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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

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America West crew arrested @ MIA (Update - Sentences)

Old 24th May 2005, 10:35
  #121 (permalink)  
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Just a few more obvious questions to be asked of the defence: like for instance, who signed for the aircraft, exactly, i.e. who was officially in command? The tug driver? (or should it be tug pilot?)

If the pilots were not operating the aircraft, who started the engines?

Does the connection of the tug disable the aircraft brakes? (Surely, the crew must still have just a teensy-weensy bit of direct control remaining?)

Perhaps the crew should have remembered the last ditch line of defence - if you must drink and drive/fly, don't breathe.
 
Old 26th May 2005, 20:17
  #122 (permalink)  

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So finally it has happened in the States too. Judging by the noms de plume most of the contributors are American citizens. There have been quite a few of these incidents in Europe over the past couple of years - all documented on PPrune.

I have to say that the overwhelming condemnation by the contributors makes a refreshing contrast to the excuses and sympathies shown by their colleagues from Europe.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:38
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Lets be honest guys. The point here to prove is were they drunk or not. The rest of the techniclities managed by lawyers become a slap in the face depending were someone stands. What do I mean?
Rights , rule of law , article x , plea guity in order to be "forgiven" and get a lesser penalty ..."mmm actualy they were not driving,,,, aaaa is like a video game...."and the list could go forever. Is like the cop shutting someone if he feels his live is in danger if a guy pulls a gun out. The crook do not need to fire at all.
Today all this "guardians of the abused" are in favor of all this smart ways to get around, but if tomorrow someone else kills one of their family members for sure all this smart ways wont be valid anymore.
Doble standars cannot be there to use them anytime it pleases us. So, did they drink ? Yes. Did they were going to fly? Yes. Did they had pax on board? Yes. Do they deserve to be treated and help them recover from this sickness? Yes. Do they need to be punished? Yes.
Doble standards? Ok, goverments from around the world do not forget that doctors, nurses, and so many involved in the health industry kill MANY MORE and very few is known about it. Every hospital, surgery room should also have its "black box".
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:58
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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The whole defense IMHO is preposterous..the crew tested over the limit, signed a dispatch release, accepted an aircraft, and were pushing back with the intent to fly to their destination....these futile exercises in semantics by the defense are ridiculous, and a last ditch effort to get these guys out of something they deserve to be knee deep in...hope the jury has at least a modicum of common sense and convicts them....
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Old 28th May 2005, 09:55
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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Miami-Dade Officers: Pilots Smelled Of Alcohol, Failed DUI Test

POSTED: 8:43 am EDT May 27, 2005
UPDATED: 9:01 am EDT May 27, 2005

MIAMI -- A veteran Miami-Dade County Police sergeant testified Thursday that hours after two America West pilots left a sports bar from a night of drinking, they were still "impaired to the extent that they could not safely operate a vehicle."

Under Florida law, an airplane is classified as a vehicle.

Sgt. Steven Leibowitz said he tested pilot Thomas Cloyd and co-pilot Christopher Hughes after their plane was ordered back to its gate at Miami International Airport before it could take off for Phoenix.

Leibowitz said he tested the two and judged the alcohol level for both to be at 0.10. Florida's legal limit for driving is 0.08.

He said he was called to the America West gate at about 10:30 a.m. on July 1, 2002, and gave the test between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Earlier testimony showed the pilots left the bar in the trendy Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami at about 4:40 a.m.

Normally, Leibowitz testified, he would have had them perform three actions for a DUI test: walk a straight line and turn, stand on one leg, and follow his finger with their eyes.

But he could only perform the vision test because "you have to have flat, dry, hard ground to do the straight line and leg stand exercises," and the concourse was carpeted and it was raining outside.

He said neither man could follow his finger from left to right and back with their eyes moving in a smooth path. He said a nationally accepted mathematical formula equates the eye test with an alcohol level in the body, and based on that, the "alcohol level approximated 0.10" for each man.

Leibowitz will be cross-examined by defense lawyers when the trial resumes Tuesday.

Earlier, former officer John Methvin testified that the pilots smelled like alcohol when they left their cockpit.

"The captain exited the plane and asked me, 'Why was my plane being pulled back?' ... He appeared slightly agitated," Methvin testified. "I noticed alcohol on his breath."

Methvin also said he noticed alcohol on Hughes' breath, and said his eyes were bloodshot. He said he stopped Cloyd from getting back on the plane until it could be determined whether he was impaired.

On cross examination, Methvin acknowleged that neither Cloyd nor Hughes had slurred speech or stumbled when they walked.

