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Do Pilots Drink...a Lot?  
User currently offlineDAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 534 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16562 times:
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Mods: I didn't know where to put this topic. I thought this was the place because it regards civil aviation...a topic I'm very interested in.

So, as the topic title mentions, I would like a straight, unbiased answer to that question. I do not mean to offend anyone who is or has a pilot friend. Of course, everyone drinks from time to time, but some people drink too much and too often.

The reason I decided to put this question forward is that I'm finishing high-school in one year and a half and dream about becoming a pilot. (Hopefully, I'll be accepted to ERAU, where I want to go.) Hence, being that many teenagers nowadays drink and have a lot of absurd fun drinking and sniffing and so on, I was thinking what colleagues I may have in 10 years, or even at ERAU. I definitely would not like to be part of such an entourage. Obviously, no child whose parents spend $50K/year would be mislead in that direction but you never know...

I currently don't drink, never tried(except for the glass of champagne every New Year's) and I hope I'm never going to take up this "hobby".


Where aviation is not the side show, it's the main show!!!
64 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16551 times:

YES... some of the best parties I've ever been to were with pilots..


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31003 posts, RR: 86
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16544 times:
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Well some might, since we do read on occasion about flight crews showing up for their flight intoxicated (but even then, that is not a sure sign of them drinking to excess on a regular basis), but I would expect that, in general, most commercial pilots are "responsibly moderate to light drinkers" in their professional careers, even if they were a bit more wild in their youth since the reports of intoxicated crews is rare.

User currently offlineDAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16512 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
but even then, that is not a sure sign of them drinking to excess on a regular basis

He could be a regular excessive drinker as no "on-occasion" drinker would show up for his flight drunk...



Where aviation is not the side show, it's the main show!!!
User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16502 times:

DO PILOTS DRINK.....A LOT?
I would say no more than cab drivers, subway motormen or truckers.
 stirthepot  safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineAirPortugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3641 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16500 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
YES... some of the best parties I've ever been to were with pilots..

Agreed. Cops are fun to imbibe with as well...



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineN53614 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 248 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16474 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
YES... some of the best parties I've ever been to were with pilots..

Strongly agree.



B722 B732 B733 B734 B735 B73G B738 B739 B742 B752 B772 A320 A319 CRJ2 DHC8 E135 E140 E145
User currently offlineRscaife1682 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 332 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16457 times:

I know I do

RYAN
FLTOPS


User currently offlineThrottleHold From South Africa, joined Jul 2006, 657 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16432 times:

Can't write a long reply....I'm off to the pub.....

User currently offlineRscaife1682 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 332 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 16426 times:



Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 8):

That is awsome...nice reply  Smile


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16393 times:

Do doctors drink a lot? How about lawyers? Plumbers? Actors? IT Professionals? Industrial Chemists? Zoologists? Photographers? Journalists? Priests?

You are talking about a large number of people here, and there are all sorts of behaviors in any large group. Some pilots drink a lot, others, like me, don't drink at all. You are certainly not required to drink to be a pilot. It's up to you to live your life: if you don't want to drink, don't drink, and don't let your peers pressure you to. If you friends are pressuring you to do something that you really don't want to do, they aren't really your friends.

Be yourself, and don't be afraid to take a stand. I've been in the business for over 20 years and have never had a problem being a non-drinker.


User currently offlineDL767captain From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2539 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16341 times:

it's a fair guess to assume they drink more than others, many have layovers in hotels and what else are they going to do? Not to say all pilots drink but they do have a lot of opportunities to do so

User currently offlineDAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 534 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16326 times:
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Quoting DL767captain (Reply 11):
Do doctors drink a lot? How about lawyers? Plumbers? Actors? IT Professionals? Industrial Chemists? Zoologists? Photographers? Journalists? Priests?

You are talking about a large number of people here, and there are all sorts of behaviors in any large group. Some pilots drink a lot, others, like me, don't drink at all. You are certainly not required to drink to be a pilot. It's up to you to live your life: if you don't want to drink, don't drink, and don't let your peers pressure you to. If you friends are pressuring you to do something that you really don't want to do, they aren't really your friends.

Be yourself, and don't be afraid to take a stand. I've been in the business for over 20 years and have never had a problem being a non-drinker.

