cessna2
Topic Author
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:16 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:32 pm

 
airtran737
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:45 pm

Fire him. Having an impaired pilot is not an option.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:16 pm

First of all, the title is very misleading. It's not AS but Horizon.

I have no problem with him returning to work. The company lost at arbitration.

Clearly they are trying to "cherry pick". It would appear as if they have violated the CBA with not complying with their own rules.


" The airline's employment rules allow employees to keep working if a substance abuse counselor agrees and a review of company records shows the worker's retention is in Horizon's best interest.

Freed noted Milam's drug counselor found him fit for work. But, Horizon did not review its own records before firing Milam, the arbitrator said."

Do I agree with the pilot??? No. However, if the company violated their own rules then the choice is obvious, from my perspective.

Let the fun begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
davescj
Posts: 1148
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:41 pm

Surprising ruling by the arbitrator. I wonder if Horizon did not follow an established procedure? However, it is simple: Pot is an illegal drug under federal law. Federal law does not allow pilots to use it. We should be done.

Dave
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
mcdu
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:52 pm

From day one pilots know that it is wrong to do drugs. He should be fired and he should look for another career. This is a huge reason unions have lost respectability in this country. Instead of loopholes his own union should tell him he was wrong for smoking pot, allow the termination of him and advancement of another pilot that is not a drug user.
 
airtran737
Posts: 3256
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:27 pm

I want to know why he still has a medical if he is using drugs. You are required to list all prescription drugs that you are currently taking. If he didn't list marijuana on his medical, then he technically lied on it, and therefore it can be revoked. He isn't going to get a waiver or a SODA for pot so then the case is solved.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
User avatar
dabpit
Posts: 617
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:19 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:39 pm

Quoting davescj (Reply 3):
Pot is an illegal drug under federal law. Federal law does not allow pilots to use it. We should be done.

agreed

Quoting mcdu (Reply 4):
From day one pilots know that it is wrong to do drugs.

Anywhere else and the same thing would have happened. You will learn this at any flight school.
Carpe Diem
 
F9Animal
Posts: 3784
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:13 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:44 pm

I am absolutely against a pilot using. He should lose his job. But.... The company did not follow proper procedures, and the company should be held to it. I think this is a wakeup call to all airlines to follow the procedures, as we live in a politically correct world. I personally feel it should be a one sentence rule: Any pilot testing positive for alcohol or drugs will be terminated immediately.

What happened to zero tollerance?
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:27 pm

Quoting F9animal (Reply 7):
Any pilot testing positive for alcohol or drugs will be terminated immediately.

Sorry, but as a Captain with many, many years of experience, I disagree. Chemical dependency is a very thorny issue. ALPA and the airlines in general have developed set procedures to help people who have issues. Termination will only encourage people to hide their problems rather than seeking help. The HIMS program has been going for a number of years with excellent results. Going back to the Dark Ages does nothing but drive the problem underground.

Airlines have spend vast sums of money training people. To just kick them to the curb does nothing but waste money and treat valuable resources as if they were not worth anything.

I DO NOT condone drug/alcohol abuse, but I do condone treatment in a very defined program. I don't condone companies violating their own established procedures which occurred in this case.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
traindoc
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:27 pm

So what about the right of the public to not be flown by an impaired pilot? Pot stays in the brain for up to 30 days and definitely affects motor coordination and judgement. If people want to smoke pot, that is their choice. But I do not want them flying my airplane, operating on me, or driving on the same street as me or my loved ones.

Unfortunately, the cat is out of the bag with pot as witnessed in places like Colorado. The rights of the pot smoker are going to trump those of the average citizen when it comes to freedom from harm. Look at the problem we now have with prescription narcotics. The MD's who started the pain management movement 20 years ago are now saying that they were wrong about the risks of addiction and abuse. We will find that the pot advocates will also be wrong as to the "benign" nature of the drug.
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:38 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 9):
So what about the right of the public to not be flown by an impaired pilot?

Please point out where I wrote that? I did not!!!

The simple fact is addiction is much better understood these days. If you knew anything about the HIMS program, you wouldn't shoot from the hip and try to quote me on things I did not write. You get people into treatment, with follow up and testing you can ensure they do not work/fly/whatever under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

You seem to be focused on pot, what about alcohol? Are you for treatment there? If so, then what is the difference between pot and alcohol?

Seems a little hypocritical.

[Edited 2013-04-24 12:39:29]
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 20385
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:56 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 9):
So what about the right of the public to not be flown by an impaired pilot? Pot stays in the brain for up to 30 days and definitely affects motor coordination and judgement.

