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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

Old 7th Jul 2002, 23:45
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I think discussing tactics of how to walk the knife-edge between being legal and not, like a bunch of bingeing university students, is missing the real issues.

The Pilots will no doubt be made to pay the Full price for their misjudgement. In fact I reckon they will be made to pay more than the full price, as high-publicity cases unfortunately dictates the maximum sentence regardless of the facts. So the guys will probably do more time than say some quiet murder case up in New York.

However, I don't think it's clever, as a group of Pilots, sitting comfortably in front of their PC's to join in the lynching mob. Yes they screwed up, Yes they will Pay.....Big Time, and Yes they do deserve to Pay the Price for their crime. However like any convicted felon in our Free Society, I can only hope that they will be afforded the same chance of re-habiltation given the most despicable criminals upon completion of their sentence.

If a truck driver gets a drunk driving charge it doesn't mean he can never drive again in the future once his ban has been served. It used to be that Airports were Private Property and as such were difficult to prosecute such cases(ie. Nobody even needs a drivers licence to drive on private property). Is there a maximum sentence for being intoxicated in control of a motorised vehicle in Florida ? Because once their time is served surely they should be allowed to return re-habilitated(they would then be the least likely pilot in the world ever to infringe the drinking laws.)

I don't doubt that the Stress involved in living as a "Modern Jet Pilot" and the kind of fatigue produced by modern computer-generated Rosters all contributed to events. If the "older"one did show signs of problems earlier then it is a shame no one close to him didn't pull him aside earlier before he was allowed to self-destruct his career and his colleagues. It's like any air-crash, Pilot-Error is only one factor in 20 other contributory influences. I don't condone their actions but I'm not willing to participate in the lynching.

Any snyd jokes we have to endure becasue of this incident is peanuts to the price these guys and their families are going to have to Pay. Let the law take it's course, hopefully they get a chance to sort out the real root cause of their problems and I hope they're given the chance to return healthy back to flying. It's a sad day when 1 of us goes down and in other circumstances/pressures maybe it could have been one of us.

You don't always get what you want in life, but you often get what you deserve.
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 00:39
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PPRUNE in New York Times

PPRUNE and several members make the New York Times. Botom of the article, which is reposted here in its entirety.

July 7, 2002

Drinking and Flying: Nothing New Under the Sun


IN the aviation industry, there is zero tolerance for flying while drunk. In each of the last two years, only 9 of 10,000 airline crew members tested positive for alcohol in random tests by the
Federal Aviation Administration, and none were pilots for major airlines. So it was startling news last week that two co-pilots for America West Airlines, taxiing a planeload of passengers about to
take off for Phoenix, were ordered back to the gate in Miami and charged with being under the influence of alcohol. The pilots were quickly fired and lost their licenses.

Today's airline pilots are responsible, highly trained, usually well-motivated by high salaries and closely monitored for health and for potential alcohol or drug use. But aviators also come from a
lusty tradition where drinking and carousing what pilots call hell-raising were long seen as badges of honor. Many of the excesses were curbed after flying became a business with the birth of commercial airlines in the 1930's, but the blue yonder has always attracted more than its share of blithe spirits.

Let's look at some of the lore.

In the early 20th century, well before federal regulation of aviation, barnstormers freelance daredevils who learned to fly by the seat of their pants or in World War I had a rip-roaring style. One was Slats Rodgers, a hard-drinking Texan who built his own plane in 1912 and learned how to fly it only after it was airborne.

Again and again, Slats attempted to take the shaking creature into the air. Through some fault in design and in rigging, the right wing now had the discomforting propensity to slip downwards
and at a dangerous angle. Hell, any angle was dangerous at this time to Slats. . . . Again and again, Slats rebuilt the right wing. [Finally] patience ran out and was willingly exchanged for a
sodden, sopping drunk.

Alcoholically angered even beyond his own fiery temper, Slats vowed that he would "fly her or tear her apart."

