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-   -   BA crew test positive for alcohol (Sentences) (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/108603-ba-crew-test-positive-alcohol-sentences.html)

Farty Flaps 13th Nov 2003 07:16

I may be missing something here but had the captain signed for the aircraft or were the doors closed. If not they are only guilty of thinking about going flying. You cant be done for drink driving unless youve started driving, just prevented from following thru an error of judgement.

Reminds me of the duty decoy in the car park joke.

Go to any hotel with crew in it and there are off duty crew boozing. Right or wrong its a fact, so lets stop making out its confined to BA.

prattbrat 13th Nov 2003 09:58


“1) How the hell does a pilot know if he is breaching the limit? “

You’ve got to be kidding!!!

“Short haul pilots. These are the guys most vunerable. Most normal people like a drink and who the hell can deny them that right.”

Are you saying BA pilots are “normal” human beings (people)? (tongue firmly in cheek here)
Errmm, “most vurneable” to what? Drinking and driving?

As far as I am concerned – drink yourself silly if you like, no-one can deny you this right. But the policies are set for a reason. Can’t comply?, why not choose a profession where management will tolerate intoxicated workers. (Please point me to one and I will apply) :ok:

“3. The airlines cannot just throw the 'rule book' at the pilots. They need to be proactively involved, so should the unions, such as BALPA.
It's an industry problem, not just a pilot problem. IMHO”

In THIS case; the stupidest statement I read in a while.

Oh, and this:

"Again, maybe this is the airlines' problem to solve with the 'rule makers' and maybe you have to grant a 'drying out day' after the 'statutory days off'."

Nice try at a wind-up CH4, or you are drunk.

COWPAT 13th Nov 2003 14:45

Why do we need a judicial system? We have prattbrat instead. We weren't there, we dont know the details and you feel able to make statements like that.

I hope that you never end up in a situation like theirs, and if ever you do I hope that you are not subjected to the type of comments that you are making now.

Way out of line as we dont know the facts. Wait until due process has been followed before you comment on the outcome.

Bad medicine 13th Nov 2003 14:48

Alcohol effects
Just a few non-personal comments from a medical point of view.

There are health benefits to alcohol consumption. The effect is limited, however, to no more than 2 standard drinks per day, with a minimum of 2 alcohol-free days per week. Any more than that, and the adverse health effects outweigh any benefit. The WHO limits for healthy drinking (ie. not causing long term damage) are, for men, 4 standard drinks per day, and for women, 2 per day, also with a minimum of 2 alcohol-free days per week.

The performance effects of alcohol are well known, and I won't go into it here. There is also a lot of evidence of the LATE performance effects, long after the blood alcohol has returned to zero. For example, the vestibular effects after a big night are measurable for at least 36hours after the blood alcohol returns to zero.

There have been studies on the cognitive effects.

One that is easy to obtain is:

Yesavage, J.A. and Leirer, V.O. “Hangover Effects on Aircraft Pilots 14 Hours After Alcohol Ingestion: A Preliminary Report in American Journal Psychiatry 143:12, December 1986 p 1546-1550.

It found, “Using a repeated measure counterbalanced design, the authors had 10 [US] Navy P3-C Orion pilots fly two carefully designed simulated flights under control (no hangover) and hangover conditions. For the control condition, pilots drank no alcohol within 48 hours before the simulated flight. For the hangover condition, they flew 14 hours after drinking enough ethanol mixed with diet soft drinks (the equivalent of 6-7 standard drinks) to attain a blood alcohol concentration of 100 mg/dl [BAC of 0.1%]. Pilot performance was worse in the hangover condition on virtually all measures but significantly worse on three of six variance measures". The performance decrement has been attributed to alcohol’s impairment of both working memory, and the ability to divide attention between tasks. Alcohol also reduces the ability to perform non-routine acts, and has an even greater effect when an alternative, non-typical response is required. In terms of pilot performance, this suggests that in emergency conditions, the adverse performance effects of alcohol may be most pronounced.

