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Pilot over drink/drive limit removed from aircraft

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Pilot over drink/drive limit removed from aircraft

Old 3rd Nov 2014, 12:24
  #61 (permalink)  
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Stanwell's full stop.

Well, OK then.
I was going to PM FL to answer his question (not wishing to take up space on a thread discussing more serious matters). - But, since you also ask...

It's pretty simple, really.
Having served some time as a publishing graphic designer, if I'm not using a heading or addressee's moniker, I like to leave a little space between the header bar and the first line of text - It aids visual communication.

Now, can we get back to the subject at hand please.
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Old 3rd Nov 2014, 16:29
  #62 (permalink)  
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Coffin Corner


You asserted that statistics never tell the whole story.
I agree.
Why then, in a discussion about pilots and alcohol, is it ridiculous to ask what you have or have not seen during your career?
Your answer(s) would not tell the whole story but snippets of information can sometimes contribute towards building a picture.

Of course a remote chance does not (by definition) mean it couldn't happen. I'm sorry you didn't understand my response to your point; perhaps I should have expressed myself more clearly. I'll try again.
You mentioned (post 46) the possibility of either both or one pilot being impaired by alcohol. The reason I don't give that a thought when I board an aircraft, far less worry about it, is that I regard both possibilities as extremely remote.
I take the same approach to the catastrophic scenarios you mentioned in post 60 (wing falling off, pilot committing suicide etc). ie Possible but extremely unlikely.

You raised the issue of a 'tipple before flying' so why is it ridiculous to ask if that is common practice in your experience?
No, I have not witnessed anyone drinking before flying. I am aware of one PPL who, according to several reliable sources, was in the habit of doing so but I did not witness it.
What do you want me to say?
I hoped you'd say what you have observed as an F/O and more recently as a captain with a lo-co European carrier flying a Q400 about (I estimate) 500-600 hours annually.
The experience of long-haul pilots, or even pilots with other European carriers, might be different; I don't know and would be interested to learn.

A culture change? In which direction? Would you care to elaborate your experiences?
I'm happy to elaborate what I meant but my comment was based upon what I have learnt through working closely with the industry for many years not upon personal experiences. (I hold fixed-wing and rotary licences but I am not a professional pilot.)

Even if some pilots were inclined to take a chance years ago (I'm sure many of us have at least heard anecdotes), my impression based upon discussions with current and former professional pilot friends is that the attitude towards drinking/flying has changed significantly in the past twenty years or so – beginning long before (Police) breath-testing was introduced into UK aviation. If that is correct, it would be consistent with the change in attitude towards drink-driving. ie A significant reduction in instances coupled with a significant increase in peer disapproval of such behaviour.

The creation of a new offence in 2003 meant that flight crew had to be even more careful because abiding by the old rule/adage, variously expressed as 8 or 12 hours between bottle and throttle, would not necessarily ensure that their blood/alcohol level would be below the very low prescribed legal limit if they were to be tested by police when reporting for duty.
(I represented the first pilot to be prosecuted under the new law – December 2004. http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/1...ml#post1639296

I do not suggest that every pilot over the limit has been, or will be, caught. However, I believe that the vastly overwhelming majority of professional pilots conduct themselves responsibly and professionally; that includes abiding by the restrictions relating to alcohol.

If you consider my views to be ridiculous, no doubt you'll say so - again.

Thank you for explaining what you meant.
I agree.
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Old 3rd Nov 2014, 16:58
  #63 (permalink)  
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The 737 accident you mention sounds very much like the crash of the South China Airlines B737-300 in 1992 - although it didn't occur during an attempted go-around.
Sorry, faulty memory - it wasn't China, I checked with the coworker that forwarded me the report and it was Russia.
ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-505 VP-BKO Perm Airport (PEE)
The ASN says "unspecified" alcohol, I'm assuming the report I saw was limited release since it did specify - and it was high
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Old 3rd Nov 2014, 23:07
  #64 (permalink)  
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UK was a participant in the investigation
got full report. very interesting material..
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Old 4th Nov 2014, 10:00
  #65 (permalink)  
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Removal is Jus Fine

I will reserve judgment until I see a verdict and confirmed numbers. However, an error on the side of extreme caution - removing the pilot from the flight - is the only fit and proper course at the moment. With even the slightest doubt, it is a No Fly Zone!
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Old 4th Nov 2014, 10:27
  #66 (permalink)  
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Reports of pilots removed from flight and/or arrested seem to come up every six months or so in UK. Approx a year ago a Pakistan airlines pilot was jailed after being removed from a flight from Leeds Bradford to Lahore.

Drunk PIA Pilot Irfan Faiz Jailed In Britain

IIRC there have been a few at LHR involving US airlines.

Hopefully the media will be as keen to report any acquittal as they are to headline 'dramatic' arrests.
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Old 4th Nov 2014, 10:33
  #67 (permalink)  
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What do you mean by "slightest doubt", no fly? There is an established procedure and police are empowered to test anyone performing an aviation related function (not just pilots) if they are suspected to be under the influence. This procedure is pretty robust but not quite the same as removal for "slightest doubt".

I can honestly say in 25 years plus of commercial flying I've never encountered an issue. I'm intrigued though, why degraded performance due to alcohol should be a cast iron front-page cause for tabloid hysteria while degraded performance due to fatigue is happily accepted by regulators and the travelling public.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 14:58
  #68 (permalink)  
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Shot One........ Spot On !

