.
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 23:22
  #91 (permalink)  
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I wasn't going to get involved in this but here goes.

Thank you Brian for reminding us of Capt. Lyle Prouse's story which I followed some time ago - I didn't contribute at the time because others were expressing my sentiments so eloquently.

20 years ago I was a practicing alcoholic in charge of pilot training for a UK airline. My downhill path accelerated rapidly after I was demoted for making a clerical error which I promptly admitted, not because I was drunk when I made it, but my 'alcoholic character defects' permitted me to take on too much of a 3rd party training task without additional training staff. Furthermore my need for alcohol would not allow me to work at maximum efficiency on all the paperwork after a 16 hour 'sim' and office day. About 6 months later I lost my driving licence for the second time, yet another marriage was breaking up and heart problems seemed likely to lead to loss of licence.

To cut a very long story short, for the first time in my 50 years I was brought to my knees and I was 'pushed' into asking for help - so terribly against my character! I stopped drinking and 'joined' AA. I haven't had a drink since. My marriage, which was doomed from the start, failed anyway (anyone who marries a practicing alcoholic thinking they can 'reform' him is not a well person). My company saw how I was rebuilding my life and helped me in many ways (none of which cost they nor the taxpayer a penny). Eventually I was promoted back to Head of TRTO and I was even given a couple of bonus years after my normal retirement for which I am most grateful. I remarried another recovering alcoholic who I met in AA and we have enjoyed 7 happy years of retirement here on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. My daughter from that last marriage doesn't remember me as a drinker, but as a loving, caring, supportive Dad who's a bit cranky at times but never criticises her - ever. She's in her penultimate year of medical training and is doing very well.

Today my 69th birthday present was starting chemotherapy for 4th stage lung cancer which has spread to my spine and other areas. My wife started chemo 2 weeks ago also for lung cancer - even though I stopped smoking 20 years ago and she 10. All the experts agree that smoking caused it although mine may have been triggered by recent spinal surgery. Neither my wife nor myself have even considered the possibility of taking a drink throughout the past 2 months of a progressive nightmare of tests, travelling 6 hours for more tests on a more or less daily basis and worsening revelations. Our prognosis is about 18 months if we're lucky and the chemo works - but our stubborn 'alcoholic' character traits will probably allow us to prove the experts wrong.

The first point I'm making here is that being an alcoholic isn't all bad. What I did when I was compelled to drink by a demon I could not understand is unforgiveable. Because I was good at my (flying) job I was forgiven the occasional misdemeanor - usually not turning up for work on time through 'gastric' problems. Oh yes I've noticed comments about mouthwash - I've never known an alcoholic who hasn't tried to mask the smell of booze with it.' I've flown formation aerobatic displays when I would have been several times over the legal limit for driving in the UK - and got away with it.

As an alcoholic in recovery I've been privileged to be able perform a few minor miracles - I've been able to help other alcoholics to achieve lasting sobriety and happiness. People beyond the help of family, doctors, treatment centres, self-help literature - you name it. I've had the first successful marriage of my life - the other 3 were disasters. If the big C takes us I can honestly say that our sober years have been the best of our lives, but I think we'll beat it because we both have work to do - helping others.

Secondly, it is my honest belief that no alcoholic will get the help they need unless they, like me, reach an 'emotional 'rock bottom' and are able to 'honestly' ask for help. I've seen alcoholics come from a 'physical' death's door only to pick up a drink as soon as they had the strength. I've seen others (with the same physical symptoms) make full and lasting recoveries when they'd prayed for death as a relief from the emotional pain and anguish they suffered - they found the best help they could ever get 'free' in AA.

