Stupid' pilot tried flying drunk
February 19, 2004
A PILOT who tried to fly a plane when he had a blood alcohol level in excess of 0.25 was sentenced to two years jail today.
John David Charlesworth, 56, formerly of the Melbourne suburb of Ormond, pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to one count of conduct that places persons at risk of serious injury.
Judge Tom Neesham said the maximum penalty was five years imprisonment but partly because of Charlesworth's remorse he sentenced him to two years jail, eligible for parole in nine months.
The judge said he accepted that Charlesworth, when sober, was appalled with what he had done and had saved the community time and money by entering a guilty plea.
Earlier, the court heard that Charlesworth had broken a five year self-imposed ban on drinking with a few beers on March 14, 2003.
Judge Neesham said Charlesworth had recently lost his job as a manager with an airline, and was depressed and lonely when he went into a pub looking for companionship.
When he returned home he opened and drank a bottle of vodka which he kept in his fridge as a "talisman" against returning to the drink.
The next day Charlesworth taxied a Piper Seneca light plane carrying five passengers - including two young children - into a temporary picket fence at Tyabb airport, on the Mornington Peninsula south-east of Melbourne.
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