It has also been shown in a number of scientific studies that, particularly at higher doses, the consumption of alcohol before sleep, causes increased wake periods, or light Stage 1 sleep, especially during the second half of the sleep period. Alcohol is also a diuretic, resulting in increased urine production, and frequently hence the need to urinate during the night, further disrupting sleep.

At levels of alcohol significantly below that which could have been expected following the consumption of 6 standard drinks, next- day alertness and divided-attention performance haves been measured to be impaired. This illustrates that alcohol consumption can directly impair daytime alertness and performance through disruptive effects on sleep.

No one is saying don't enjoy a drink. 1 or 2 drinks 8 hours before reporting for duty will be gone in those with normal alcohol metabolism. But it is also important to remember that just because you have a zero blood alcohol after a large number of drinks doesn't mean that you won't be significantly impaired.



blaireau 13th Nov 2003 15:10

The Royal Navy used to define drunkenness in general terms, as being unable to perform any task that could reasonably be asked of the person in question.
Watching Jolly Jack trying to compose himself before "walking" up the plank after a run ashore was one of the few pleasures for Officer of the Watch alongside in port.

Bigpants 13th Nov 2003 17:13


Just a suggestion but have you considered a career in politics?

Boozing is perfectly acceptable indeed, I believe "George W" had a bit of an "alcohol problem" but that did not stop him making it all the way to the top.

Mind you given some of his recent decisions, I think the world would be a safer place if he reverted to his old lifestyle. You know like that Russian President from a few years ago... the happy one who was always having a laugh conducting bands...smiling a lot!

Regards BP

edited spelling grammar etc

Rowardennan 13th Nov 2003 21:04

You cant be done for drink driving unless youve started driving, just prevented from following thru an error of judgement
You can however be prosecuted for being 'In charge' which has a similar penalty,however the 12 month disqualification isn't mandatory in an 'In charge case'

You technically become in charge of a motor vehicle the moment you pick up the keys.

For example if you were found to be in excess of the limit whilst in a car in possession of the keys,regardless of whether they were in the ignition or not you are guilty of an offence..unless you can prove that you had no intention of driving the vehicle

eg: you were intending to sleep in it or you were looking for something in the glove compartment

In this instance the burden of proof is on you,that is YOU have to prove that you had no intention of driving the vehicle.

In practice most police forces will wait until you attempt to move the vehicle and then collar you,just to build a stronger case and go for the driving offence,which is a lot easier to prove and a lot harder to wriggle out of

I have no idea how this relates to aviation,but I thought I should clear up that particular point for your own good

Just in case!

Miserlou 14th Nov 2003 04:10

Interesing point you raise, Rowardennan.

I'm afraid it says a lot about the society that the police would rather than wait until an offence has been comitted than prevent it!

Having followed the debate, though, I draw the conclusion, by mixing the various sources that one could, if one dared, consume one unit of alcohol whilst on duty and remain below the o.2 promille limit with the blessing of the WHO.

Fortunately , the SOP's state "No alcohol whilst on duty or in uniform!!"

5150 14th Nov 2003 04:39

Farty - yes, you are missing something.....intent.

The very fact that they turned up to work is good enough evidence in the eyes of British Law, as Rowardennan correctly mentions with regard to drinking and driving.

The crew (if the allegations are true), would have been better off pulling a sicky. (I know of no one who has turned up to work, in uniform, with the intention reporting in sick - and if it was these guys' intention, they'll struggle to prove it...)

Let's face it we all know it happens and is certainly not confined to BA, unfortunately for them, got caught.....

CH4 14th Nov 2003 04:43


All I can say is that, as common here, you 'engage mouth before brain'. If you really bothered to read what I said, you might at least understand what I was saying! Maybe you' too, are too pissed or stupid to listen to what others say here?