Great reply. Thanks a lot Smile



Where aviation is not the side show, it's the main show!!!
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16278 times:



Quoting DL767captain (Reply 11):
it's a fair guess to assume they drink more than others, many have layovers in hotels and what else are they going to do? Not to say all pilots drink but they do have a lot of opportunities to do so

Most of us work out and go to dinner, and most of the domestic layovers are short. International flying has longer layovers, and more people have a drink on their 24 or 48 hour layover in CDG or LHR than would on their 12 hour layover in BHM or BOI. Some of us have a drink with dinner, but we can drink just as easily at home as at work. Most of us are very conscious of the appearance of propriety and the legalities of the time to report requirements. Why do you think it's a fair guess that we drink just because we are in a hotel? Lots of people are in hotels frequently, do they drink as much? Where is your data coming from? My insight here comes from a long period of being in the industry: some drink, some don't. I have never been involved with a crewmember who drank to excess or within the prohibited time prior to report. I know that these events occasionally occur, but they are very infrequent, and when they become known they are well-publicized, and generally result in immediate firing.

Most airline pilots I know drink, most moderately, and all who I have ever met drink responsibly. Yes there a couple of bozos who run afoul of the rules and good judgment every year, but it is a very tiny minority. Remember we can be random alcohol screened at any time: most of us value our jobs and reputations. If you don't want to drink, you don't have to, and there are plenty of other activities to fill up your layover than drinking, perhaps the least imaginative of all pastimes.


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1714 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16281 times:

Puh... pilots drinking a lot, tell me about it   

The pilots at my school, are for some reason the ones who party and drink the most.
And not only are they pilots, they're teenagers too, take a look:

The biggest and most violent party in town, and the day afterwards it was written about it all over in the news papers. Not only were they the ones responsible for the party, they also gave us (technicians and mechanics) the blame. Luckily i wasn't there that night.

They're truly living up to the expression "Work hard, Play hard".

[Edited 2008-12-27 11:56:11]


SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16227 times:



Quoting LH4116 (Reply 14):
The pilots at my school, are for some reason the ones who party and drink the most.
And not only are they pilots, they're teenagers too,

That explains a lot...I don't fly with any teenagers, so I can't really address that issue.


User currently offlineFXramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7298 posts, RR: 85
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16195 times:
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Commercial pilots are a top three career that battle drug addiction. Dentists and military are included. The idea that a long layover contributes to social or moderate drinking is silly. It's purely psychological and has everything to do with the stressful environment of the industry. Multiple articles, statistics, and information were found at http://www.hhs.gov http://www.drugabuse.gov and http://www.cdc.gov. Too many articles, studies, evaluations, etc to list on this reply.

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
Do Pilots Drink...a Lot?

Absolutely.


User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 16161 times:

I don't think pilots drink more than any one else. I had a structural engineer roomate and also dated one of his structural engineer friends. They threw some pretty wild parties and drank a lot.

Riddle students are as likely as any college student to drink. Some do some don't. Just because others drink doesn't mean you have to. You can always attend a dry campus like BYU (fantastic school but no aviation programs) if this is a huge concern for you.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16108 times:



Quoting FXramper (Reply 16):
Commercial pilots are a top three career that battle drug addiction. Dentists and military are included. The idea that a long layover contributes to social or moderate drinking is silly. It's purely psychological and has everything to do with the stressful environment of the industry. Multiple articles, statistics, and information were found at http://www.hhs.gov http://www.drugabuse.gov and http://www.cdc.gov. Too many articles, studies, evaluations, etc to list on this reply.

Please direct us to one that gives specific information supporting your claim, rather than homepages to government agencies with thousands of links associated with them. "Commercial pilots" is, additionally, a group far larger than traditional airline pilots, many of whom are much less vigorously screened (if at all) for drug and alcohol abuse than their airline pilot peer group.

Quoting FXramper (Reply 16):
Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
Do Pilots Drink...a Lot?

Absolutely.

Some do, some don't. Most professional airline pilots do not abuse alcohol. I don't know what your background is, but mine includes flying thousands of hours with thousands of crewmembers, having thousands of layovers, and never once seeing an airline pilot drink to excess or within the prohibited time prior to report. I pointed out candidly in my earlier response that statistical outliers in the form of pilots reporting under the influence do occur annually, and that is to be expected in a distribution with thousands of pilots and millions of layovers annually. It is no way supports your assertion that heavy drinking is a way of life for a large number of airline pilots.


User currently offlineWN700Driver From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16092 times:

Shame about the no avaition at BYU. Provo is one of my favorite places.

Can't speak for too many pilots. But I know from my experience (A&P, Dispatch, IA & FE endorsements --guess which ticket never gets used), that other operations types know how to drink. While I've never been in trouble for it, I can remember many youthful occasions (mostly in PR for some reason) waking up "front lawn drunk." Never went to work like that though (nor have I witnessed anything like that...)


User currently offlineRandyWaldron From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 324 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16092 times:



Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
So, as the topic title mentions, I would like a straight, unbiased answer to that question.

When dealing with issues related to pilots, you'll never get a straight, unbiased answer to any question. Why? Because we pilots are representative of society in general, which means you can never have too many opinions, nor will you ever have a complete consensus when asking for a "straight" answer...