The statement is incorrect. The longest cannabis metabolites have been detected in the urine after last use was 31 days (IIRC... I might be off by a day or two). In most cases, it will be undetectable after 7-14 days. As for impairment of coordination and judgement, yes, during acute intoxication it can do that, but not to the degree that alcohol does. It's more of an impairment in awareness and focus. Of course, that is incompatible with being a commercial pilot all the same.

But if we're going to talk about pot, let's at least work with some facts, rather than popular myths.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
traindoc
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:35 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:57 pm

To mmo,

I am not critiquing you, just making a general point. Yes, alcohol is also a problem. However, alcohol wears off much more quickly than pot. Even when someone who has smoked a joint says they are normal, they can still have impairment of motor skills and judgement.
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:07 pm

Quoting traindoc (Reply 12):
I am not critiquing you, just making a general point

I appreciate that, but one has to look objectively at the problem. Clearly, alcohol is a much bigger problem than pot or other types of self medication. However, the bottom line is they all result in impaired employees.

So, the simple thing is to treat them all the same. If someone has an alcohol problem or a pot problem, it makes no difference, they have a problem. If they are willing to get treatment, sometimes with a little persuasion, then that is what matters.

Having the company circumvent the established procedures makes anyone on the fence with a problem be much more reluctant to step forward.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
User avatar
DarkSnowyNight
Posts: 1836
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:59 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:10 pm

Quoting mmo (Reply 2):
I have no problem with him returning to work. The company lost at arbitration.

Clearly they are trying to "cherry pick". It would appear as if they have violated the CBA with not complying with their own rules.

This is probably the most correct assessment. It's more than a little inappropriate for an Airline to disregard a ruling it agreed to adhere to when they signed the CBA. Hopefully owing this guy a ton of back pay will better educate them on what contracts actually mean.

Quoting airtran737 (Reply 1):

Fire him. Having an impaired pilot is not an option.

You do not know that he was actually impaired. It is possible to test positive for THC for up to thirty days after last usage. I'm certainly not a doctor, but I have never heard of anyone being Impaired for that long, and the article is not that specific.

Quoting davescj (Reply 3):
I wonder if Horizon did not follow an established procedure?

They failed to review his record per CBA guidelines. This is where they messed up. Had they done that correctly, there would not be an issue now.

Quoting airtran737 (Reply 5):
I want to know why he still has a medical if he is using drugs. You are required to list all prescription drugs that you are currently taking. If he didn't list marijuana on his medical, then he technically lied on it, and therefore it can be revoked. He isn't going to get a waiver or a SODA for pot so then the case is solved.

This is a fair point. If there is any Federal action on this, no doubt it will effect his employability. But that would have to be handled at another juncture.

Quoting mmo (Reply 10):
You get people into treatment, with follow up and testing you can ensure they do not work/fly/whatever under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

I think I can agree with this too. Pot, Cocaine, et al, have no place in the Flight Deck. But using the current approach may not be good enough to solve the issue if there are better methods (as you mention with the HIMS program) available.
Be A Perfectionst, You're Nothing If You're Just Another; Something Material, This Isn't Personal...
 
mcdu
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:48 pm

Quoting mmo (Reply 13):
Having the company circumvent the established procedures makes anyone on the fence with a problem be much more reluctant to step forward.

You do realize this guy wasn't on the fence. He didn't come forward and say he had a problem. He was BUSTED on a random check. Wrapping alll the sinners in the HIMS blanket is fine if they come forward and join on their own. However if they show up at work on drugs or alcohol and only get religion once they are caught is too late in my opinion.

I am not in favor of the liberal HIMS programs we have at my carrier. Fire these guys and stop treating this career like a T-ball team for 8 year olds. Not everybody gets a trophy.

This job is too difficult to attain to have those not committed to doing it professionally engaged in flying. If you can't do it sober get out.
 
twincommander
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:54 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:01 am

Quoting mcdu (Reply 15):
This job is too difficult to attain to have those not committed to doing it professionally engaged in flying. If you can't do it sober get out.

Couldn't have said it any better.

Every aviation job I've had is the same way. No strike policy. The way it should be. Make space for a new person who WANTS to be responsible with the lives in his hands.
 
User avatar
bigfoot0503
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:17 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:13 am

Quoting davescj (Reply 3):
Surprising ruling by the arbitrator. I wonder if Horizon did not follow an established procedure? However, it is simple: Pot is an illegal drug under federal law. Federal law does not allow pilots to use it. We should be done.

Well said
oregon-aviator
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 4195
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:26 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 2):
First of all, the title is very misleading. It's not AS but Horizon.

No it's not misleading. Alaska Air Group owns Horizon. Horizon Airplanes all have the Alaska branding on them.
 