"Barnstorming: The Great Years of Stunt Flying," by Bruce Caidin (Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1965)

Barnstormers, of course, didn't have to worry about random alcohol tests on their return to the hangar.

It isn't hard to figure that some of the first men to thumb their noses at gravity might also tend to be somewhat careless about the man-made laws of the land. . . . The yo-yo life pursued by
Slats gives us a decided clue as to just how far a man could go in the days before the Big Brother of the government . . . began getting in the hair of men who lived freely and to the full.


A few years before World War II, when passenger service started up and aviation became a business, the federal government moved in to impose order. Until then, a pilot's freedom was
limited only by physical factors like the flight ceiling the highest level under particular weather conditions from which the ground is visible.

There was no Air Traffic Control as such until the late 30's, and even then it consisted of a crude arrangement employed almost solely by the airlines and often ignored by them in good weather. Everyone else flew as they damned pleased. If the ceiling over New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles or Memphis happened to be 200 feet, you flew across the city at 100 feet. . . . No self-respecting second lieutenant in the Air Corps would miss a chance to "beat up" his girlfriend's house with a proper buzz job, and even some airline pilots treated their few passengers to low-level passes so the wife (or girlfriend) would know their man would soon be available.

"Ernest K. Gann's Flying Circus," by Ernest K. Gann (Macmillan, 1974)

Still, there were frequent reminders that flying was a job best done sober. In 1937, the celebrated aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific on the last leg of an around-the-world trip. Earhart's navigator, Frederick Noonan, who flew with her on that ill-fated last flight, had been known as a heavy drinker in a former job as an airline navigator in Manila.

Noonan developed a bad habit of going on a bender and getting lost among Manila's whorehouses. Before takeoff he'd have to be hunted down and "poured" aboard the airplane. . . .
Noonan was given several warnings about his behavior because, as [his boss] reasonably pointed out, "it would not inspire confidence among the customers if they were to see the
navigator being carried aboard in Manila."

"The Sound of Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart," by Mary S. Lovall (St. Martin's Press, 1989)

In radio transmissions during various stages of their final journey, Earhart herself expressed concerns about Noonan's drinking. The following transmission was made 20 hours before their plane lost contact somewhere over the Pacific.

She started the conversation with the remark, "He's hitting the bottle again and I don't even know where he's getting it!" . . . Earhart, whose faith in Fred Noonan was wearing thin, now faced
the possibility of having to do more of the navigation on her own, even though her navigator was aboard.

During much of the crossing, Fred "dozed," according to Amelia. Those who knew Fred wondered if he was hung over. As a result, Amelia did much of her own navigating. . . .

On the evening of July 1, the night before the takeoff from Lae [New Guinea] . . . Fred decided to spend the time drinking with his friends. The next morning, July 2, Fred made it back to his
hotel room only 45 minutes before Amelia came pounding on his door to announce that they would take off in a couple of hours.

"Amelia Earhart: The Final Story," by Vincent Loomis and Jeffrey Ethell (Random House,

World War II produced a generation of hard-nosed pilots who soon dominated the fledgling commercial airline industry and also led the peacetime military efforts to fly higher and faster in
experimental aircraft. After the war, many top test pilots, some of whom would later fly into space, were stationed at Wright Field, an isolated base at Muroc in the Mojave desert of California. Men
like Chuck Yeager assaulted the sound barrier in the skies by day, and at sundown gathered at Pancho's Fly Inn, a ramshackle saloon.

Yeager didn't go to Pancho's and knock back a few because two days later the big test was coming up. Nor did he knock back a few because it was the weekend. No, he knocked back a few because night had come and he was a pilot at Muroc. In keeping with the military tradition of Flying and Drinking, that was what you did.

"The Right Stuff," by Tom Wolfe (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979)

Flying and hell-raising one fueled the other. And that's what Pancho's was all about. . . . For us, a big part of the fellowship of flying was experienced at Pancho's. Being in our early 20's, we
were in good physical shape and at the height of our recuperative powers. That was our Golden Age of flying and fun. By the time we reached 30, our bodies forced moderation on us.