In my experience, I've known pilots who are alcoholics. However, I've also known pilots who were gay, straight, married, divorced, cheating on their spouses, single, introverts, extroverts, intellectuals, rednecks....you name it, pilots are representative of it...no different than society. Unfortunately, pilots are people too, contrary to the status some a.net folks give them or what society thinks of the profession. Why some people regard pilots like priests, I'll never know, and I'm a pilot myself. It's a career and a very passionate one for some of us, but we are human above all else.

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
I was thinking what colleagues I may have in 10 years, or even at ERAU.

The most drunken, obnoxious, sex-and-booze filled party I've ever been to was at ERAU in DAB in the fall of 1999....and I'm certain the partying continues on campus. If you think for one hot minute that when you get to college everyone who wants to be a pilot is buckling down, hitting the books and not trying the beer, you're looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, my friend. Here's the equation:

18 year old kids + no parental supervision x beer + hormones = College Campus.

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
I definitely would not like to be part of such an entourage.

Then going to college online or a local community college where you can remain safely at home, away from the terrors of beer, sex and unsupervised life may just be for you. Living on campus isn't for everyone...While college isn't just about partying and drinking, you will find that a lot of people spend a lot of time partying - that's just collegiate life and it's part of growing up.

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
Obviously, no child whose parents spend $50K/year would be mislead in that direction but you never know...

Spending that amount of money for any collegiate institution is extortion, unless you're receiving a terminal degree (PhD). I am about 10 years older than you and after attending a private college, I have found myself heavily in debt and in no better or worse position than other pilots who received degrees from state (read: cheaper) colleges or pilots with no degree at all (there are many, and I know several and a few guys at the major level). What's worse is that I'm struggling to find a job, I'm qualified, but I can't really survive on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th+ year First Officer's pay at a regional carrier. You're gonna be in the same boat, my friend. Take my advice...

Unless your parents are independently wealthy and can afford to write Riddle a check for your tuition each semester, you're better off going to a state school and getting your ratings at a local FBO. If they can afford to write that check to Riddle, have them write it to Cessna instead and get your ratings in your own plane....



"Flaps 20, gear down, landing checklist please..."
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16082 times:

Well, for what it's worth (and I know I'm an outlier) I don't drink at all.

Incidentally some of the biggest drinkers I know are actually physicians. Man, can those guys put it away...



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16068 times:



Quoting RandyWaldron (Reply 20):
Unless your parents are independently wealthy and can afford to write Riddle a check for your tuition each semester, you're better off going to a state school and getting your ratings at a local FBO. If they can afford to write that check to Riddle, have them write it to Cessna instead and get your ratings in your own plane....

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark  Amen!

The most pretentious pilots I know learned to fly in pilot mills and got degrees in...managing airplanes...but the BEST pilots I know came from much smaller FBO-type schools.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlinePilotboi From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2366 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16050 times:

Hell yea I drink - A LOT. But never when I intend on going flying after.

User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 16007 times:



Quoting FXramper (Reply 16):
Commercial pilots are a top three career that battle drug addiction. Dentists and military are included. The idea that a long layover contributes to social or moderate drinking is silly. It's purely psychological and has everything to do with the stressful environment of the industry. Multiple articles, statistics, and information were found at http://www.hhs.gov http://www.drugabuse.gov and http://www.cdc.gov. Too many articles, studies, evaluations, etc to list on this reply.

Quoting DAL763ER (Thread starter):
Do Pilots Drink...a Lot?

Absolutely.

Great links that don't say a thing about what the question was. If you have some specific studies please share them. I know of no study that correlates being an airline pilot and alcohol abuse.

I think you will find the pilot population is fairly representative of the general population. The general population has about 2% of that group who you could classify as having an alcohol problem. I don't think pilots are any different or any worse than the general population.