AA94
Posts: 654
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:37 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:28 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
The statement is incorrect. The longest cannabis metabolites have been detected in the urine after last use was 31 days (IIRC... I might be off by a day or two). In most cases, it will be undetectable after 7-14 days. As for impairment of coordination and judgement, yes, during acute intoxication it can do that, but not to the degree that alcohol does. It's more of an impairment in awareness and focus. Of course, that is incompatible with being a commercial pilot all the same.

While I appreciate the dedication to accuracy (I really do!), I think the sentiment still remains that we (the flying public) don't really want anyone, at any degree of impairment, flying our aircraft. In my opinion, it's a difficult, involved job that requires a high level of focus and attention to detail, tasks that require utmost coherence.
If you can't take the heat, you best get out of the kitchen
 
hiflyeras
Posts: 1614
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:48 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:52 am

This pilot is employed by Horizon Air, not Alaska Air Group nor Alaska Airlines....therefore the thread title is incorrect.

That said, if he tested positive during a random drug screening he's fired...no second chance. I don't want recreational pot or any type of drug users in safety-sensitive positions, be they a pilot, flight attendant, train engineer, bus driver, etc. I don't want the people building the airplanes I fly in using drugs either, nor people that are stoned driving a car down the freeway next to me. This permissiveness towards pot is getting out of control. Colorado and Washington State's new pot legalization laws are going to be an interesting experiment that could very well backfire if users don't act responsibly.
 
brilondon
Posts: 3035
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 6:56 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:54 am

According to the article he was given a clean bill of health and should be allowed to continue to fly for AS or Horizon. He get treatment and is now deemed to be fit for work and I don't know why he should not be able to continue to make a living as a pilot with AS.

Beside the fact that he was given a clean bill of health, AS's policy is to allow him to continue to fly and beable to make a living doing what he has been trained for. How many pilots have a drinking problem that we don't know about or any other addiction for that matter?

[Edited 2013-04-24 17:55:05]
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
JBAirwaysFan
Posts: 569
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 11:17 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:03 am

Few notes: Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. If he is a Seattle-based pilot then his marijuana usage is perfectly legal so long as he does so within the borders of the State of Washington (or Colorado). No, he shouldn't be flying stoned and I feel that would be grounds for termination, but if the substance was just in his system then he shouldn't be fired based on the new laws as marijuana stays in your system for an extended period after usage.

I think AS and Horizon will probably have to update their policies to accommodate the new laws. Anyone with a Seattle crew base probably should (or Denver for that matter). If they are smoking the stuff off duty and with enough time to sober up before flying then I don't see any foul.

Another thing to consider is that marijuana is viewed on the same level as cocaine/crack, heroine and other chemically addictive drugs. It shouldn't be. Marijuana is psychologically addictive, not chemically. Cigarettes are chemically addictive, but pilots can use tobacco products.

[Edited 2013-04-24 18:09:23]
In Loving Memory of Casey Edward Falconer; May 16, 1992-May 9, 2012
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3789
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:08 am

Quoting davescj (Reply 3):
However, it is simple: Pot is an illegal drug under federal law. Federal law does not allow pilots to use it. We should be done.

If Horizon screwed up, I don't think they should be able to hide behind federal law to avoid facing the consequences of their mistake. At the same time, I wouldn't advocate putting a pilot under the influence in the cockpit.

There is a middle-of-the-road solution that Horizon should be forced to take. Re-hire the pilot and pay him his guaranteed minimum every month, but don't give him a line. Passengers are safe and Horizon pays for its mistake.

Either he will pass x numbers of random tests and can be declared "clean" or he will bust another random test and will be terminated properly.

Yes, he gets a second chance, but that is the price Horizon pays for rushing through his termination. After all, his second chance is also another chance to screw up...
Democracy 2016: 3 million California votes < 100,000 Midwest votes.
 
nutsaboutplanes
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:37 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:14 am

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
I think AS and Horizon will probably have to update their policies to accommodate the new laws. Anyone with a Seattle crew base probably should (or Denver for that matter). If they are smoking the stuff off duty and with enough time to sober up before flying then I don't see any foul.




Airlines are controlled by Federal Regulation, not state law. The carriers could not adjust their policy by state if they wanted to.

To mcdu's point, ALL major carriers have "self-disclosure" programs where an individual can seek help and disclose an addiction or other issue without fear of retribution. I have seen this many, many times. The individual will receive counseling, therapy etc and will be subjected to drug tests for a year or more to make sure that they are compliant.......all at no cost to the individual, the company generally covers the cost.

If an individual tests positive during a random or post accident/ incident screening, the self-disclosure avenue is closed and they if they test positive, that's it. I have never seen a positive post accident or random test end in anything other than termination of employment for CSA's, Rampers, Mechanics and Flight attendants.........I would expect the standard to be even higher for pilots.

