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BA pilot sacked for snorting coke from, err, well...and then trying to fly home.

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BA pilot sacked for snorting coke from, err, well...and then trying to fly home.

Old 28th Sep 2023, 18:56
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Originally Posted by tdracer
the other leaves you totally wired for many hours, then lets you down with a resounding crash.
More like 20-30 minutes...an hour at the most if you have no previous experience, are you at your best afterwards,? No of course not, but coke that gets you high for many hours is an impossible boast of many a dodgy dealer, so unless the poor fool was doing it in the briefing room, he was likely impaired but not high. Still obviously unacceptable.
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Old 28th Sep 2023, 18:59
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Originally Posted by V-Jet
Two very important questions are left unanswered:
1) Where was Prince Andrew at the time?
At Pizza Express in Woking. Not sweating.
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Old 28th Sep 2023, 22:07
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Things go better with Coke, was the advertising jingle from the70’s!

Obviously the man got his liquids mixed up with his powders.
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Old 28th Sep 2023, 22:18
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Originally Posted by Stuart Sutcliffe
At Pizza Express in Woking. Not sweating.
I was wrong to forget Harry and Trump - but that comment is gold
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Old 28th Sep 2023, 23:03
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Originally Posted by Desertweasel
More like 20-30 minutes...an hour at the most if you have no previous experience, are you at your best afterwards,? No of course not, but coke that gets you high for many hours is an impossible boast of many a dodgy dealer, so unless the poor fool was doing it in the briefing room, he was likely impaired but not high. Still obviously unacceptable.
Certainly not my experience - after one hit I was literally up and unable to sleep all night.
Read the Trans-Colorado report - the crash occurred roughly 12 hours after he last consumed cocaine. And toxicology tests confirmed a significant presence of cocaine in his blood.
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Old 28th Sep 2023, 23:25
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Originally Posted by Atlantic Explorer
Did somebody actually just ask that question on a Professional Pilots forum?? Good grief!
your world seems to be very small.
There are many countries, where any FO is wearing 3 stripes.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 01:02
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Pilot jailed (alcoholism & pilots)
My name is Lyle Prouse and I was the infamous Northwest Airlines Captain back in March of '90 who was arrested on Northwest Flight 650 (FAR-MSP) for flying drunk, along with the copilot and second officer.

Subsequently, I was fired by NWA, stripped of my flight certificates, and lost my medical due to alcoholism. I became a national pariah, was sent to federal prison for 16 months, served 14, and went broke within 30 days of the arrest. Furthermore, the trial judge put sanctions on me to insure I'd never fly again due to my age (51 at the time).

I want to be clear about a number of things. First, I make no excuses, I accept complete responsibility, and I openly acknowledge that everything that happened to me was fair and appropriate. Period.

Having said that, let me turn to some of the comments offered by a number of pilots in this forum. Some of those comments indicate some knowledge and understanding of the subject of alcohol/alcoholism and some indicate ignorance bolstered by arrogance.

When I talk about alcoholism I separate the issues between the acts and behavior (and the consequences that flow from that) - and the disease itself.

Being an alcoholic does not relieve me of responsibility for what I do nor does it grant me any immunity or excuse anything. Anytime I commit an unlawful act, alcoholic or not, it's incumbent upon me to accept the consequences of that act.

It should be noted that while alcoholism is not an excuse for behavior it very clearly explains a lot of it in the case of the alcoholic. It might surprise some to know that since I got sober over 16 yrs ago I've never flown drunk or received a DUI... Nor have I done any of the shameful, disgraceful, offensive, and embarrassing things that drunks routinely do.

One of THE first steps of recovery demands acceptance of personal responsibility and being accountable. So the talking heads, Bill O'Reilly for one, who declare that the only reason for treating alcoholism as a disease is so those with it can escape responsibility, is absurd beyond words. Those ideas only come from non-alcoholics...in my experience.

I have been sober since the date of my arrest, over 16 years and some nine months now. I am active in recovery, speak all over the United States and Canada (for free, of course), have been involved with virtually every major airline in their alcohol programs. I am of Native American heritiage and I've spoken on reservations in the US and Canada, and at Native American sobriety conventions.

I served out my prison time, came out broke and disgraced, and eventually earned back each of the four licenses I needed, commencing with the private and doing it, quite literally, from the ground up...after the judge miraculously lifted the sanctions on me. I did it the same way I stay sober, one day at a time, one thing at a time, one step at a time, and one license at a time.

