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Alcohol Testing of Flight Crew

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Alcohol Testing of Flight Crew

Old 23rd Feb 2011, 11:28
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Alcohol Testing of Flight Crew

I've read couple of threads where pilots were tested on alcohol after some suspicion is raised by security staff, their colleagues or pax, but yesterday my crew was subject of such an RANDOM test by Swedish Police.
Of course we passed the test, but when I questioned policemen under what authority they come on board aircraft to test crew (without an aviation inspector for instance), thy told me it was like that in Sweden. I would like to mention that I did not step of the aircraft, but they came in and asked for permission to enter the flight deck. We told them that we believe aircraft to be extra-territorial to Sweden, but I was not sure, and they insisted so finally I accepted the test.
Let me mention that aircraft/company/crew are outside EU.
Does anybody with better knowledge of ICAO convention and EU laws can tell me if all this was legal or there is a chance not to accept such testing in future. My concerns are not so much with Sweden or EU (I don't drink and fly), but with some third world countries where rule of law is questionable or police is corrupted, equipment may be contaminated etc, and tester shows I did drink even if I did't?
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 12:26
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IIRC, Tokyo Convention says that A/C is only under juristiction of home nation once under its' own power. Whilst parked it is subject to the law of the land it is sat upon. That was the rules for disruptive passengers, anyway.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 12:27
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....they came in and asked for permission to enter the flight deck.
Next time say...no entry.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 12:52
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411A Tried that once over another issue. Mmm! they parked a fire truck behind me so could not push back. Got a bit silly really.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 13:04
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I suspect you can't really consider yourself safe until you leave a countries airspace/water. Until then they could allways send an escort after you to encourage you to return (on some pretext if necessary).
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 15:59
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They can do it


Yes, According to the Chicago Convention (Article 16) specifies that any state authority have the right to search the aircraft, and apply the laws accordingly, be it aviation or local laws, it doesn't specify. It only applies to civil Aircraft, Not state Aircraft.

I understand how uncomfortable the situation can be, but is better just to fully comply than try to object or fight authority, the simply can stop your flight until compliance. good thing it was in Sweden, there are other European and first world American countries than can react third world style if you refuse.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 21:35
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......Whilst parked it is subject to the law of the land it is sat upon........
Seem to remember that that was the situation regarding drinking before flying, which used to be 8 hours Bottle to Throttle in some countries, 12 in others and, if memory serves me, 24 in India, (?) so on a 24 hr. 'slip pattern' one couldn't have a beer at all during the stopover, nothing to do with blood alcohol levels - straight legislation of the country one had landed in, nothing to do with the State of Registration of the aircraft one was flying out.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 21:55
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Had a short slip in Copenhagen whilst in the bar having a post flight beer - a pax waited with one eye on his watch - just under 12 hrs before our scheduled departure time he walked over and told us that we were breaking the law!
We said we were governed by our countries law - which of course we weren't- and got away with it.
Didn't do it again.
Remember most crews would ignore the Indian 24 hour regulation - probably didn't know any better.
Personally I think the obligatory breath test is a good idea - especially after the ANC crash.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 22:01
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It's happening now in Australia; I fly for an Asian airline, and one of our guys was recently random-checked on arrival (!) in AUS after a 9 hour sector. Our crews of course have also been checked outbound. Occasionally these people will shut down activity at regional airports and check everybody who is airside.

This is the same regulator that at the start of their programme mailed out a 'Drug and Alcohol' awareness calendar to every pilot in Australia, at great cost to the taxpayer; said calendar had an entire month missing and other mistakes. The CASA proof reader must have been on something themselves...

Last edited by Captain Dart; 24th Feb 2011 at 01:08.
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Old 23rd Feb 2011, 22:29
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I've had the cops on the aircraft in AMS to do alcohol tests on the crew.

I was confident that we'd all pass but helluva worried about the possibility of anyone failing the test (crew arrested, handcuffs on, jail, court trial, sacking etc) never mind having to cancel the service.

The cop did not do the tests in the end as pax were boarding (it was 1600 LT btw) but like the OP, I wonder where exactly we stand legally.

I suspect, you have no alternative but to submit to the test though.

I have heard that a tee-total person can easily blow a 0.17 and that is why the Dutch have the limit set at 0.20.
Old 24th Feb 2011, 00:55
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.........whilst in the bar having a post flight beer..........
??? How did he know ? Surely you weren't still in uniform ?

....most crews would ignore the Indian 24 hour regulation - probably didn't know any better.....
True, and most of India was 'dry' at that time as well, so on a 5 day slip in Bombay ( not Mumbai ) the only way to get a beer was to register as an aloholic ! I personally never did - and my lips are sealed !!

have heard that a tee-total person can easily blow a 0.17 and that is why the Dutch have the limit set at 0.20
On my last Cop-Stop I blew over the limit, and hadn't had a drink ! The lady cop said it was probably my after-shave, and her make-up often showed her over the limit, too, nevetheless I had to waste time blowing into the next step, the bag, which showed a large zero.

Not condoning drinking and flying of course, but this is getting ridiculous, I think I'll insist on making the next Supermarket supervisor take a breathalyser test before she serves me.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 02:13
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one of our guys was recently random-checked on arrival (!) in AU
Just to split hairs. Once the aircraft is parked up and shut down (except maybe the APU) I can't see a problem with a little drink. That's from an entirely legal perspective, not from a "looking professional" point of view.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 07:46
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Thumbs up

0.2 per thousand that is.....not per cent
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 08:10
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I parked up in Brisbane the other day on a turnaround and was met by a CASA inspector who conducted a random breath test on both pilots and two of the four cabin crew. We commented on this all being a bit pointless due to the fact we had just flown in and it would be a bit late not if we were all roaring drunk. She didn't get it

All passed though
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 08:32
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A few years back in a CIS country while flying intra country flights on a smallish A320, I was called the day before by company ops: "Hi. You will have a random alcohol check tomorrow morning". What a service

As for submitting a test to a police officer, no problems and if you have nothing to hide it only takes a few seconds really. However a company I once worked for informed that they can have someone in the office conduct a brethalyzer test. With that I have a problem. These instruments are not calibrated properly and can show interesting readings after eating fruit or spicy food. Try to explain that to some 22 year old with life experience of a banana when she tells you that you are pissed a skunk. Not personal experience but happened to a mate.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 08:47
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As an engineer I was tested twice by an FAA inspector on consecutive days also it was the same guy, I did of course pass.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 08:58
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I flew for an Indian carrier. A doctor was stationed in dispatch for every departing flight. We were required to sign a form that basically self certified our fitness for duty. Probably on about one in four occasions, we were breathalysed. It was random. Notably, during my two year tenure, 2 pilots were found to be positive. Neither was an Indian national. The resulting events were unhappy outcomes.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 10:36
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I flew with the same carrier as Blaireau, was subjected to an alcohol test approx. 75% of the time departing BOM.....sometimes our company doctor would pop-up in BRU, funny how the locals always knew when this was happening, but the expats were never told!!
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 11:07
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Hopefully someone will invent a fatigue test on day. Guess you will still get banged up for failing it though!.
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Old 24th Feb 2011, 12:49
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At what point in time between journey from the hotel to pushback does crew become legally liable for being over the limit?
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