"Yeager: An Autobiography," by Chuck Yeager and Leon Janos (Bantam Books, 1985)

Russ Schleeh, a fellow test pilot and close friend of Yeager, insisted that nothing that happened at Pancho's kept a man from flying in the morning:

Near dawn, the bar was a wreck, with only a few survivors still standing, and my God, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect, beautiful day. We had to fly!

"Yeager: An Autobiography"

Last week, though, the good old days seemed far off for a commercial aviation industry already reeling from the worst crisis in its history. The American West incident generated hundreds of
rueful postings by commercial pilots on an Internet news group called the Professional Pilots Rumor Network:

Any way you look at this incident, it is dumb and stupid. It gives us all a black eye. Rats. Jinx300

Now all the security folks and others are going to want to smell our breath. And all the jokes from the pax [passengers]: Good morning, cap, are ya sober yet, or should we come back later?
Ha ha. TowerDog

Yesterday [a co-pilot] told me that if a passenger walks by us on the plane or during boarding and makes a wisecrack about drinking . . . he will offer to prove his innocence, which would
probably result in a serious delay [for a Breathalyzer test]. I won't hesitate to respond in the same way. . . .

Such comments often come from nervous fliers. Two well-known TV comedians . . . who have been known to beat this topic to death are known to be very nervous fliers. Go ahead, make my
day! Ignition Override

copyright, New York Times
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 00:59
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airrage I do not disagree with what you have written above. Clearly any pilot is unaceptably far out of line when they show up for duty with any degree of incapacitation, from alcohol or otherwise, with 'incapacitation' being clerly defined by the applicable legal minimums and standards.

A problem that likely is not much appreciated by some who cruise these pages is that pilots under some flags are in jeopardy of losing their occupation when accused of 'driving while intoxicated', 'drunk and disorderly', perhaps even 'open alcoholic beverage container in vehicle' and other potentially subjective charges. This exposure continues to exist in their private lives - even in circumstances completely disconnected from their work.

The trend to further narrow intox limits and amplify this jeopardy seems especially pronounced in Oz and in the U.S., on the somewhat inflexible and overreaching theory that even marginally improper conduct in the private portion of a person's life imputes the likelihood - or probability - of intent to do same in the practice of his or her profession.

This non-duty category of circumstances creates a large exposure to harassment and / or simple error by authorities of small competence in circumstances not in any way connected with aviation.
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 02:58
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Don't think the stress associated with a modern days jet pilot's life justifies what these 2 clowns did..!

I have felt some of the "stress" over the years, unemployed, new jobs, good times, bad times, etc.

After 17 flying jobs since 1978 I still remembered, during my night-stops, to slow down the booze intake enough so that I would function the next day. (And be legal to operate)

Come on guys, this is not rocket science, just common sense.
And that is what they pay us for......
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 03:32
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The judge that sentenced the NWA crew stated that they had reached the American Dream of being successful and well compensated. They forfeited that dream when they moved that 727. So did the AWA crew. What a pity.
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 06:54
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The fact of the matter stands. These two professionals were caught, apprehended and charged with being being under the influence. We can argue the why's and wherefores forever.

To most of us, this type of behavior is deplorable and puts a tarnish on what should be, a set of shiny wings. We can sit and criticize the system and point fingers at the accused.

What many of us don't hear or see, are the many pilots and co-workers who have benefited from a caring Employee Assistance Program. They are the lucky ones who have either come with their own free will or have been intervened upon to deal with their alcohol or drug dependance problem through a structured assesment, treatment and follow up system. They indeed are fortunate, back at work today because they benefitted from a system that helped them, and in most cases..no one knows except their families and EAP workers.

Alcohol and drug dependance is at best, a thorny issue. It crosses paths of family, work, economic, and social life. Many see that any effort to interfere with one's drinking only serves to mess up a friend's social life, so to the uneducated or unwary, they tend to back off, for fear of reprisal, thus allowing the problems to continue.