I'd never had a private license - I came out of the Marine Corps as a Vietnam vet and quickly acquired a Com'l ticket and inst rating after a quickie test...and was hired 3 weeks later by NWA (Aug '68). I had gone in as a barely 18 yr old private and I left 11 1/2 yrs later as a Captain and jet pilot with an excellent reputation.

Not quite four years after my arrest and imprisonment, the Pres/CEO of NWA, Mr. John Dasburg, personally reinstated me to full flight status at NWA. It was an act of personal courage on his part that the word "extraordinary" doesn't even begin to approach.

I retired honorably at age 60, in Sept '98, as a 747 captain, having done all I could to fully vindicate all those who had believed in me. Additionally, the tough Minnesota judge who tried and sent me to prison suggested, as I retired, that I apply for a presidential pardon and said he'd support it even tho he'd NEVER supported a petition for pardon in his 16 yrs on the bench. Two years later I rec'd a Pres Pardon - a HUGE, life altering event for a federal felon!

To one contributor who said alcoholism is a lifetime disease and implied we who are recovering are delicately balanced on the razor's edge and might relapse anytime, I say he is only partially correct. It is a lifetime disease, that's why it's called Alcohol-ISM and not Alcohol-WASM. But so is diabetes and a number of other chronic diseases. And, yes, some never make it, never recover, and never stay sober - and they die (both my parents took this disease to their graves).

But to discount the millions of us around the world who live good, productive, solid lives in recovery displays a shallow and ignorant way of thinking. And to say no alcoholic should ever be trusted in the cockpit because they might relapse is absurd. Anyone in the cockpit might keel over, have a stroke, heart attack, brain anueryism, or some other possible problem and it's nonsense thinking to make a blanket pronouncement and condemnation of everyone based on what "might" happen.

Many don't make it. But many don't survive cancer, heart disease, and other calamities of life. The airlines have THE most successful rate of alcoholism recovery among any group, virtually double the norm in the rest of our society. And they do a good job of weeding out those who will not or cannot get sober - and that's as it should be.

I'm well aware that there are those, still today, who think I should have been put against a wall and shot; and that I most certainly NEVER should have been allowed to fly again. Fortunately, I don't think that reflects most of the heart and soul of the American character who, traditionally, support and encourage the underdog and applaud comebacks.

Alcoholism is a treatable, recoverable disease. Today there are over 3500 recovering alcoholic pilots flying for airlines. One of the leading docs I know (who's worked in the aviation/alcoholism field for over 30 yrs) says, "When I get on the plane I glance in the cockpit. If it's a face I recognize, I breathe a sigh of relief. If it's one I don't...then I sit in the back and wonder."

To each his/her own. I doubt anything I've said here will change any minds and may only provoke further debate. My only purpose here is to speak the truth as I know it and do it quietly and clearly.

Being an alcoholic was something I first viewed as a disgraceful, shameful, stigmatic curse. It has evolved into the greatest thing that ever occurred to me because of what it has forced me to do. My kids won't have to watch me die a grim, lingering alcoholic death, as I had to with my parents. My life today is geared toward giving back more than I ever took, making amends where ever possible, and being constantly grateful for the joy of sobriety and the brightness of each day.

What I have expressed here today is not something unique to me. It is shared by virtually every recovering person I know. I just came home a few minutes ago from speaking in Denver last night. As is always the case, I met people who inspire me and make me glad I was forced into a program of recovery I NEVER would have willingly accepted when I was drinking.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse
Ex federal inmate 04478-041
Ret'd NWA Capt 086140
Marine Capt 086099
The very same gentleman made the following post on another forum yesterday commenting on this BA incident.
You can Google my name if you want the full story, but I was THE first airline pilot in American aviation history to go to prison for flying an airliner under the influence of alcohol Norrthwest Airlines Flight 650, Mar 8, 1990) Everything that happened to me was fair and appropriate – termination, disgrace, imprisonment, and losing everything.

I’m an alcoholic, now sober for 33 yrs, ever since my arrest on Mar 8, 1990. I retired as a 747 Capt for the same airline I disgraced even though I never fought my termination…and 8 yrs later I rec’d a Pres Pardon which was led by the judge who sent me to prison, and I never asked for that, either.

I believe in consequences – but your comment about this pilot’s “judgment” indicates a total lack of understanding about alcoholism/addiction which is a disease that directly affects judgment. It’s not possible for someone who’s impaired to understand the nature of the impairment until and unless some event occurs which forces some kind of outside intervention. Alcoholism/addiction is primarily a brain disease and I understand it well.