Fire the guy, deal with any legal fall-out and drag it out for years. AAG should not cave on this one, I dont think they will as they have a very conservative corporate culture.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
User avatar
EA CO AS
Posts: 14009
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 8:54 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:15 am

Quoting brilondon (Reply 21):
He get treatment

After he'd been caught. It's too late then.

Quoting brilondon (Reply 21):
I don't know why he should not be able to continue to make a living as a pilot

Because the "Get me help so I can continue working" card can only be played if you voluntarily come forward with your problem BEFORE getting caught.

Quoting brilondon (Reply 21):
AS's policy is to allow him to continue to fly and beable to make a living doing what he has been trained for.

If he comes forward and seeks treatment prior to being caught, yes. In this case, he got busted. Game over.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
INFINITI329
Posts: 1941
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:53 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:16 am

Was he high or was just in his system? There is a difference between to the two.
 
nutsaboutplanes
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:37 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:18 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 23):
Yes, he gets a second chance, but that is the price Horizon pays for rushing through his termination. After all, his second chance is also another chance to screw up...



Couldn't DISAGREE with you more. There is much greater risk in putting a pilot with a known substance abuse problem back in the flight deck of an aircraft..........imagine if their was an accident involving this pilot after QX put him back in the flight deck on a technicality.........how would the airline explain that?

The risk it too great.........that's what corporate attorneys are for.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
flyguy89
Posts: 2145
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:43 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:42 am

The article isn't all that clear. Is the violation the APA is claiming Horizon committed in relation to their "volunteering/come forward if you have a problem" program? If not it seems like a pretty bone-headed move on Horizon's part to even have it in their pilot contracts that those with substance abuse issues (if caught in a random screening) can't be terminated immediately. In any case, the guy should be kept away from piloting planes, I can't see Horizon or the federal government wanting headlines in the papers that pot-smoking pilots are allowed to fly.
 
mcdu
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:43 am

Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 26):
Was he high or was just in his system? There is a difference between to the two.

Sorry, but recreational drug users have ZERO place in the cockpit. If he is a pilot he does not have the opportunity to get high on the weekends and then show up "sober" on Monday. This is a critical job, that describes critical thinking and responses. This guy is flying in the Pacific Northwest that has some of the most challenging weather around. In a CRM led cockpit environment you need BOTH pilots with their heads screwed on properly. In a dire situation this guys could have cost several lives with his lack of discipline and unprofessional behavior. Shame on him for allowing himself to venture down this path.
 
MountainFlyer
Posts: 488
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:20 am

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):

Few notes: Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. If he is a Seattle-based pilot then his marijuana usage is perfectly legal so long as he does so within the borders of the State of Washington (or Colorado).

The drug test in question was in November 2011, more than a year before marijuana became legal under Washington law. Also, regardless of whether or not marijuana is legal under Washington state law, unless QX has unbeknownst to me quit flying outside the state of Washington or is somehow no longer under the authority of the FAA, it is still illegal.

It is also still illegal at the federal level regardless of whether or not the administration chooses to enforce it or not. So no, it is not "perfectly legal."

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
Another thing to consider is that marijuana is viewed on the same level as cocaine/crack, heroine and other chemically addictive drugs. It shouldn't be. Marijuana is psychologically addictive, not chemically. Cigarettes are chemically addictive, but pilots can use tobacco products.

The legality or illegality of various drugs is not because they are addictive. If nicotine caused impairment of motor skills and judgement or was hallucinogenic, I'm sure it would be illegal too.
SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3789
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:27 am

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 27):
There is much greater risk in putting a pilot with a known substance abuse problem back in the flight deck of an aircraft.

I'm advocating he be paid his minimum and not fly until he either fails a random test and be terminated properly, or passes several of them. I am not saying he should return to the controls immediately.

Allowing him to return to the cockpit after successful monitoring is not very different than existing programs, the main difference is that Horizon still has to pay him.
Democracy 2016: 3 million California votes < 100,000 Midwest votes.
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 2424
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:42 am

Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 20):
This pilot is employed by Horizon Air, not Alaska Air Group nor Alaska Airlines....therefore the thread title is incorrect.

No it is not, as has been pointed out, Horizon is owned by the AAG.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
KD5MDK
Posts: 700
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:05 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:43 am

Why doesn't QX just shoot him and stop the appeal there? I'll bet the APA would file a lot fewer grievances if the company did that.
 
User avatar
Tomassjc
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:38 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:15 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 32):
Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 20):
This pilot is employed by Horizon Air, not Alaska Air Group nor Alaska Airlines....therefore the thread title is incorrect.

No it is not, as has been pointed out, Horizon is owned by the AAG.

