Tuesday, 13 August 2019
In the span of less than a week recently, authorities arrested three pilots from two different airlines under suspicion of intoxication before they were about to fly.But despite the widespread coverage of the pair of incidents in late July and early August, authorities say it's highly unusual to find an intoxicated pilot. Between 2010 and 2018, nearly 117,000 U.S. pilots were tested for alcohol, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Of those, 99 were found above the legal limit. When those violations are discovered, the consequences can be severe."It's because of the seriousness with which the authorities take the safety of air travel," says Chris Smith, partner at the Air Law Firm in London.
In a safety brochure that calls alcohol and flying "a deadly combination," the FAA cautions: "Any factor that impairs the pilot's ability to perform the required tasks during the operation of an aircraft is an invitation for disaster."Federal Aviation Administration regulations say a pilot cannot have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .04 or more, which is half the legal limit for driving in the United States. And pilots are not allowed to drink any alcohol within eight hours of acting or attempting to act as a crew member - "from bottle to throttle," as the FAA says.