I have NEVER said or believed that my alcoholism is an excuse…for ANYTHING – but it IS the cause for behavior and misconduct that occurs as a result. Once it’s addressed and dealt with, however, that behavior can be changed. Over 6800 recovering airline pilots have been returned to America’s cockpits since 1973, and there has NEVER been even ONE single accident or incident involving any of them. I make NO excuses for this British Airways pilot, but IF he’s able to address his problems he can change his life; whether he gets the second chance I got is yet to be seen. But pilots, mechanics, employees of ANY kind are usually good people who should not be tossed on a scrap heap as disposable entities IF they can safely be returned to the workplace as good, decent, productive people. Some will strongly disagree with me, but I’ve lived in the world of recovery for a long time and I’ve seen the miracles, which are consistent.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 06:30
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..

Great post Megan<br />in the early days of BA we inherited a Transvestite from Cambrian who would go on drug fuelled gay binges and turn up for work in high heals. I checked in behind him in queens one day; He was wearing a navy woman’s trouser suit with a page boy haircut as my wife supported, A friend did a nightstop with him and after the crew party they broke into the hotel swimming pool which was relatively civilised affair with every one wearing swimming costumes ..he wore a polka dot bikini …those that flew with him when he wasn’t high said he flew well but a decision was made to get rid of him rather than help him and eventually they managed to fail him on the simulator.<br />In my early days we nearly crashed as the captain and probably most of the rest of the crew were still drunk from the last nights shenanigans especially the chief steward who was attempting to fly the departure in IMC - in those days it was just accepted and hidden..we had one chief steward who attempted to open the forward door in flight..was eventually put in the cockpit jump seat but on approach decided to give the captain a bear hug which ended up with the route ex captain along with P3 restraining him whilst a mate did the landing; the best bit he proved that you could land a trident and do your own throttles. The chief was sacked and died a few months later from his alcoholism, everyone new of his problem but the company never helped.<br />Never tried coke but have had family members that did; extremely difficult whilst one has got their life sorted the other nearly killed me, both had relatively privileged upbringings but social pressures led them into addictions that they couldn’t handle. One after self mutilation I tried to get help or committed - was told by the consultant psychiatrist only after three genuine suicide attempts.<br />Like alcoholics it’s often well hidden until too late.<br />

Last edited by blind pew; 1st Oct 2023 at 10:35.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 07:39
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Megan, That was a superb post.

The problem with forums like PPRuNe is that individuals on here are free to comment anonymously about issues when they do not know the facts. In the case of the BA first officer we know only what has been reported in the media - and we all know how innacurate that can be at times. In my past life, I was a flight manager and can state that we always tried to help, and have treated, a pilot who was suffering from alcoholism, and I can think of several individuals who returned to flying and finished up having successful careers.

Furthermore, I remember one such individual who was treated, recovered, was appointed a training captain and who helped us to help other pilots with alcohol problems. He was a good man and a good pilot. Without giving anything away, there were times when I personally adjusted the roster without anyone knowing so that he could fly with someone suspected of alcohol problems. This was done so that he could have the opportuity to talk with the individual concerned and discuss the help that was available.

There were other times when it was necessary to use 'tough love'. By that I mean to suspend an individual's operations certificate and take him off flying until they had completed a course of treatment and retraining. We had several successful outcomes but never talked about them. If the individual concerned wanted to talk about it, that was their prerogative. We never did.

And I know of several other airlines who had similar schemes. It can be done and was done.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 08:25
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Trust me - I know plenty about prison, drugs and alcoholism. I also believe in redemption wherever possible - something very rare in prison life. I also draw a distinction between Class A drug and alcohol misuse - as do all employers I know of. Find me a pilot with a similar story of redemption back to flight status who has been banned for Class A drug misuse on duty. I also know that taking a risk with the re-employment of someone with a drug problem is something passengers are very uncomfortable with. That, arguably, is what determines the outcome. I stand by my view that Class A drug use whilst on duty is one of the absolute deadly sins of aviation and invariably results in the end of the participant’s flying career.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 12:00
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While the drug use by this BA pilot is what concerns most people, there is a greater “crime” in my opinion. His utter lack of judgement is the egregious aspect of this incident. Think about this particular scenario, at a critical point in the evening, the Pilot had a choice to make between 2 options,

1 Snort a line of Cocaine off a strange women’s tit and enjoy a 20 minute HIGH……..

2. Excuse himself and walk away from a rapidly evolving dangerous situation.

The fact that he chose option 1 speaks volumes about his judgement and is the real “crime” of this incident. He chose to
Destroy a career, that’s taken years of hard work and dedication to achieve. Destroy a Marriage, Destroy his family, Destroy any respect he had with Co-workers, friends and family, and finally face Possible criminal charges to include Prison.