-DiamondFlyer

Horizon is operated as a separate entity, AS titles on the aircraft or not. Horizon employees are NOT employed by AS. Horizon aircraft are "Operated by Horizon Air". Alaska is not suing against having the pilot reinstated, Horizon Air is. The thread title IS incorrect.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward -Leonardo DaVinci
 
ORDJOE
Posts: 653
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:27 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:44 am

I really do not have a problem with a pilot that puffs at home, it shows at least they have a stress outlet. Just because he pissed positive is no indication that he was high. Drug tests for the most part try to detect the metabolite(it is far easier to detect than the active ingredient), not the actual THC, so it has no indication whether he was high.
 
nutsaboutplanes
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:37 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:52 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 31):
I'm advocating he be paid his minimum and not fly until he either fails a random test and be terminated properly, or passes several of them. I am not saying he should return to the controls immediately.

Allowing him to return to the cockpit after successful monitoring is not very different than existing programs, the main difference is that Horizon still has to pay him.




This also sets a precedent, and with unions, that is as good as law. The airline will not do this because they would have to treat future cases in the same way, the union would use it against them in the future. I understand that there are implications that QX did not follow a process, however, that is an assumption as well and not fact. Also, even if QX went the route that you suggest, they should not have to absorb the financial burden of paying an individual who can not fly. If there were to be an agreement, it should be that he do so with no pay and be cleared by medical professionals and a treatment program before returning to flying status and the payroll.

I would like to know what "Horizon didn't fully review the employees record" really means............sounds to me like an overly employee friendly arbitrator.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
TheCol
Posts: 1857
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:30 am

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:56 am

Quoting twincommander (Reply 16):
Every aviation job I've had is the same way. No strike policy. The way it should be. Make space for a new person who WANTS to be responsible with the lives in his hands.

  

That's how this industry works. One strike, and you're out. The safety margins are too thin as it is. If he had decided to come forward with this problem, then things would have worked out differently.

Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 20):
This pilot is employed by Horizon Air, not Alaska Air Group nor Alaska Airlines....therefore the thread title is incorrect.

No, you're incorrect. Horizon Air is owned by AAG.

Quoting brilondon (Reply 21):
According to the article he was given a clean bill of health and should be allowed to continue to fly for AS or Horizon. He get treatment and is now deemed to be fit for work and I don't know why he should not be able to continue to make a living as a pilot with AS.

Because he works in an industry with a one strike policy. If Horizon allows him to fly again, then they are setting a precedent for the entire industry.

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
Few notes: Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. If he is a Seattle-based pilot then his marijuana usage is perfectly legal so long as he does so within the borders of the State of Washington (or Colorado).

The airline industry falls under federal jurisdiction.

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 35):
I really do not have a problem with a pilot that puffs at home,

There is a zero tolerance policy for use of illegal substances in aviation, regardless of when those substances are used. If he obtained marijuana by prescription, then he would have been legally obligated to notify an FAA medical examiner. Clearly he didn't, since his class 1 would have been immediately revoked.

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 35):
it shows at least they have a stress outlet.

There are plenty of legitimate stress outlets.
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
FlyDeltaJets
Posts: 1636
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 4:24 pm

Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:03 am

As usual the a.net community is ready to throw anyone out on the street. This case is clear. Horizon had established procedures for substance abuse, they didn't like the outcome and now they are trying to use the courts to circumvent their own policies. This has nothing to do with whether you agree that the pilot should have his job back or not. This is a clear violation of Horizon of its own procedures and the courts should rule in the favor of the procedures which according to my understanding would be the reinstatement of the pilot. Also it says that the pilot successfully completed a treatment program as well.
The only valid opinions are those based in facts
 
ASFlyer
Posts: 1453
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:25 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:32 am

Quoting TheCol (Reply 37):
Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 20):
This pilot is employed by Horizon Air, not Alaska Air Group nor Alaska Airlines....therefore the thread title is incorrect.

No, you're incorrect. Horizon Air is owned by AAG.

No, you're incorrect. Alaska Air Group owns both Horizon Air and Alaska Airlines. Two separate companies owned by the same holding company. This does not mean that this Pilot is employed by Alaska Airlines or Alaska Air Group. He is employed by Horizon Air and Horizon Air is suing to prevent his return to work. Alaska Airlines is not involved in any way what so ever. They are a completely separately operated company. If this was a Pilot at Express Jet you wouldn't be saying that he works for Skywest. just because they own Express Jet. Or maybe you would, but you would be wrong.

[Edited 2013-04-24 22:35:55]
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3789
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:36 am

Quoting nutsaboutplanes (Reply 36):
I understand that there are implications that QX did not follow a process, however, that is an assumption as well and not fact.

Well, Horizon agreed to binding arbitration (at least until they saw the results), and they lost apparently on the basis of not following agreed upon procedure, so for the time being it is a fact.