Doubtless if there had been a system in place for these fellows, a safe place for them to go to, the results could have been different.

Alcholism is a diagnosable, treatable disease. It is progressive, chronice and eventually will lead to premature death. Given that kind of information, someone who is ill, either faces the disease and begins treatment or denies that it exists and faces the consequence of their action or inaction.

Having worked in peer group EAPs for years, my heart can only go out to these fellows. If there had been a system in place for them that made it "OK" to 'come in', doubtless we wouldn't be sitting here talking about their misfortunes.

Yes, it is wrong for them to have gone to work in the condition that they were in and at a time like this, yes it is worth the time to offer them a hand and hope that they can find help. They doubtless have wives and family to look after too.

The rules and regulations are there for a purpose. They are designed to protect those who either work or fly on our system. That can't be changed. If the rules and regulations are a problem to the social atmosphere, then there can be two pathways...suffer the consequences as did our colleagues or seek help now while help is available.
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 10:31
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"Don't think the stress associated with a modern days jet pilot's life justifies what these 2 clowns did..! "

Neither do I, if you read my post, I said, "stress....... all contributed to events" followed by "I don't condone their actions but I'm not willing to participate in the lynching. "
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 11:09
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Does anyone know of the relationship between the Cap & FO. ie. were they mates of old, what was the age difference, etc. Or is there any info of exactly what they got up to the previous night?
My point being what happened to CRM or watching each others six. I have often been down route with someone who likes to imbibe in the odd refreshment and while it is easy to get caught up the "vortex" of a party with the whole crew it is different if there are only two of you. I will always try to slow the pace or remind surreptitously of the report time if the pace is too fast or high. Ulimately if someone won't take the hint I will be blunt but you can only go so far irrespective of your position (Cap or FO) If to no avail I will remove myself when I see fit and be extra vigilant the following day had my counterpart remained. But as you can imagine that in itself can open a whole new can of worms!!
Airrage excellent posting IMO
Common Sense should prevail and if you need to err make sure its on the correct side of the drag curve. If not - we are all big boys & girls and know the consequences - No excuses
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 13:08
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Arcniz, of course I don't advocate driving while lubricated... I respect what you say, but I think you take me a little too seriously.

I was merely trying to make the point that getting involved in a rumpus with security over a coffee is probably one of the silliest things one could do, if one had already made the decision to drive while over the limit.

(Based on the assumption that the perpetrator of an illegal act seeks NOT to be caught and punished for that act.)

To me, it's like driving your car drunk at night and not putting your lights on; you increase your chances of getting busted which is--moral issues aside--totally illogical.

Of course, booze and bad judgement make excellent bedfellows.

I wonder whether the episode with security would ever have played out as it did, if the pilots had been well-rested and not in the condition they were. I suspect not.


Note to journos: I ain't a pilot, nor do I play one on TV.
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 16:37
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No Second Chance?

GrandPrix, as to your earlier conclusions made above: the NWA captain was "rehabilitated" and in fact had retired as a 74 skipper. (It's the kind of stuff the public doesn't hear about)>
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Old 8th Jul 2002, 21:35
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Right on 777AV8R

Good EAPs in fact save companies (and families and fellow-workers) a lot of money and headeaches - which is why so many of the biggies have 'em. Substance abuse is a fact of life today and the sensible thing is catch valuable employees before they get near the plughole, let alone down the drain.

In my experience most EAP assisted personnel get better, continue working (often after a short break) and become productive, motivated people with better than average performance records.

Did America West have one? If it did, then perhaps it needs an overhaul.
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Old 9th Jul 2002, 05:27
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You are so right, Mac.

There are many excellent follow-up studies on fellow employees who have been through assisted rehabilitation programs. You are correct in that those who have gone through a program come back to be more productive and better employees. In fact, these fortunate people end up being at the 'top of the heap'.