Fixed it



Last edited by Chiefttp; 4th Oct 2023 at 20:00.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 12:50
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Originally Posted by CBSITCB
The state of his necktie whilst on duty is a clue to his character. I thought the same about Boris.
calm down, Nigel
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 12:59
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Perhaps the story and the posts above miss a very important point.

According to The Sun, the pilot said: “We all walk (stagger) back up to the hotel bar for ‘one last one before bed’. Welsh and one of these guys is getting on very well, but she’s told him that I’m her boyfriend. Couple of drinks in the bar, bit of snogging, and then we’re somehow all on our way to this dude’s flat.
He's actually very fortunate to have avoided waking up in a bathtub full of ice minus a kidney ... or two
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 13:11
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I have a mate who owes a successful end to his career to Bergerie who had been sacked after a confrontation with an over zealous security guard ex RAF regiment who had been punched in the face that morning by a captain…unfortunately my mate had taken the p1ss out of the masons and rather than getting a letter on his file he was dismissed for industrial misconduct..the union got him his job back by threatening to ground the airline..and a couple of years later Bergerie kindly (and justly imho) reversed the decision that he wasn’t suitable for command.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 13:18
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Personally, I think the Pilot going to Africa to shag kids let BA down more.

If I bumped into Margot Robbie whilst drunk and she asked me if I wanted to do the same as the BA Pilot..... I'd struggle to say no, bet that's just me though.
Absolutely 100% certain I would not be stupid enough to tell CC the full details and then expect it to remain quiet.

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Old 29th Sep 2023, 13:25
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Originally Posted by Sue Vêtements
Perhaps the story and the posts above miss a very important point.



He's actually very fortunate to have avoided waking up in a bathtub full of ice minus a kidney ... or two

😊we don’t really do that😎
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 13:50
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Thank you to Capt. Prouse for providing an insight to alcoholism. Well if this (BA) guy is an alcoholic, I hope he gets some help.

However, boasting about his antics on social media does not seem to me to be the actions of an alcoholic, who I thought tended to be secretive about such things?

I agree; his lack of judgement and lack of responsible thinking while at work - given his job - is what is really worrying about this.

He is young, and a two striper, so presumably has fairly recently joined BA and would have been drug tested and screened on joining ? Developing into an alcoholic from then to now seems to be short time frame - barely time to have accumulated problems with relationships, divorce, housing etc, one might think ? - especially while he had the security of a BA job and income.

Is seems very odd to me that someone clever enough to pass an ATPL course and the British Airways pilot assessment process would almost immediately engage in such questionable behaviours and substances - and do so while actually being at work, (as opposed to privately at home). How many other young new pilots share this mindset?

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Old 29th Sep 2023, 14:53
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BP, As the HM the Queen said, "Recollections may vary".
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 16:04
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Originally Posted by Hearmenow
If I bumped into Margot Robbie whilst drunk and she asked me if I wanted to do the same as the BA Pilot..... I'd struggle to say no, bet that's just me though.
You probably are not alone.
Absolutely 100% certain I would not be stupid enough to tell CC the full details and then expect it to remain quiet.
That strikes me as this gent's second mistake. (The first was not being mindful of his duty status).
Originally Posted by Uplinker
However, boasting about his antics on social media does not seem to me to be the actions of an alcoholic, who I thought tended to be secretive about such things?
Own goal, in any event.
I agree; his lack of judgement and lack of responsible thinking while at work - given his job - is what is really worrying about this.
Indeed. The "first mistake" I allude to up there.
Is seems very odd to me that someone clever enough to pass an ATPL course and the British Airways pilot assessment process would almost immediately engage in such questionable behaviours and substances - and do so while actually being at work, (as opposed to privately at home). How many other young new pilots share this mindset?
Personnel departments in most airlines may wonder that as well.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 29th Sep 2023 at 16:24.
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Old 29th Sep 2023, 17:48
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It see to me that the attraction and allure of flying is very appealing to those of us who are 'risk takers' and have a high level of 'acceptable' risk. To be professional we have to learn how to manage the aviation risks. That can be interpreted as being risk averse. There is a theory that in such situations the personally 'acceptable' level of risk is compensated for by an increase in risky behaviour elsewhere in our lives, fast cars, fast lifestyle etc...
No excuse and should be manageable.
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