'How does a pilot know if he is complying with the legislation?' We are told that the limit for flying an airplane is maybe a quater of the limit for driving a car in the UK. Depending on size, weight, metabolism of the individual etc, that translates to maybe a quarter of two pints of beer, less if you are a small guy.

I'm not advocating drinking to the limit, but you will understand many people's predicament here. My example of a dinner party, on a day off, followed by a report for duty next day is a real issue. Can you have one glass of wine at 9 pm or two? Who the hell knows? They need to know, otherwise they will unknowingly and unwillingly fall foul of the rules.

But a 'day off' should be just that; a day in which you can do what the hell you want and unwind. If you fly close to the 900 hr limit a year, you SHOULD be entitled to do what the hell you want on your day off.

All I was saying is, the agencies involved (airlines and unions) need to get their act together and help and advise all pilots. I'm not stating that the rules are wrong. Does that make sense to you Prattbrat? I doubt it! Will I get a sensible answer form this guy? Forgive me for being a cynic!

and btw Prattbratt, I think you could do with a drink to calm down and chill out; maybe then you can rejoin the human race!

Zlin526 14th Nov 2003 04:52


How the hell does a pilot know if he is breaching the limit?
I'll tell you how. By staying off the sherbets and not drinking anything vaguely alcoholic before piloting an aircraft, especially one thats carrying 100+ passengers who expect the Captain to be sober!

If people can't have a good night out without getting tanked up, then they havent got much of a life..

P.S I'm not some freaky temperence campaigner by the way. I do like a pint or three (of proper beer, not that cheap foreign piss), but in the right circumstances..


CH4 14th Nov 2003 06:23


You too put mouth into gear before brain. RTFQ! Answer my question please....How much can a pilot drink before reporting for duty without exceeding the limts?

We are not talking about drinking at the gate or the door of the airplane; how much 8 hours before? Do you know hw much is acceptable?

That is my question.


Zlin526 14th Nov 2003 07:09


No need to swear old chap, I did read the question...No need to be aggressive

I don't know how much a pilot can drink before being over the limit. And I'm sure he/she doesn't either, which is why I advocate not drinking alcohol at all anywhere near an aeroplane, either before, after or during the flight in question. 8 Hours/12 hours who knows?? Depends on lots of factors, size, weight, full or empty stomach etc..

Part of the problem of alcohol related deaths on UK roads is the fact that people are allowed to drink a certain amount before being 'over the limit'. Make it illegal to drink any alcohol whilst driving/flying and there would be no doubt.

Sure it wouldn't stop people drinking and driving, but at least we'd all know where we stood with the limits i.e zero alcohol. Get caught, get prosecuted..easy

and btw Prattbratt, I think you could do with a drink to calm down and chill out; maybe then you can rejoin the human race!
Anyone who needs alcohol to cope with anything needs to see a doctor.

Have nice day:ok:

Bad medicine 14th Nov 2003 07:10

The average male metabolises about 1 standard drink per hour. There is a fair bit of individual variation though, and a lot of variables including the type of alcohol, and the presence of food in the gut.

As I said in the earlier post, just timing your drinking so you arrive at the gate with a zero blood alcohol is only part of the story. There are a lot of effects on performance long after the blood alcohol reaches zero. So it depends on whether you just want to comply with the letter of the law, written for the lowest common denominator, or whether you want to maximise your performance as a professional aviator.



trytofly 14th Nov 2003 07:16


Don't let them wind you up.

pratt or bratt ( either works for me )

CH4 is trying to establish a more useable bottom line...one that is understandable by all, assessable by all and sensible. I do not believe he is saying it is ok to drink the night before a flight, but that there is a wider issue here.

Pooling ideas creates the best solutions.

Stubborn characters have killed more airline passengers than all the beer on the planet ! That is a fact.
Your attitudes are ( at best ) stubborn, narrow, selfish, etc etc

try listening and understanding before opening gob !


just seen your last post as I put the above in.

