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Accused ATA Pilots Pass Alcohol Test

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Accused ATA Pilots Pass Alcohol Test

Old 7th Sep 2002, 04:21
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Accused ATA Pilots Pass Alcohol Test

Pilots cleared of drinking allegation
N.Y.-Chicago flight was delayed nearly 4 hours

By Shia Kapos
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 6, 2002, 12:24 PM CDT

An airline flight out of New York City was nearly four hours late arriving in Chicago after a federal security screener Thursday night suspected its two pilots of having alcohol on their breath.

Both pilots were cleared and were returned to their plane after they took and passed Breathalyzer tests, officials said.

The incident began when the pilots for American Trans Air Flight 205 were going through the passenger screening area at La Guardia Airport in New York, officials said. The flight, with 152 passengers, was scheduled to depart at 6:40 p.m. for San Francisco with a stopover at Midway Airport.

"At one checkpoint, a screener thought he smelled alcohol," said Lisa Jacobson Brown, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based airline. "But no one else did."

The screener's supervisor was called and also did not smell alcohol, Brown said. But at that point, the pilots requested Breathalyzer tests to prove they had not been drinking. Federal aviation regulations prohibit pilots from consuming alcohol just before a flight.

The two were transported to Kennedy International Airport because there was no Breathalyzer equipment at La Guardia, Brown said. She added, "They both took the tests, and they both came out 0.00."

"We are frustrated because it made our flight almost four hours late," Brown said. "It's upsetting that one person can falsely accuse the pilots of smelling like they had been drinking."

Thursday's incident was not the first time pilots have been accused of drinking before flying.

Last month, a Mesa Airlines pilot was fired after he tested positive for alcohol before a scheduled flight out of Little Rock, Ark. In July, a pilot on an ASA flight to Atlanta was grounded and later resigned after a security screener smelled alcohol on his breath.

Earlier that month, two America West pilots were removed from their plane after security crews suspected they had been drinking before a flight from Miami to Phoenix. Both were fired.



http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/n...i%2Dnews%2Dhed

__________________________________________________


2 Pilots at La Guardia Removed From Plane for Alcohol Testing
By TINA KELLEY


A pilot and co-pilot were ordered off their plane at La Guardia Airport last night after alcohol was smelled on their breath, a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police spokesman said last night. The pilot and co-pilot took Breathalyzer tests at a hospital, and no police action was taken against them, said the spokesman, Sgt. Eugene Leary.

"They supposedly went to the hospital voluntarily," he said.

Their plane, American Trans Air Flight 205 to Chicago, was scheduled to leave at 6:40 p.m. but was delayed by four hours, according to the airline's Web site.

The pilot and co-pilot were not visibly drunk when an ATA supervisor ordered them off the plane, Sergeant Leary said. The results of their Breathalyzer tests were not available last night, and an airline spokeswoman could not be reached late last night.

Throughout the summer, pilots have been disciplined for drinking before flying.

In July, two America West pilots taxiing for takeoff from Miami International Airport were ordered to return the plane to the terminal and were arrested on charges of operating a plane while drunk. Later that month, a co-pilot with ASA, a Delta Air Lines carrier that operates eight flights daily between Atlanta and Wilmington, N.C., was grounded after a security screener smelled alcohol on his breath and stopped him from boarding an Atlanta-bound flight. And in August, a Mesa Airlines pilot who tested positive for alcohol before a scheduled flight was fired.



http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/06/nyregion/06PILO.html
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 05:46
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Airbubba: Excellent point that you made by posting this. There might be lots of "frustrated police" and "pilot" or "FBI agent" wannabes among our airport security personnel. Maybe they should accuse four flightcrew members on two flights at the same time, in order for those bozos to see the light.

What happened to the person who made the accusation?
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 10:28
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Who would you want to write the news report about you if you were wrongly accused and found innocent? Shia Kapos or Tina Kelly? Those two articles on the same incident just go to show how the press can put totally different slants on the same story.

Shia kapos has explained the incident and highlighted the subsequent innocence of the crew whilst Tina Kelly has shown her inbred tabloid instinct of making out that the crew were guilty until proven innocent. The only difference between a journalist like Kelly and a Catfish is that one is a mud sucking bottom dweller.... the other is a fish!
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 13:05
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Time for a the ATA pilots to find good New York City Jewish Lawyer to sue the TSA workers individualy into oblivion.

Field Sobriety tests of pilots is not included in their description of duties.

My airlines ALPA council reccommends we do not take Alcohol tests voluntary, but several pilots have in similar circumstances, and I would too.

But I would remove any passenger that caused it, and have my day in court with him.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 13:13
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Could always request that the person puts his/her accusation in writing. Might give them pause for thought.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 16:27
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That is one of the best ideas I've heard; a written statement would be a persuasive document in court, would identify the accuser, and would delineate the allegation. More so, as implied, the accuser may not be so liberal in written statements as in verbal, hence the whole mess may be avoided by requesting a written statement from the accuser at the outset. Add one more item to the survival kit.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 16:51
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> Could always request that the person puts his/her accusation
> in writing. Might give them pause for thought.

Yes that will work, but why not make them bet a months pay on the outcome of the breath test? While we're at it why not apply the same sort of rule to security for pax? Might make them think twice before emptying out your hand luggage only to find nothing! yes nothing!. How dare they poke around your private things every time just for the sake of security. They need encouraging not work so hard..

Sarcasm off... No the real problem was the lack of a breath tester at the airport, this should have been over in 30 seconds and a handshake.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 19:15
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Could always request that the person puts his/her accusation in writing. Might give them pause for thought.