You make a very valid point about setting a precedent, but there is no more reason to allow Horizon to set a precedent by refusing to accept the result of a process they willingly agreed to, so what should consequence should Horizon suffer instead?
Democracy 2016: 3 million California votes < 100,000 Midwest votes.
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:50 am

Quoting mcdu (Reply 29):
Sorry, but recreational drug users have ZERO place in the cockpit.

What strikes me about your arguments is the fact you keep focusing in on "recreational drug" users. The simple fact is the policies are designed for substance abuse. That could be alcohol, pot, or something else. It is to provide a more rational approach for dealing with addictions.

I would venture to say your knowledge of the HIMS program is very limited. It's not like he gets treatment and then goes back to flying. There is a very long and complicated process for the pilot to get his medical back. It just does not happen at the end of treatment. If you look at the results of the program you would find it works. The rate of recidivism is fairly low.

Using your logic, I would say it is safe to assume you would favor termination of a pilot if they are stopped and subsequently convicted of a DUI/DWI? After all they have demonstrated "lack of discipline and unprofessional behavior".

Quoting mcdu (Reply 29):
In a dire situation this guys could have cost several lives with his lack of discipline and unprofessional behavior

I think you can not differentiate the difference between alcohol, drugs or any other substance when it comes to dependency.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4675
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:20 am

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
If he is a Seattle-based pilot then his marijuana usage is perfectly legal so long as he does so within the borders of the State of Washington (or Colorado).

That's not accurate. While the state and local cops won't bust someone for marijuana possession or usage, there's nothing stopping a federal agent from making a bust.

Also, federal regulations specify exactly which drugs a pilot can and cannot have in their system, and in what quantities. Marijuana, like all other Schedule I drugs, are zero-tolerance.

I'm actually quite surprised he was able to keep his medical certificate.

Quoting TheCol (Reply 37):

That's how this industry works. One strike, and you're out.

Not always.

Quoting TheCol (Reply 37):

Because he works in an industry with a one strike policy. If Horizon allows him to fly again, then they are setting a precedent for the entire industry.

Northwest set that precedent 20 years ago, when they rehired a pilot who was originally terminated when he and his crew flew a flight completely and utterly wasted.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
rwsea
Posts: 2458
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:41 am

Quoting cessna2 (Thread starter):
thoughts?

On the surface the article sounds shocking, but the thing is that pot stays in your system a long time. The current technology used when doing pot tests cannot properly distinguish between someone who was high a week ago and someone who is high currently. This isn't the same as alcohol where the tests give an indication of whether you're drunk at that exact moment or not.

So my thought? If he was HIGH at work then there's no question he should be fired. If this was on his own time and does not impact his job responsibilities in any way, then I don't think it's the airline's business what he was doing.
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:49 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 42):
I'm actually quite surprised he was able to keep his medical certificate.

Under the current FAA rules, he loses his medical certificate. However, there is a very rigid process for him to get his medical back.....the HIMS program does that. It is extremely difficult for a pilot to get it back on his own.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4675
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:30 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 44):
Under the current FAA rules, he loses his medical certificate.

So in other words, he's done flying anyways.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
mmo
Posts: 991
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:27 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 45):
So in other words, he's done flying anyways.

Please re-read what I wrote. No, he is not necessarily finished with flying. If you read the link about the pilot, it would appear he has gone through treatment and subsequent to that complied with all the FAA mandated testing. I would imagine since he is employed by an ALPA represented carrier, the HIMS program took care of the recertification of his medical.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
JBAirwaysFan
Posts: 569
Joined: Sat May 23, 2009 11:17 pm

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:05 pm

Quoting TheCol (Reply 37):
The airline industry falls under federal jurisdiction.

Yeah, but the off-duty pilot does not.

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 42):
That's not accurate. While the state and local cops won't bust someone for marijuana possession or usage, there's nothing stopping a federal agent from making a bust.

Unless they are instructed not to enforce it within the states' borders, which very well may be the case since it doesn't violate state laws. The Federal Government would have intervened if they were going to choose to enforce it and blocked the law from taking effect. So to say it is not accurate is not accurate either.

There will have to be some adjustments made, IMO, to rules and regs, because these were also made when pot was illegal in all 50 states. Now that recreational use of pot is legal in 2 states (forget the fact that multiple airlines have crew bases in SEA and DEN), things will have to change.
When you're sober, you're sober. When you're stoned, you're stoned. Just like when you're drunk, you're drunk, and when you're sober, you're sober. Even though marijuana stays in your system for 30 days or so, it's in your blood, not your brain. You're not impaired 20 days after you use pot.
In Loving Memory of Casey Edward Falconer; May 16, 1992-May 9, 2012
 
mcdu
Posts: 963
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:21 pm

Quoting mmo (Reply 46):
I would imagine since he is employed by an ALPA represented carrier, the HIMS program took care of the recertification of his medical.