The airline was towed back to the terminal after airport security workers reported noticing a strong odor of alcohol as the pilots boarded.

Cloyd and Hughes each face up to five years in prison if convicted and have already lost their commercial pilots' licenses.

Their attorneys said last week during opening statements that the pilots were not impaired and, besides, the steering was disengaged from the cockpit and neither pilot could actually operate the plane as it was being towed away from the gate.

The plane had 124 passengers and three flight attendants on board.

Prosecutors say that between them, Cloyd and Hughes ran up a $122 tab and consumed seven 34-ounce glasses and seven 16-ounce glasses of beer over a six-hour period at popular bar. At dinner before that, they consumed wine and Cloyd drank a martini.

The revelry ended about six hours before the flight was to depart. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit commercial pilots from flying within eight hours of consuming alcohol.

On Wednesday a bartender and a videotape took center stage at the trial of two former America West pilots accused of trying to fly drunk.

The jury watched nearly two hours worth of surveillance video in which Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes are seen playing pool and drinking at Mr. Moe's in Coconut Grove bar. That was just hours before their scheduled flight from Miami to Phoenix in July 2002.

http://www.local10.com/news/4539317/detail.html
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Old 28th May 2005, 11:33
  #126 (permalink)  
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I found a clever spreadsheet that can calculate your BAC (blood alcohol content), and work it out how it drops off over time. Not sure how accurate it is, but it seems to work for me.

I set up the NWA case mentioned by Tower Dogs (19 rum and cokes), and it's evident that one would still be drunk the next morning.

BAC calculator

Someone just needs to reprogramme it to be able to calculate in litre size steins of beer and then its sehr gut!
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Old 28th May 2005, 17:01
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Had NWA Capt on Jump Seat

We had the NWA Capt that Tower Dogs spoke of on our jump seat about 6 years ago. It was a very interesting conversation...very frank.

He stated he and his crew's actions were not defendable, and I fully agreed with that statement...still do.


The following is not intended to draw sympathy for him, but I can tell you that Tower Dog's post is very simplified.

He did hard labor in Prison...I think he said 24 months, or something like that. This was a life changing experience for both he and his family.

Then he had to re-train for and pass his Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, and ATP check-rides all over again...one at a time.

Then he had to try to get his job back. When he did, he had to try to figure out how to manage working with many that felt he knocked the profession back decades (as I believe he did).

No intention of drawing sympathy, but it was not simply having ALPA fight for his job back while sunning by his backyard pool.
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Old 29th May 2005, 23:42
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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The jury watched nearly two hours worth of surveillance video in which Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes are seen playing pool
and no video of them clearly taking command of the plane?
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Old 31st May 2005, 07:33
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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When the crew signed a dispatch release, or any other document accepting the aircraft, they in fact took command of the flight...whether or not they were manipulating the controls is another matter...
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Old 31st May 2005, 11:38
  #130 (permalink)  
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fish

hobie asked:
How do these levels compare to the U.K. ?
The Eueropean level is 0.02 for aircrew, including cabin crew, and 0.08 for ground engineers
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Old 31st May 2005, 11:48
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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0.02 for cabin crew? You must be joking,having seen them stagger in at 7am in a south american destination then supposedly operate at 5pm.Then again they are only on their
feet for less than 2 hours and its into the comfy sack.
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Old 2nd Jun 2005, 19:43
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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Pilots 'operate' plane even on ground, AmWest exec testifies

Associated Press
May. 31, 2005 06:11 PM

MIAMI - A veteran pilot testified Tuesday that two pilots accused of being drunk while operating an America West passenger plane at Miami International Airport were technically operating the plane even if it was still on the ground.

Called by prosecutors, Capt. Joseph Chronic, vice president for flight operations for America West, struck at a key part of the defense's strategy in describing at length what the airline requires a pilot and co-pilot to do to prepare a plane for flight.

Defense lawyers for pilot Thomas Cloyd of Peoria, Ariz., and co-pilot Christopher Hughes, of Leander, Texas, had argued that that the pilots were not impaired. They also said the steering was disengaged from the cockpit and neither pilot could actually operate the plane as it was being tugged toward or away from the runway.

Chronic said that pilots are considered to be operating the aircraft even during their walk-around inspection of the plane and their preflight checks in the cockpit.

"During the preflight checks they were operating the plane," said Chronic, who has been with America West for 4 1/2 years and has worked as a commercial pilot for 33 years.

Last week, Miami-Dade Sgt. Steven Leibowitz said he tested both pilots after their plane was ordered back to its gate before it could take off for Phoenix on July 1, 2002.

He said he gave them the test between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Earlier testimony showed the pilots left a bar in the trendy Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami at about 4:40 a.m. after a night of drinking.