My third point is this. The subject Captain of this thread was wrong and I'm sure deserves his sentence. I'm not going to get into a debate over 'leniency' or 'punishment fitting the crime'. What I sincerely wish is that the consequences of his 'driven' actions will bring him to the emotional rock bottom I mentioned; if that happens he's in the right place - the homeland of A.A. and there is nothing to stop him rebuilding his life. He may even find the help he needs in jail - I've visited enough UK prisons and attended A.A. in the USA to know he can. If he is bolstered up by 'do-gooders' who take away some of his emotional pain - his chances are far less than average. This non-fatal episode may be the best thing that could have happened to him.

Finally, I have to say that some of the comments on this thread demonstrate the almost universal ignorance of alcoholism that exists. The only doctors and psychiatrists I know who have an understanding of the 'disease' are those fellow alcoholics of mine and those who come to recovering alcoholics for advice. I used to be full of Yorkshire pride, but after Harold Wilson, John Prescott and the comments of one of the posters above, I sometimes want to crawl into a hole in shame - but I don't.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
—Herbert Spencer

Last edited by rodthesod; 2nd Feb 2011 at 23:29. Reason: typo
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Old 2nd Feb 2011, 23:33
  #92 (permalink)  
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There's no doubt that Alcohol drinks do control nerves. But a certain ammount does that, not too much.

As someone mentioned, he didn't even know where he was flying to! I wonder how he'd make the pre-flight announcements!
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 00:06
  #93 (permalink)  
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I sometimes want to crawl into a hole in shame - but I don't.
rodthesod, you can hold your head high with pride my man. It's a disease no different than the big "C" you now find yourself battling. Yours is a wonderful story of a battle fought and won, and I think I can speak for everyone here in saying "Thank you so much for sharing."

A heartfelt blessing for the current battles yourself and wife are facing.
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 01:27
  #94 (permalink)  
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.........I wonder how he'd make the pre-flight announcements!
At top of climb out of London, I once gave the passengers a briefing of the route we were flying to Karachi.

When I put the mic. down, the co-pilot said .... " but we're going to Bahrain " !!!

Luckily most of the route was the same anyway, and I didn't correct my mistake.

No one noticed. They never listen.

And No, I hadn't been drinking !
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 03:06
  #95 (permalink)  
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shell management

shell management, thats it!

You really are a piece of work.

I see those chips about pilots are still there on your shoulders in spades.

Dealing with the likes of you in any managemert position is enough to turn any flight department member to drink.

By the way, what would you do if your boss or CEO or department head turned up smelling strongly alcohol? Not that you are in a safety critical position, but there is always the risk of a paper cut or grievous stapler wound.

Heaven forbid that you are anywhere near the top - you sound off like a ladder climber who likes to kick those below off on the way up.

The personal skills to deal with someone in need of help in battling their demons (whatever they may be) is not in your character suite. In fact, I doubt you have any.

Rod, great post. Good luck with your current battle.
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Old 3rd Feb 2011, 09:53
  #96 (permalink)  
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" Yours is a wonderful story of a battle fought and won, and I think I can speak for everyone here in saying "Thank you so much for sharing."

First...to RTS....I personally would also like to thank you for sharing your testimony!
Though I've experienced a similar situation both personally and professionally, I wanted to address the above quote. The 'battle' is NEVER 'won!! It's a battle that is fought, hopefully successfully, EVERY SINGLE DAY of the persons life. This is the reason for the expression from AA/NA of "one day at a time", and if one DAY is too much to contemplate, then it's one HOUR at a time or one MINUTE at a time or one SECOND at a time!! Make no mistake....it IS a battle and a constant one.....one that hopefully gets a bit easier over time...but a battle none the less. Thanks again for sharing and I will keep you in my prayers Rodthesod - God bless and God speed!
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 16:35
  #97 (permalink)  
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To Aterpster

Well, that's not quite true. I don't want to rehash all I wrote quite some while back so go back and take a look at the referral link if you're interested.

Pilots who have been drinking are often stopped and caught at TSA checkpoints, some airlines allow different cockpit parameters before the point of no return is crossed - some say it's at the point where the Checklist is read, and others have other parameters where a pilot does not irrevocably lose his/her career. It all depends on the airline.