A good EAP shields the individual from the co workers and in my experience, when an individual went off sick for rehabilitation purposes, the individual was always have thought to have moved to another base as nobody really knew where he / she was. When we were able to look after our colleague like that and watch them successfully go through rehabilitation and no one really knew what was going on, we considered that we had done our job.

As for the AW system, I am not familiar enough with their operation to know if they have an EAP.
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Old 10th Jul 2002, 04:33
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Exclamation Booze 'joke' gets passenger thrown off


Nowack said the crew decided to take the woman off the aircraft after determining that her remarks constituted a potential security problem.
Hmm. A tad OTT wouldn't you say ?
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Old 10th Jul 2002, 04:47
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Glue Ball:

Yes, do remember the NW captain that had 19 rum n'cokes the night before he went flying.
Also remember the crying story he wrote in the ALPA magazine.

Guess it worked, he got the job back after 5 years or so, thanks to ALPA and the crying job..

We all have a seniority number, we are all thirsty, and we all make our priorities.

Not rocket science here guys....: We all have enough days off at home to get drunk, why do it on the road??
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Old 10th Jul 2002, 08:50
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America West "Customer Service"

Hmm. A tad OTT wouldn't you say ?

America West were the outfit that won a "worst customer service' award" a few years back.

They had a contract to fly a baseball team around, but one day the team plane was grounded leaving them stuck in Phoenix. America West didn't have a spare plane on the ground, but there were plenty in the air, so they brought a plane which was in flight back to the airport. They chucked all the passengers off, loaded it up with the baseball team, and off they went!

Lets hope the lady gets a grovelling apology and loads on free flights on Southwest
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Old 10th Jul 2002, 16:52
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Excellent synopsis Saturn V...

Thanks for the history of the relationship between drinking and aviatiors. Until this unfortunate incident, I used to maintain that you "never trust a pilot who doesn't drink--unless he's in rehab."

We all know our limits. Most of us know we have exceeded our limits at one time or another. Incidents like these are like the gentle reminder of a baseball bat to the head--this ain't the old days. Everyone is watching us(for various reasons) and we are occasionally our own worst enemy.

Ignition Override echoed my thoughts this past week. I told my wife that if anyone made a crack about my state of sobriety, it's off to the D & A test site--at a leisurely pace. If you continue the flight after someone makes a comment like that, you are opening yourself up to problems later.

Don't drink and drive and for heaven's sake don't get into a pissing contest with security or the agents! TC
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Old 10th Jul 2002, 17:29
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I had an F/E show up for a trip once who seemed a bit drunk to me. He was a good man that I knew for some time.

I told him to fein a sudden illness, and get lost. He called Crew Sched. and did just that. Had he not, I would have had to have him checked for sobriety, and it probably would have been the end of him.

I got a new F/E and we experienced a 30 minute daly.

The next time I flew with him, he thanked me.
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Old 11th Jul 2002, 05:52
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> Ignition Override echoed my thoughts this past week. I told
> my wife that if anyone made a crack about my state of sobriety,
> it's off to the D & A test site--at a leisurely pace. If you continue
> the flight after someone makes a comment like that, you are
> opening yourself up to problems later.

Hmmm... where would this end... Guess if comments that you
can't see, gotta go for a vision test.
They say you can't fly, a flight test, bad english - that's
another test. Can't allow passengers to make any
critical comments can you... gimme a break!

Someone on America West made a silly comment, and that's
all it was. Those on the plane that work for America West
are a bunch of cry babies. The comment (a
question actually) had no implications for security.

The people who they should check for sobriety - are those
passengers not up to figuring out that America West is
the real joke.
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Old 11th Jul 2002, 06:57
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Pax: "Have you given the pilot a breathalyzer test, ha ha ?"

FA: "Yes ma'am, we have"

No story. Non-event. Life moves on.
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Old 11th Jul 2002, 07:25
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Can you imagine....now these guys want pistols.
Will Captain Wyatt Earp please report to the dispatch for testing?

Guns and booze...a BAD combination.
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