Leibowitz said he judged the alcohol level for both to be at 0.10. Florida's legal limit for driving is 0.08.

Tuesday, Leibowitz was asked by the defense why the pilots were not handcuffed after the tests.

"They weren't handcuffed because people didn't need to see two pilots walking the steep stairs handcuffed," Leibowitz said. "It was more important for public safety that they not see two pilots in handcuffs."...

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articl...lots31-ON.html

_____________________________________________

Posted on Thu, Jun. 02, 2005

Officer: Pilot admitted to drinking

By ADRIAN SAINZ

The Associated Press

A police officer testified Wednesday that a pilot accused of being drunk while operating an America West passenger jet told him during a breath test that he had had ''too many'' drinks the night before the flight to Phoenix was to take off.

Pilot Thomas Cloyd and co-pilot and co-defendant Christopher Hughes were polite and cooperative but had reddened faces and bloodshot eyes during the test at Miami International Airport on July 1, 2002, said Miami-Dade County Police Officer Harold Ruffner.

And, contradicting a defense strategy, Ruffner said both pilots acknowledged that they were ''operating'' the Airbus, which was ordered back to the terminal after being towed part of the way out so it could get into position for take off.

Defense attorneys have argued in nine days of testimony that Cloyd and Hughes were not impaired and that the pilots were not operating the plane anyway because the steering was disengaged from the cockpit as it was being tugged toward or away from the runway.

The pilots were arrested after a DUI vision test by another officer, and Ruffner testified that they were taken to a nearby police station where he administered the breath test. Cloyd breathed 0.091 and 0.090 during his, and Hughes 0.084 and 0.081 on his, Ruffner said. Florida's legal limit for DUI is 0.08.

Ruffner said he asked Cloyd how many drinks he had consumed.

''He said he had too many,'' Ruffner said, noting that the smell of alcohol was ``present and detectable.''

Ruffner said Hughes responded ''many'' to the consumption question, and both pilots then acknowledged they were operating the plane as it was being towed...

...Defense attorney Daniel Foodman presented evidence showing that the machine used for the breath test was eight years old and he called it ''outdated.'' Ruffner acknowledged that there have been improvements in breath test technology since the machine was put in use but said there was no reason to question it.

Ruffner also testified that neither Cloyd nor Hughes had slurred speech or showed problems walking or standing.

Earlier Wednesday, the defense hammered away at Capt. Joseph Chronic, vice president for flight operations for America West, on the issue of whether the pilots were actually operating the plane.

For the second day, Chronic testified that the pilots were technically operating the plane even if it was still on the ground and being towed to the runway. He said pilots assume operational control during their preflight checks.

But on cross examination he did acknowledge that the pilots were not in ''physical control'' of the plane when it was being towed.

''The tug driver would be steering the airplane at that point,'' Chronic said.

Prosecutor Armando Hernandez questioned Chronic again, and Chronic testified that the ''physical act of the captain releasing the parking brake is operating'' the aircraft and the fact that it was being towed was ``irrelevant.''

''The intent was to fly from Miami to Phoenix,'' Chronic said...


http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/11791284.htm
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Old 8th Jun 2005, 01:45
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Jury deliberations begin in Miami drinking trial of America West pilots

By Curt Anderson
June 7, 2005

Jurors in the trial of two America West pilots accused of being drunk in the cockpit began deliberations Tuesday after a prosecutor called the defendants "stumbling, fumbling" drunks who put passengers in grave danger.

"Last call to these two defendants meant one more round at 4:15 in the morning, even though they had a flight," said Assistant State Attorney Deisy Rodriguez.

She said pilot Thomas Cloyd and co-pilot Christopher Hughes "demonstrated careless and reckless behavior by getting into that cockpit under the influence of alcohol."

Defense lawyers said testimony showed neither pilot was visibly intoxicated and that they were not in control of the aircraft when airport police ordered it back to the terminal because it was being pushed by a tug at the time.

"Flight doesn't occur until the plane begins to move under it's own power," said Daniel Foodman, Cloyd's attorney. "Nobody was in danger, nobody testified Mr. Cloyd did anything wrong in that cockpit."

After about two hours of deliberation, the six-man jury recessed until Wednesday morning.

Cloyd of Peoria, Ariz., and Hughes of Leander, Texas, face up to five years in state prison if convicted of operating an aircraft while intoxicated, although under sentencing guidelines they would probably get lighter sentences...


...Neither pilot testified. Hughes' attorney, James Rubin, argued that prosecutors had not proven their case and that, even if the pilots had been drinking the night before, they exhibited no signs of drunkenness.