Yes...zero tolerance is in fact how it is now in BA. One will not report with any alchohol in ones blood or one will be sacked.
I think I explained this to you earlier.

This is not a suggestion to a new rule....it is already there.

So, how does this help me know when I have to stop drinking ?
Is it 24 hrs, 36 hrs, 48 hrs...1 week ?? Come on...how do we know ?

Perhaps we should be given the opportunity to breathalyse ourselves as we report...a sort of amnesty time, just in case that glass of red wine of 36hrs ago is still there.

It is not such an easy issue.

CH4 14th Nov 2003 07:55


Thank you; you did answer my question. You don't know either! How much you can drink on a night off before reporting for duty the next day, without exceeding the limit? That is exactly my point; someone needs to advise pilots what the limit is. Who the f***k knows what 0.02 is? I don't, do you?

Educate us all and we can keep within the rules. That's why I potentially have a lot of sympathy with the crew concerned!

P.S. Trytofly. at least I can identify with someone who is on the same planet as me, 'talks the same language'! :O

smellster 14th Nov 2003 10:33

Nothing to do with whether Nigel had a a few too many G & T's.

However there seems to be a few posters on here who need to pull their finger out of their holier than thou anally retentive a*rse h*oles

Most crews on a nightstop will have a beer or two, this is normal, like it or not. Posters who say 'you have a problem if you need alcohol to relax'. Retire or go back to your bible.

B*llox to the human performance question: which of these is not an accepted form of relaxation after a flight. It happens, and no I'm not an alcoholic.

However most of the 'Most' crews know when to draw the line, now will you all please shut up.



Alberville 14th Nov 2003 10:45

Bottom line - Only Captain Nigel could afford to get tanked in Norway!!!!

Carnage Matey! 14th Nov 2003 11:43

Take a deep breath normal_nigel. The Suns 'supergrass' isn't an ex-pilot, he's an ex-steward, although he wasn't sacked for 'sleeping off a hangover'. He was fired for sexually harassing several stewardesses, amongst other matters. Strange how the Sun didn't choose to mention that in their description of the lying toerag. Besides, he'll get his comeuppance. Anyone living in 'Old Windsor' should really think carefully before slating BA crew. I believe whatshername from Dispatches had to spend her 30 pieces of silver on moving house afterwards!

Ignition Override 14th Nov 2003 13:17

In the US (for what it is worth...), the airline managements only want to severely punish anyone whose actions create any sort of negative publicity for the airline, no matter what the reason, and the FAA can and will do anything to justify its over-bloated bureaucracy. Never mind hoping that any airlines can be motivated to try to better clarify how much alcohol any person, i.e. 170 lbs, can legally consume about xy hours before departure time! However, if a member of the Board of Directors was found by airport security to have a 'smoking' pipe when traveling out west, then not even a wrist was slapped..................................................... ..................

Remember, many airlines and the FAA are run by lawyers/barristers/solicitors (or CPAs), not people who initially had any interest in airline operations or aviation.

Don't forget that in many hotels, various anonymous airline employees (staff) or airline mgmt types can be sitting next to you in the bar-sometimes a few passengers who you just flew in. They can recognize us from quite a distance, even in street clothes! I have recognized several unfamiliar pilots here in casual clothing, just by the way they walk through Clark Tower parking lot on a layover, and have chatted with them just to prove it!

Many people in the hotel/restaurant industry have a grudge against all airline pilots, many of whom have often overheard very loose talk and worse, distorted rumours, about salaries (one airline here pays lots of overtime so pilots working on multiple "days off" can pay for two ex-wives, or furniture for the home, which had almost none...), total days off, homes, boats, cars and the well-known fact that all of us earn huge salaries and only sit there and push buttons, which requires no systems, FOM, weather or other procedural knowledge, judgement and the ability to often coordinate many things at once in crappy weather etc.:oh:

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