25 IFlyATA : Same here, and as a freshman at ERAU, I can tell you it's mixed down in school. Some do, some don't. But it's definitely not a party school, there ar
26 EWRCabincrew : Pilots drink no more or no less than other people in their given professions. We hear far more about it (or care far more about it) here because this
27 Lamox : NO, they dont! At my homebase the police have had random testing of appr 20 pilots EACH month for the last year, with 0,000 pilots being above the li
28 ILUV767 : Go to college, drink, get drunk, get laid and have the most fun of your life. The people that never go out and learn people skills dont do well in the
29 Contrails15 : Ramp Agents can out drink pilots any day of the week. Those fly boys don't have nothing on us.
30 DiamondFlyer : Wow, so since I go to college, and don't get drunk illegally, don't get laid nightly and don't party all the time, I'm not going to do well in the co
31 Afterburner : When I saw the title of this thread, I thought the thread starter asking about whether pilots drink a lot of water during flying because of the low le
32 Post contains images Acey559 : I'm a ramp agent AND a pilot, so I can out-drink just about anyone?   (Just kidding, of course)[Edited 2008-12-27 14:34:07]
33 JetboyTWA : I graduated from Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus in 2007, and I must say - Yes, pilots (and Airline Management students like myself) do drink a lo
34 Flyf15 : Pilots are just like any other group of people. Some don't drink at all, some drink a lot, and most drink average amounts. All of the stories about se
35 Flyby519 : We as pilots cant use drugs as our vice, because of random drug testing, so alcohol serves as a replacement. I find being a pilot is much like being a
36 Luisca : YES, and we have a hell of a good time, always responsibly of course.
37 B707forever : No doubt alcoholism and substance abuse exists in the pilots' world as well as it does throughout every other world. What makes it more pronounced is
38 747buff : Some of you might remember from way back in the day when a NW crew flew a 727 from FAR-MSP while intoxicated. And very fortunately without incident. A
39 Jhooper : Since coming of age, I've been associated with three main groups of people. College students, military, and pilots. Yes, there has been alot of drinki
40 RichM : Why do you care about what other people choose to do in life? As long as it doesn't affect you, your passengers, or the law, then you'd have no real
41 PGNCS : Yes, and as I made clear at the outset this is a rare incident, and in the intervening years has become rarer yet as the penalties and random testing
42 DAL763ER : I understand you are sick of this question being put forward by many, but why get so angry about it? I love aviation for what it is - planes, flying,
43 PhilSquares : I guess I have to ask the question, "and your point is?". I know all three pilots and while I don't condone their actions, I do feel as if they were
44 Lamox : I AGREE!!! As I tried to point out earlier: How can you DAL763ER even consider starting a topic like this? I have been a pilot for 25 years, YES I am
45 DAL763ER : I really do not understand why I seem to have gotten on your nerves. I never meant to criticize pilots that drink. I did not say I don't want pilots(
46 Boeingfever777 : LOL this topic... Do surgeons, dentists, lawyers, executives, cops, etc etc etc drink allot...??? Please, My Uncle is a Chief Pilot at one of America'
47 Flyboy80 : Hello, I found this thread rather interesting. Personally I would have to agree with what has been previously stated, pilots don't neccessarily seem t
48 DAL763ER : And you think that if one drinks a lot in his outside life as you call it will be able to do his job in the same appropriate manner when he is older?
49 DAL763ER : I'm sorry, ok? I did not want to put it that way. I have no problem if I'm on a layover with my crew and my captain/co-pilot drinks a little. All I wa
50 Cpd : I wouldn't say they all drink a lot. The ones I've met are quite restrained. Not to say they aren't nice people - just that they don't need to drink p
51 ILUV767 : I'm just telling you to have fun while you're at college.
52 RandyWaldron : Oh boy...you have a lot to learn with this can of worms. You seem not to understand my point. The training you receive at Riddle will not make you a b
53 DAL763ER : Right...but that's not the way to have fun for a lot of money!
54 ILUV767 : Think about it like this. College is not just about sitting through class and learning a bunch of facts and reading a lot of books. Its learning how t
55 PGNCS : The "airline lifestyle" is what you make it. I don't know what your experience is, but your portrayal is certainly not an accurate picture of life at
56 FLY2HMO : I can guarantee you'll get accepted. They rarely ever turn down people, even if you're missing paperwork. I'm not much of a drinker, but I do drink s
57 RandyWaldron : I could not agree with you more, PGNCS... I feel that 99.9% of the problems with the posts on this board is that they come from people with an amateu
58 Post contains links Pliersinsight : The problem with this thread is that it assumes there is something wrong with drinking. They don't put wine in big bottles or beer in six packs becaus
59 Shhpanked : First time poster, long time lurker. I can't really attest to anyones drinking other than my own but like in any profession there will be drinking. So
60 IFlyATA : I don't like this notion many people have these days that you can only have fun when you're drinking. I don't drink, not even a sip, and I have been
61 HighFlyer9790 : Couldn't have said it better myself... Who are you to dictate what the right way to have fun is? And although everyone has covered every base well, i
62 RandyWaldron : You've said it yourself and you're getting on me for "Riddle Bashing"?? What type of collegiate institution "rarely" turns down an applicant? So you
63 707lvr : Over a period of many years, I observed that the prodigious requisite drinking of many WWII and after fighter pilots didn't hold up too well with thei
64 Ralgha : I don't drink at all, but I've found that most pilots I've worked with drink a lot. Alcohol "problem"? I wouldn't say that usually. However, when disc
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