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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 30th Oct 2014, 06:35
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Pilot over drink/drive limit removed from aircraft

Reported by BBC News this morning.

BBC News - 'Drunk' Flybe pilot arrested before flight
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 07:39
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The article just states there was an investigation. It doesn't state the findings of that investigation. Until the outcome is known this is barely news worthy.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 07:47
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Yes it is, they may be innocent, but this is exactly the type of story that news networks want. Are you that green?
Also, the report states that they were breath tested, then arrested. There is a serious clue there.......
And STILL in custody.....
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 08:25
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No doubt if he is charged and it goes to court he will be named and shamed and indeed admonished by ppruners alike.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 08:50
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Now being reported in local media, that 'the pilot has been released on police bail, due to appear in court in December. He has not been charged.'
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 09:10
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That's utter nonsense, you don't go to court without being charged.
He's either been charged and will go to court, or bailed to return to the police station for charge or release.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 09:15
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classic interview question

I'm sure I've been asked in interviews what actions I'd take in this scenario...

I guess it's a very hard call for the whistle blower, and one not taken lightly. I would hope there was at least some discussion of concerns between the crew, with the aim of the suspected offender to fall on one's sword and call in sick.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 09:37
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Yes it is, they may be innocent, but this is exactly the type of story that news networks want. Are you that green?
Also, the report states that they were breath tested, then arrested. There is a serious clue there.......
And STILL in custody.....
Whilst there may be a serious clue, it prejudices a case when the implication is of guilt before even a trial takes place. Natural justice requires impatiality. Comments like "There is a serious clue there..." imply that required impartiality has been lost, and projected in a public domain. Even journalists would not be so green as to imply guilt before a trial: the courts would take a dim view of being so green.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 09:53
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Due to the low alcohol limit for flying it is normal for a blood sample to be taken for analysis to back up the results of the breath test machine in the police station, I doubt the police would charge before the results of the blood test become avalable.

It should be remembered that at the low alcohol levels that are set for transport workers breath testing is not 100% reliable, hence the blood test.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 10:06
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Even journalists would not be so green as to imply guilt before a trial: the courts would take a dim view of being so green.
You cannot be serious!

What is the difference between these two statements?

'Drunk' Flybe pilot arrested before flight
Drunk Flybe pilot arrested before flight
You and I can read punctuation and interpret accordingly.
Millions can't or don't.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 11:14
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Turin, true, and difficult to argue with you. Despicable though the headline may be, it is within the rules. Just. It'd be nice to see who was being quoted.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 12:24
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Mike, the question was 'is this newsworthy because he isn't charged'.
My answer was that is was newsworthy, the public are interested and also because the police would not normally keep him in without reason. I implied that it was obvious that something was found. I still imply that. Of course I may be wrong, but I am willing to make a small wager (to charity of course) with anyone who seriously disagrees.
I actually hope he/she is innocent of all charges and would LOVE to be wrong. Of course this is a rumour network, so we are allowed to be wrong you know!!
Normally if you are bailed to appear in court, you are already charged. As mentioned above, you may be bailed for further enquiries. If they are awaiting the results of a blood test, my offer of a wager is a good one, because the breathalyser test may be inconclusive or VERY close to the limit. Lets hope it is below.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 12:46
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I actually hope he/she is innocent of all charges
Commendable though the politically-correct, gender-neutral references to "he/she" and "they" may be, the BBC link in the very first post does (now) say "A police spokesman confirmed a 48-year-old man was arrested."
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 13:04
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The BBC article states that "a fellow crew member became concerned".

As none of us were there, we don't know whether that's because the crew had a drink the previous evening (and there was a "bottle to throttle" concern), or because he appeared to be physically under the influence immediately prior to the operation of the flight.

I understand that NQY flights are operated with EXT-based crews who nightstop?
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 13:11
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Sounds like he has been charged and bailed to court.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 16:44
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I might well be wrong but I thought I heard on a Radio 4 news bulletin this morning that he had been charged with drink DRIVING. Perhaps my hearing is worse than I thought or else it was a reporting cock-up. If he was over the drink driving limit then he would be well over the flying limit (which is roughly equivalent to half a pint of bitter).
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 18:35
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JW411, you didn’t mishear the drink-driving bit. It was in the written BBC report as well. I too was puzzled.

I had occasion to talk both to the CAA, and to Devon and Cornwall Police, about it today. Both said it had been misreported. CAA said:
For flight crew (and air traffic controllers) the blood/alcohol limit is 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. (This is set out in the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003). For context, the UK drink drive limit is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres.
Note this applies to blood/alcohol only. Breath/alcohol, and indeed urine/alcohol have different figures.

The police amplified this:
Pilots, air crew, air traffic control, amongst others, have a lower legal breath alcohol limit which is 9 microgrammes per 100ml in breath compared to the Road Traffic Act 1988 which is 35 microgrammes per 100ml in breath. The equivalent is 20 ml in blood whereas the Road Traffic Act 1988 is 80ml in blood.
The pilot was tested using a Home Office Type Approved device and provided a breath specimen over the prescribed limit of 9 microgrammes. He was then taken to custody and dealt with accordingly.
The pilot had been
…. arrested at Newquay Airport at around 9am on Wednesday 29 October on suspicion of being over the prescribed limit for carrying out an ancillary function, ie preparing to fly having reported for duty. 

The man has been bailed until 8 December where (sic) he will report to Newquay station.

Last edited by airsound; 30th Oct 2014 at 18:37. Reason: clarifying
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:03
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Meanwhile, the R.M.T. is balloting it's Northern line members for strike action in support of a driver who has been sacked for being found in possession of alcohol in his messroom.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:56
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Just a subtle difference perhaps between alcohol in the messroom and alcohol in the bloodstream?
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 23:43
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I guess it's a very hard call for the whistle blower, and one not taken lightly. I would hope there was at least some discussion of concerns between the crew, with the aim of the suspected offender to fall on one's sword and call in sick.
Not really a hard call at all when lives are concerned.

I once witnessed this situation. The captain of a five man crew turned up quite obviously the worse for wear. It was known that he had been to a very late party in quarters the night before. His crew gave him some very strong hints that he seemed to have a heavy cold and should declare himself unfit to fly, but like an idiot he tried to bluff it out and continued to prepare for the flight. At that point his crew "blew the whistle" on him to a squadron exec, who immediately had him replaced. I know he received a huge rollicking and possibly some other "unofficial" punishment, but there was never any official disciplinary action. The pilot concerned distinguished himself in the air some years later, and received a gallantry medal for his actions, so perhaps the line that was taken was the best in the circumstances, but doing nothing was never an option.
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