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FO removed from BA Flight

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FO removed from BA Flight

Old 20th Jan 2018, 15:52
  #41 (permalink)  
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It wasn't the CC that reported him according to a mate at BA. An engineer apparently
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 15:52
  #42 (permalink)  

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Secondary marijuana can have an effect too. We were checking out of the hotel in Amsterdam, and the F.O. said he didn't feel well. He looked to be out of it. We went back to the corridor where his allocated room had been, and the smell was quite pervasive. Someone in another room had obviously been smoking a lot of the stuff. The F.O. called in sick. Luckily there was a standby available and the delay wasn't too long. The company read the riot act to the hotel.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:22
  #43 (permalink)  
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Facts are missing and it could indeed be ketosis that created the suspicion.

Regarding some of the comments on here, I am a big believer in giving a pilot a chance to get well through a comprehensive treatment program like the one ALPA administers. However, the notion of quietly sending a colleague off the aircraft because they’re under the influence is dangerous, IMO. Anyone who’d take it all the way to getting on board is demonstrating a wreckless disregard for safety and deserves the embarrassment of an arrest. Maybe, just maybe, that act would be the rock bottom wake up call they need to get help.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:27
  #44 (permalink)  
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Exactly. Call in sick and explain you have an issue. The company will provide the support for you to get better.

Report unfit to fly and you deserve to get the book thrown at you. This ‘engineer’ that supposedly reported him - could’ve been the dispatcher?
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:29
  #45 (permalink)  
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why didn't the CC/engineer/red cap whoever called 999 speak to the skipper first in private ?
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:30
  #46 (permalink)  
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Gardez les cameras

Reminds me of another occasion I was privy to, but thankfully not involved in. Crew assemble in hotel lobby, where it becomes apparent FO is pushing his alcoholic luck. Captain instructs him to report sick with food poisoning immediately and a replacement is fairly quickly found. All is well until the next day when hotel manager phones company to say his hotel does not poison guests, and that the lobby CCTV recording is available if requested!
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:31
  #47 (permalink)  
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I think we all understand the world works a lot differently these days compared with 20 plus years ago. I was told something that sticks in my mind, “we’re only as safe as our last flight”

At briefing this should have been discovered, it must have been noticeable. what action taken there is with the Cpt/crew on the day....

If the crew are worried they have every right to speak up...we
Must all learn to keep our discipline and standards as no one else will look after our careers.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 16:36
  #48 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
The fact the police have kept him in suggests he has failed a test

From the BBC

A 49-year-old man from west London has been arrested and remains in police custody, Sussex Police said. The man, from Harmondsworth, West Drayton, has been arrested on suspicion of performing an aviation function when the level of alcohol was over the prescribed limit.
To my understanding is that could have been that his breath smelled or a number of other reasons for suspecting he may have been drinking.

All very well to discuss what our hypothetical course of action would be, but if there is no evidence yet that the FO in question really was over the limit, best to wait for the proof to emerge.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 17:09
  #49 (permalink)  
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Only a constable in uniform can request a breath/urine/blood sample.

I think we’ll find that this is not as sensational as the media is making it to be.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 18:12
  #50 (permalink)  
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Saw a programme on the superefficient Japanese rail system
When the drivers clock into work they go through a security gate
Along that stretch is a device which they blow into taking less than a minute to check they are alcohol free for duty

I am surprised a similar check isn’t made at airports
A lot is saving pilots from themselves and hence their careers
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 18:40
  #51 (permalink)  
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Some of us blow every time we report for duty be it at base or down route.

Personally as a Captain I like it because it removes all the nonsense out of having to have a opinion and everyone knows the rules.

Blow more than zero you are off to the doctor for a blood check and if your over the EASA limit you are sacked. Under it but still registering your off the flight anyway but not sacked.

End of.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 18:47
  #52 (permalink)  
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One other (pure) speculation on the unknown facts is that this may not have been the first time.

If prior incident(s) had been resolved by "reported to captain quitely sent home sick" could be that this time whomever reported this had lost faith/patience.

Anyone with knowledge of the realities of severe alcoholism knows that there is a fine line between compassion and enabling that will be exploited by the alcoholic.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 19:38
  #53 (permalink)  
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Indian rules for alcohol checks

Originally Posted by Pace View Post
Saw a programme on the superefficient Japanese rail system
When the drivers clock into work they go through a security gate
Along that stretch is a device which they blow into taking less than a minute to check they are alcohol free for duty

I am surprised a similar check isn’t made at airports
A lot is saving pilots from themselves and hence their careers
In India, all crew members are checked for alcohol when they check in. This is a legal requirement specified by the Indian DGCA
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 21:12
  #54 (permalink)  
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In the 70s or early 80s a 747 rolled onto its back after take off in ANC iirc..captain was that drunk that he had to be helped up the steps. Ground crew and Fo weren't allowed to question the captain in those days..company made breath tests mandatory.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 21:27
  #55 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Vasco dePilot View Post
In India, all crew members are checked for alcohol when they check in. This is a legal requirement specified by the Indian DGCA
And we have all heard how well things work in India...
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 21:54
  #56 (permalink)  
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I know of a crew reported for smelling of alcohol seconds after both of them had used alcohol-based sterile wipes to wipe down the headsets during cockpit prep...
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 22:48
  #57 (permalink)  
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A subject close to my heart.