Due to the professional attitude of almost all pilots the statistical risk of a passenger getting on an airliner with one crewmember under the influence of alcohol is almost nil and the chances of being in an accident caused by that crewmember is even closer to nil ( and that is just the way it should be) but it makes a very good headline in the papers when they can bring down an individual in authority with a story in about a drunk pilot without bringing down the whole system.

The elephant in the room is that a guy fresh from his bed with an achohol reading just above the very low limit is likely to be in a much better state to fly than a pilot who is on the fifth very early start of the week and has the very subtle fatigue setting in and as is the nature of the fatigue beast not aware of his lack of fitness to fly.

It is easy to measure achohol, almost imposable to mesure fatigue, In the eyes of the gutter press a pilot just over the very low acohol limit is a drunk, a pilot who phones in with fatgue and delays the holiday of Mrs Miggins will be overpaid and lazy according to the press.

It is easy to be seen dealing with the alcohol non problem, it is very expensive to deal properly with the fatgue problem and the press who would not want to be responsable for pricing flights out of the reach of their readers.

Before the totaly anti alcohol PC brigade get going nothing said above condones flying above the acohol limit.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 15:02
  #69 (permalink)  
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well said A and C
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 15:52
  #70 (permalink)  

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Agree with A and C

The situation is very similar in surgery/medicine, with fatigue a far more likely cause of mishaps.

[NB - General aviation is a different ball game]
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 17:27
  #71 (permalink)  
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Amen to that.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 17:28
  #72 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by A and C View Post
The elephant in the room is that a guy fresh from his bed with an achohol reading just above the very low limit is likely to be in a much better state to fly than a pilot who is on the fifth very early start of the week and has the very subtle fatigue setting in and as is the nature of the fatigue beast not aware of his lack of fitness to fly.
Not a bad point but do we know if this guy was fresh from his bed or on his fifth early as well as being pished?
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 18:17
  #73 (permalink)  
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LSM are you a betting man?

You can't tell !

But you are unlikely to put much money on a horse that had the same odds as getting on an airliner with a pilot who was over the alcohol limit.

I would suggest the odds of getting on an airliner with the crew suffering fatigue would be much more in favour of you getting some money back from the bookies ( unfortunately ).
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 18:37
  #74 (permalink)  
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I remember when I was a pupil and hadn't really being breifed on the drink limits for pilots. Was safe to drive but lucky for me was only doing circuits with my instructror. found out couldn't judge landing, on debrief asked if I had been drinking last night (yes). Lesson learnt guess I was lucky.

Last edited by Dysonsphere; 6th Nov 2014 at 18:39. Reason: spelling
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 18:56
  #75 (permalink)  
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Well said A and C, rare common sense.

I've been waiting for my coffee or walking to the gates with it in my hand (I'm not EK) and heard comments made by passengers on the lines of 'at least that is all he is drinking'. I would guess there are a few nasties out there who would rejoice in 'bringing down a peg or two' a pilot. Be careful out there, know the rules, stick to them and regrettably, treat passengers and security with a bit of healthy suspicion.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 20:07
  #76 (permalink)  
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The speed limit on UK motorways is 70mph. Many argue that this is wrong. It may be, but if you break the law you get punished. Some argue the drink drive limit is too low, but you still lose your licence.
In this case, a pilot exceeded the limit set by the authority. Some say he REALLY rang the bell on the pissometer. Where is the argument here??? Over the limit, go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect £200, the end.
Simulator tests have shown alcohol does affect ability, fact.

The question of fatigue is a good one, but you do yourselves zero favours saying that you would rather have a pissed pilot than a fatigued one. NEITHER are acceptable.

He knew the rules and broke them. It is TOTALLY irrelevant that the rules are wrong.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 20:17
  #77 (permalink)  
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Please read the last paragraph of post #69, you then might understand that I said that both a pilot over the alcohol limit and one who is fatigued are both unacceptable but you are far more likely to fly with a fatigued pilot.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 20:51
  #78 (permalink)  
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Well said A and C. Nearly all of us clearly understand that you are set against both showing up fatigued or being above the alcohol limit.

Perhaps a topic for a new thread, but I have always wondered about the fine line between fatigued and just being very tired. Indeed fatigue is a danger--in just about any field where mental and physical coordination are involved. This ranges equally for piloting, surgery, or driving a fork lift at the local warehouse.

Although I have done a lot of lay reading on fatigue, I wonder how many accidents/incidents have been caused by just being out of sleep--even if it is not true fatigue.

Now I know the general public would crease over in laughter at someone even raising the idea of being "tired" for is not every gent/lady who works for a living tired at the end of the day? Indeed.

Yet I could be Rip van Winkle and have been asleep for a few years but keep me awake for 24 hours and I am going to be prone to mistakes. I think it has been a serious error for piloting groups just to trumpet the ill effects of fatigue (which of course they should be doing) but not expanding it to when pilots are just plain gassed.

I am not sure how to thread that needle but I do feel we do ourselves a disservice at times but having to let crewmembers go all the way to full fatigue before we raise the red card.

Your point is well taken however. Impairment, irrespective of its origin, has no place in the cockpit.
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 23:25
  #79 (permalink)  
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So Kayteeeto,
You say the rules are wrong… Or have I misunderstood your post?
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Old 6th Nov 2014, 23:35
  #80 (permalink)  
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And I must assume you are in the industry, not just another of the thousand or so armchair critics, or dare I guess media types.
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