"There was no untoward sign of impairment," Rubin said in closing arguments. "They appeared to be acting in a normal fashion."

Central to the defense is whether the two pilots were legally operating the Airbus 319 jetliner. Rubin urged jurors to remember that the plane was being towed by a tug at the time, with its main engines off and neither pilot able to steer.

Rodriguez, however, cited testimony that both pilots had performed flight checks for 30 minutes before the jet was pushed away from the airport gate. When questioned by police on the day of their arrest, she said both pilots answered "yes" when asked if they had been operating an aircraft.

"They confessed, and they indicated that absolutely they were operating that aircraft," Rodriguez said.

At one point, Rodriguez placed more than a dozen beer mugs on a courtroom table, including seven 34-ounce servings, to show jurors how much the pilots consumed.

"They can't hide that beer," she said.

Cloyd and Hughes were both fired by America West after their arrests and have lost their commercial pilots' licenses.

The state trial came after a lengthy legal battle over jurisdiction. A federal judge agreed with the pilots' claim that they could not be prosecuted under Florida law unless there was loss of life, injury or damage, but that ruling was reversed on appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
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Old 8th Jun 2005, 18:37
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I just heard they were both found guilty.

Court TV link
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Old 8th Jun 2005, 19:18
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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Guilty Verdict For AW Pilots

The jury convened about six hours and came back with a guilty verdict for the two Pilots that were with America west.
The judge immediately revoked their bail and both men were taken into custody. Sentencing is July 20, 2005.
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Old 8th Jun 2005, 19:36
  #136 (permalink)  
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Dumb question maybe, but i'll ask it......

if these two had made it through the pushback and out to the runway......what in your professional opinion would have been the result?

(please spare me the smart comments folks as my replies have already had me banned before and i just can't resist answering back so please help me to help myself!)

Was there a reasonable chance of an uneventful flight, or would they definitely have crashed the airplane?
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Old 8th Jun 2005, 20:00
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No, they would not "definitely have crashed the airplane".

To put things in perspective:
Florida's legal breath alcohol limit is 0.08
Cloyd's breath-test reading was 0.091 and Hughes 0.084.
Only fractionally over the legal limit - and obviously not 'drunk' in the ordinary meaning of the word.

Professional pilots here are far better qualified than me to comment upon whether there's a "reasonable chance of an uneventful flight." FWIW, I think there's an extremely good chance the flight would have been uneventful.

That, of course, isn't the point. Impairment isn't the test in America and, since last year, is no longer the only test in the UK.
I think, without looking it up, that the FAA maximum for pilots is 0.04. The trial proceeded on the state standard, not the FAR standard, because the case was tried in a state, not Federal, court.

____________________


Interesting that this is yet another example of everything stemming from a disagreement with a security man.
On this occasion, it was about whether one of the pilots should be allowed to take his coffee airside. It seems he didn't take well to being prevented from doing so and, although he eventually agreed to discard it, a 'suspected alcohol' report was made to the police. The rest, as they say, is history. The only remaining question is how long the inevitable prison sentences will be.
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Old 9th Jun 2005, 00:31
  #138 (permalink)  

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I cannot recall a SINGLE RECORDED INCIDENT in the entire history of commercial aviation where alcohol intoxication was cited as a factor. In other words, the proverbial three-fifths of ****-all would have happened had they been allowed to continue - unlike drink-driving, which accounts for hundreds of thousands of road deaths every year worldwide.

I am aware, however, that that is not the point, and they attempted to operate their aircraft in an unlawful state of 'intoxication', before the scaremongers start kicking off.

16B
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Old 9th Jun 2005, 03:08
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Over the limit

Someone already mentioned the Nortwest 727 crew that flew drunk from Fargo to Minneapolis. Uneventful flight, but they were drunker than the AWA guys. So, it is not an automatic accident when the crew is drunk.

I personally believe it is unforgivable to show up toasted to fly. Passengers need to respect us as a profession, but every time this things happen unrepairable harm is done.

I love beer, but I love flying more. It is not that hard of a decision to stay away from it when I am working.

As a side note, body size has little to do with how much you can drink. I have friends that are small that can drink my arse under the table.( I am 230 lbs and feel the effects of 3 beers)

Cheers, with responsibility.
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Old 9th Jun 2005, 08:54
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I think 16 Blades needs to look through the FAA files wherein he will find fairly comprehensive reports in which Drink or Drugs are part of the attributable causes for accidents. Almost inevitably these were fatal accidents and the evidence was provided in the toxicology reports after post mortem examinations. It is true that most of these accidents involved smaller aircraft but the evidence is there.
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