Over half a lifetime ago I repeatedly reported a captain for alcohol issues and generally bizarre behaviour. Promises were made by the senior training staff in the independent airline I worked for but nothing was done. People listened, and then did nothing.

What was all the more bewildering was that I was some sort of training FO, one of only two that was allowed to fly with new captains after their line checks.

This very sick man would consume a double-double of whisky while taxiing in, wobbling near to the edge of the concrete and refusing to let me take over. He bullied his way through his days with a bluster that was, I thought, only seen in films.

When I finally said enough was enough, I was shouted at and told to get a QC to represent me in high court if I insisted upon repeating anything like that. I walked out of the best job I'd ever had using my leave as notice period.

By the strangest of chances, many years later I was introduced to the sick captain's old boss in what was to become BA, in a garden party in my home town in Essex. When I asked if he knew the person involved he looked taken-aback and asked how I knew him. When I told him, he said, 'you cannot tell me that man flew again!!!' The conversation went into some detail. It seems some sort of agreement was reached and the 'sick' aircrew left to work for his son, outside of aviation. At some point he decided to fly again, on a licence he still held.

Nice as his old boss had seemed, I sit here thinking just how different my life would have been if that sick soul's licence had been revoked. I also wonder why I'd buckled under the strain. It was not in my nature, but it had been months and months of insanity and the same time of promises that things would be put right.

The greatest regret of my life is buckling at that moment with my boss.

No one cared the subject reeked of alcohol after a flight. Okay it seems because it was after and not before. No one knew enough perhaps about brain damage and alcohol-induced psychosis - and the word psychosis was used in that later conversation. They know now, but this was then.

Now, I'd have called the CAA, or the police, or both, but things were so different then - it's hard to imagine just how different - and somehow I'd just lost the steam I needed to do battle. Perhaps it was months of things like starting the engines with the passengers on the ventral stairs - inches from the engines - and no brakes on, and no start-up clearance. Or taking off with . . . I'll leave that for now. Just a last few straws of many, many dozens of smaller items I'd filed. Many of the 'smaller' incidents would be international news now.

Things are better now. Hugely so, but alcohol is still addictive, and is still a relaxant after a trying duty period. All too nice to feel that chemistry flow in.

It's vital flights are not operated with intoxicated crew. Of course it is, but there are other dangers, dangers more subtle and far-reaching. Richard Feynman gave up drinking 'Because I wanted to think.' He wasn't mistaken - even back then it was known what alcohol could do to the brain.

Under the glass of a coffee table in the waiting area of the Prade St CAA medical centre were some photos of pilot's brain slices. Old fashioned X rays, but very, very clear in their message. The shrunken black edges to the contours of the cortex were horrific, so much so, that anyone seeing them should have been profoundly affected. Yet, as we all know, the message is there, yet we mostly don't choose to see it.

Last edited by Loose rivets; 20th Jan 2018 at 23:03.
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Old 20th Jan 2018, 23:48
  #58 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by clareprop View Post
Indeed. The proper action is 'go home..you are very ill'. Then call them in ill. Then afterwards, go round and read the riot act to them.
If you follow this course of action he absolutely will fly again impaired and more than likely lose his job. If you want to do the right thing for him and his family he has to get treatment.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 01:55
  #59 (permalink)  
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Handled Very Badly

A couple of points:

A number of years ago a pilot with a UK airline had a similar situation where a cabin crew member thought she could smell alcohol on his breath. On that occasion it was well handled and he was politely asked to leave the flight deck for a test. He was completely sober and in fact a tee totaller. Turned out he was on a low or no carb diet which produces a condition known as ketosis. It simply means you have either been having no carbs or too much alcohol. A breathalyser resolved the situation but that pilot was subjected to a lot of abuse until his name was cleared.

In the case of this BA pilot if he is still in lock up then probably he failed the test, but the point is that taking him off by armed Police could have been a gross injustice.

Second point:

The captain on the BA flight can also be in trouble if it is determined that he was willing to get airborne knowing his F/O was unfit to fly. Sorry but the days of covering for crew members with regard to alcohol and drugs are over. No place on the flight deck for this sort of behaviour.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 02:10
  #60 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
" Fasting and flying is very common in the Middle East."

and there is no need for it

There are specific exemptions in the Koran & Hadith including travel, anything related to the safety & welfare of others, warfare, menstruation, severe illness, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. ] Those who are unable to fast still must make up the days missed late
I am shocked that fasting, and the consequent effect on blood sugar levels leading to impoverished judgement , is common amongst flight crew. Is superstitious irrational belief more important than safety?
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