Yes that will work, but why not make them bet a months pay on the outcome of the breath test?

America West pilots' "accusers" should have done it and receive the "accused" yearly salaries as a bonus.

Have breathalysers installed at the airports for the pilots as a mandatory item to be cleared through security.


This way everyone is safe.



Last edited by jet_noseover; 7th Sep 2002 at 19:19.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 19:15
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Good for the ATA crew, on the other hand, we should be fair, to the TSA employee, would be interesting to know whether he/she made an honest mistake with good intentions, or was just being a jerk....we all make mistakes....wouldn't want a "New York Jewish lawyer" on my back for every one I ever made...
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 19:28
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Aw come on, Danny ... tell us how you really feel !

Actually I noticed the same differences that you did. The first article "stuck with the facts", while the second article included all sorts of dubious phrases, obviously put there to add "drama" to her article ... what a shame.
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Old 7th Sep 2002, 22:59
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For the NY Times, that's objective reporting. Is their motto still "All the news that's fit to print" or have they changed it to "All the BS we can get away with?"
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 02:45
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"Could always request that the person puts his/her accusation in writing. Might give them pause for thought".

........Most of the personnel in security here in the States would have a hard time puting anything in writing...I think most of them sign their check with an "x".

from Shore Guy...(who had to remove his shoes twice this morning, boot up the computer twice, had my entire self gone over with a chemical/exposive sniffer, and had everything in both checked and carry on inspected before boarding - three inspections prior to boarding on a domestic flight - profiled because of one way (crew de-positioning) ticket.

If I felt these procedures were truly enhancing security and reducing "the threat", I would not be so sarcastic. But security procedures in the States are absurd....anyone who has a small bit of airport knowledge can get themselves into a secure area with little/no problem. While the low/no threat passengers are going through the new rituals, (rituals that are serving to drive away the flying public in droves - the 130+ seat aircraft I finally boarded had about 25 passengers), the real bad guys are no doubt observing, laughing, and learing how to circumvent these new procedures.
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 04:21
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That is it! Demand any charges in writing, if it ever happens to us.


In Oklahoma City the other day (home to part of the FAA-"we are here to help"), there were as many personnel at security as there were passengers on the entire (short) concourse.
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 10:35
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My vote is that the Security Worker (Police Wannabe, FBI Wannabe, Detective Wannabe, FAA Inspector Wannabe) was "predisposed" to identify a pilot/s with alcohol breath.

If they tested zero, then we have to assume there was no alcohol on their breaths, or in their systems.

Therefore, the Security Worker's imagination/fantasies were out of control. Their focuses should be on the areas they were hired for, i.e. airport security.
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 11:10
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Honest mistake?

There has to be some sort of protection/comeback for pilots wrongly accused.
O.k. If an honest mistake eg not alchol but garlic.
HOWEVER if as an act of reprisal say a particular crew had had an argument with the accuser at some time?
Surely deformation of character or libel etc MUST come into play.
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 13:05
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Age,status and body language define all human interaction.By elevating the status of security personnel(underway I know),not only do we get the right people for the job(federal appointees-a lose term I know)but we can eradicate any perception of animosity or ulterior motivation between those doing the checking and those being checked.Ridge is delivering on this but more has to be done.Federal-appointees is a blanket term.It means nothing unless the perceived precautions that accompany it are indeed a reality.

Last edited by Rananim; 8th Sep 2002 at 13:33.
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Old 8th Sep 2002, 14:18
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I was once accused of smelling of alcohol in work. As it happened I had just applied some roll on anti perspirant of a suitably rugged male non perfumed variety. Based on alcohol as it was no wonder I smelled of alcohol.

Certain aftershaves seem to smell more of beer than perfume.

Could this have been the reason for the error?
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Old 9th Sep 2002, 16:50
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I would seriously look into a lawsuit if I were any of those two pilots, certainly a public apology.

Sadly, even though TSA had improved the perfomance, not to mention that most do a great job, there are those who do not belong there. The person in question needs be reprimanded and kept away from pilots, period.

To many "security" workers seems to take delight in singling out pilots, why I shall not speculate on, but not sure I look forward to another 20 years or so of having my bag turned inside out, standing around in my stockings and removing my belt.

Have 15 years certifiable aviation employment, been finger printed, background checked numerous times, certainly more throrough than the people manning the scanners.

Sadly, the DOT, FAA and the TSA continue to drag their feet on Universal Acces Cards and the trusted traveller program. If the intrusions continue on this scale, I am afraid that eventually people will say enough is enough.

Once again, it goes to mention that the cowardly acts were perpetrated not by grandmothers and kids, but by a very narrow segment of the worlds population. Maybe its about time we call a spade a spade.

Just my two cents!
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Old 10th Sep 2002, 19:51
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Re: Honest mistake?

IcePack sayeth:

O.k. If an honest mistake eg not alchol but garlic.
Say again? Remind me not to drink at your local!

FWIW, I think these guys got it exactly right: I wouldn't have volunteered for a breathalyzer, I would have demanded one.

R1
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Old 11th Sep 2002, 16:39
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The incident began when the pilots for American Trans Air Flight 205 were going through the passenger screening area at La Guardia Airport in New York, officials said. The flight, with 152 passengers, was scheduled to depart at 6:40 p.m. for San Francisco with a stopover at Midway Airport.

"At one checkpoint, a screener thought he smelled alcohol," said Lisa Jacobson Brown, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based airline. "But no one else did."

The screener's supervisor was called and also did not smell alcohol, Brown said.
So why was the screener not breathalysed. Surely they would have cast suspicion on themselves, if the supervisor did not smell alcohol. ?


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