The very nature of alcoholism says, "I don't have it!" and it's rare for a pilot to turn themselves in (yes...it happens...but not often). Nor are many families able to call up the courage it takes to organize an intervention (and if a professional isn't involved the outcome can be very negative when they DO make the attempt).

Alcoholism is a complex disease. And before someone jumps on what I'm saying I will say once more - it does NOT absolve ANYONE of the consequences that result from their actions; alcoholic or NOT. But...when treated, an employee can return as a valued member of their profession.

I've been sober nearly 21 years now (March 7, 1990). I retired honorably in Sept '98 (age 60) and am still flying with a First Class FAA medical certificate. Surprisingly, I've never flown drunk in all that time. Go figure.

Lyle Prouse - Grateful for my life and my sobriety...!

His quote below:
Most, if not all, U.S. carriers have an intervention and treatment program, which is approved by the FAA. DAL is certainly a participant.

But, it requires that the alcoholic pilot either turn himself in off duty, or friends or family trigger an intervention. My experience as a union rep was that it was almost always an intervention that worked (well, worked at least to get the pilot into in-patient care paid for by the company).

When those two opportunities are missed and it goes to an on-duty situation, it's all over but the shouting
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Old 5th Feb 2011, 20:42
  #98 (permalink)  
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Well, that's not quite true. I don't want to rehash all I wrote quite some while back so go back and take a look at the referral link if you're interested.
Let me be more specific. I was a member of the TWA MEC in the mid-1980s. What I stated was the absolute policy at TWA. At MEC meetings we were advised by the experts that TWA's policy was in compliance with FAA requirements and industry standards.

We were never advised that the on-duty apprehension requirements were more relaxed, apparently significantly more relaxed, at some other carriers. Nor, do I recall it being mentioned by anyone in an ad hoc manner.

We had two or three cases of termination for showing up in circumstances quite similar to the case of this thread. Those terminations were sustained at the five person board. I was not privy to the record of those cases but if ALPA legal argued the more permissive policies at some other carriers, it did not carry the day. It could be, though, that a retirement deal was cut in the late stages of those cases, and we just thought termination had been sustained.
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Old 6th Feb 2011, 00:13
  #99 (permalink)  
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As a non airline person but with an amateur interest in aviation I have to say I'm amazed by some of the views here. Let me put it to you this way, as a regular fare paying passenger I don't want a pilot turning up, if not blind drunk, then over the limit. In fact I don't want him to have any alcohol in his blood at all. I'm not going to enter the debate about alcoholism, I think it's all been said already in this topic. The simple matter is that I don't want a pilot flying my plane to have their judgment impaired by alcohol, and if they do, I expect the penalty to be pretty bloody severe.

Personally I think 6 months in pokey is derisory. I couldn't care less whether they are fighting alcoholism or not, that is totally and utterly besides the point. I might add that I am not without compassion and lost my closest friend to alcohol related illness in 2009. But if they have a drink problem they should NOT be entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people in a commercial aircraft. As someone said earlier on, you wouldn't want your children to be driven to school by an alcoholic bus driver, so what is the difference exactly? I hope as a punter and one of the many long haul passengers that pay your salaries I have made my point clearly enough.
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Old 6th Feb 2011, 06:15
  #100 (permalink)  
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"The simple matter is that I don't want a pilot flying my plane to have their judgment impaired by alcohol"

Rightly so.

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, one of whom was over the locally imposd limit for operating an aircraft at the time of report for duty?

Compared to:

How would you feel if you had to fly in the back of an aircraft that was operated by two pilots, both of whom had just had a few hours of broken sleep in an airport motel. During the flight, both pilots took it in turns to sleep, but neither could be relied upon to stay awake?

Which in your opinion (and I'm not been sarcastic, your perception of risk and opinion is valued, to me at least) is the safer operation?
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