More great use of my dues dollars. . ALPA can't get items passed to help the majority of us that contribute yet they will do whatever it takes to get the users back in the cockpit.

Quoting mmo,reply=41Using your logic, I would say it is safe to assume you would favor termination of a pilot if they are stopped and subsequently convicted of a DUI/DWI? After all they have demonstrated lack of discipline and unprofessional behavior. :

Yes I think you get a DUI you lose your job/certificate. Before taking the first sip, smoking the first joint, popping the first pill the pilot knows it is wrong. The rules have not been dream against them. They are in place and have been for a very long time.

What if I have an "addiction" to Oreo's? I am going to ear them until I can wrap a seatbelt around my lap or fit through the cockpit door. Do I get do join HIMS and have vast amounts of money thrown at me to stop eating? I am sick and tired of having to pay for these programs with increased insurance premiums or decreased coverage. I have flown with EAP volunteers, guys that have been thriving the program themselves and not a one of them has been very good pilots. The brain dmamge incurred my allow functionality but it doesn't make them ideal to work in a cockpit.

Do you really want your family strapped into a cockpit with perhaps TWO drug/alcohol users/abusers that have been given the green light on a dark and stormy night? Personally I don't and with the HIMS program that is very much possible.

You say falling off the wagon is "very limited". Well when do you find out? When they show up for the hand holding class and pop a test? One of those monthly test that they go to while they have been actively flying. So they could be using and flying, not get caught until they go to one of the meetings correct? I am no HIMS expert because I am a me to decipher right from wrong I suppose.
 
User avatar
RWA380
Posts: 4681
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:51 am

RE: Horizon Air Sues To Keep Pot-puffing Pilot Fired

Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:25 pm

Quoting davescj (Reply 3):
However, it is simple: Pot is an illegal drug under federal law

It sure is, however states (ie...Washington) that have legalized it, are now going to get let off the hooks by the feds, when a very promising bill is finally set in place, it will have direct orders from the President himself, keeping Feds from going after and prosecuting those who are covered by a law on the state level, saving tons of resources for real criminals.

Quoting mmo (Reply 8):

Sorry, but as a Captain with many, many years of experience, I disagree. Chemical dependency is a very thorny issue. ALPA and the airlines in general have developed set procedures to help people who have issues. Termination will only encourage people to hide their problems rather than seeking help. The HIMS program has been going for a number of years with excellent results. Going back to the Dark Ages does nothing but drive the problem underground.

Well put, for a captain, you have an enlightened point of view, thanks for the perspective.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 9):
So what about the right of the public to not be flown by an impaired pilot?

If he had been flying imparred or "high" he should be terminated, just like a pilot coming to work, still smelling of alcohol from putting a few back the night before. As a person familiar with both substances, the effect of medicinal marijuana and booze is about the same length of time. If you are comfortable with a pilot flying your aircraft after a night of drinking, then pot smoking would be the same.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 9):
or driving on the same street as me or my loved ones.

Since a fair amount of the population in America has or currently uses marijuana I'd say chances are you drive next to people under that influence every day you take your car our, in most any major city across America.

Quoting traindoc (Reply 9):
the cat is out of the bag with pot as witnessed in places like Colorado. The rights of the pot smoker are going to trump those of the average citizen when it comes to freedom from harm

Nope, the freedoms of the medical marijuana user are going to finally become a non-issue here shortly. Americas opinion has shifted regarding this issue in the past ten years, the majority now support some level of legalization.
This means pot now becomes the same as alcohol, which is ok for pilots to use the day before, or during his off time.

Jiust so you are aware, and I've seen not one person saying this. The pilot suffers with a s.pecific type of back pain, this medical marijuana helps his pain, (would we be happier if he was taking oxycontin and flying?) Anyway, this pilot has stated, he NEVER flew "high", he NEVER flew even the day if he had an early departure. He passed drug tests before, he resides in a state where it is legal

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 11):
The statement is incorrect. The longest cannabis metabolites have been detected in the urine after last use was 31 days (IIRC... I might be off by a day or two). In most cases, it will be undetectable after 7-14 days. As for impairment of coordination and judgement, yes, during acute intoxication it can do that, but not to the degree that alcohol does. It's more of an impairment in awareness and focus. Of course, that is incompatible with being a commercial pilot all the same.

Thank you for squashing some of the ridiculous "Reefer Madness" thoughts that have popped up. A professional opinion is a great way of getting some to re-think their stance. Thanks again!

But if we're going to talk about pot, let's at least work with some facts, rather than popular myths

Reefer Madness, That is the largest hurdle that we will have to overcome in this country, so we can just legalize this shit, and get onto putting our resources into some real crime solving.

Quoting mmo (Reply 13):
However, the bottom line is they all result in impaired employees

Seems to be that everything the pilot said was indicating, that there would have been no impairment while he was on duty.

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 14):

You do not know that he was actually impaired. It is possible to test positive for THC for up to thirty days after last usage. I'm certainly not a doctor, but I have never heard of anyone being Impaired for that long, and the article is not that specific.

The local news KOIN 6 here in PDX, did dig a little deeper than this article, and he followed the rules of alcohol use in the cockpit.

Quoting HiFlyerAS (Reply 20):
nor people that are stoned driving a car down the freeway next to me

If you live in a suburban or downtown area of any city, it happens to you every time you drive on the road.

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
Few notes: Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington. If he is a Seattle-based pilot then his marijuana usage is perfectly legal so long as he does so within the borders of the State of Washington (or Colorado). No, he shouldn't be flying stoned and I feel that would be grounds for termination, but if the substance was just in his system then he shouldn't be fired based on the new laws as marijuana stays in your system for an extended period after usage

It does stay in your system a long time, but that of course is no indication of his impairment.

Quoting JBAirwaysFan (Reply 22):
I think AS and Horizon will probably have to update their policies to accommodate the new laws. Anyone with a Seattle crew base probably should (or Denver for that matter). If they are smoking the stuff off duty and with enough time to sober up before flying then I don't see any foul
Quoting infiniti329 (Reply 26):
Was he high or was just in his system? There is a difference between to the two.

Just in his system, and there are easy blood tests that can measure the THC in your system, that are sensitive enough to determine when you smoked, or ate it, and how much is in your system. Every state where it is legal, now has a measure that determines if you are getting a DUII or not, just like how much alcohol you can blow before you go, to jail.

Quoting mcdu (Reply 29):
Sorry, but recreational drug users have ZERO place in the cockpit. If he is a pilot he does not have the opportunity to get high on the weekends and then show up "sober" on Monday. This is a critical job, that describes critical thinking and responses. This guy is flying in the Pacific Northwest that has some of the most challenging weather around. In a CRM led cockpit environment you need BOTH pilots with their heads screwed on properly. In a dire situation this guys could have cost several lives with his lack of discipline and unprofessional behavior. Shame on him for allowing himself to venture down this path.


I say the same thing every time I see a pilot in an airport bar, just after flying a long flight. I bet we have pilots on meth, which stays a week in your system, or pilots with alcohol or who knows what else. Marijuana is the lesser of the evils. Ever hear of two guys sparking a doobie at a party, just to end up fighting and being obnoxious like a drunk?

Quoting ORDJOE (Reply 35):
I really do not have a problem with a pilot that puffs at home, it shows at least they have a stress outlet. Just because he pissed positive is no indication that he was high. Drug tests for the most part try to detect the metabolite(it is far easier to detect than the active ingredient), not the actual THC, so it has no indication whether he was high

They can measure how much THC in your system with a simple blood test, which will give them an idea of how high he may or may not be. He was not flying impaired. Your statement is well spoken and accurate, thanks for the right info.

Quoting TheCol (Reply 37):
Because he works in an industry with a one strike policy. If Horizon allows him to fly again, then they are setting a precedent for the entire industry

I hope that happens, at some point in our lifetime this will all be a non-issue, and pot like booze will be measured the same.

Quoting FlyDeltaJets (Reply 38):
As usual the a.net community is ready to throw anyone out on the street. This case is clear. Horizon had established procedures for substance abuse, they didn't like the outcome and now they are trying to use the courts to circumvent their own policies. This has nothing to do with whether you agree that the pilot should have his job back or not. This is a clear violation of Horizon of its own procedures and the courts should rule in the favor of the procedures which according to my understanding would be the reinstatement of the pilot. Also it says that the pilot successfully completed a treatment program as well.

Yes there Is a Jerry Falwell'esque tenor to many of the responses to the thread, your words are appreciated.

Quoting mmo (Reply 41):
I think you can not differentiate the difference between alcohol, drugs or any other substance when it comes to dependency

It is sad, people (pilots included) get stuck in life, I think everyone deserves help if they need and want it. Or maybe this pilot is not different than other pilots I've known in my past, he just got caught.
707, 717, 720, 727-1/2, 737-1/2/3/4/5/7/8/9, 747-1/2/3/4, 757, 767-2/3/4, 777, DC-8-5/6/7, DC-9-1/3/5, MD-80/2/3/7/8, DC-10-10/30/40, MD-11, F-27, F-28, SWM, J31, D38, DH7, DH8, DH4 SD-330, B-146, L-1011-2/500, ATR-42/72, VCV, A-300/310/318/319/320, CR2/7

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos