gordonsmall
Posts: 2106
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2001 1:52 am

Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 10:26 pm

Hi Guys,

The recent alleged "drunk-flying" incident in Scandinavia involving three BA crewmembers has got me thinking once again about alcohol limits in relation to flying.

Flying an airplane, be it a Cherokee 140 or a B747, as we all know is a position of extreme responsibility. In an airplane the lives of many people, both onboard and on the ground, are almost solely dependent on the guys on the flightdeck - and passengers expect that they are competent and in a fit state to carry out their duties. But at what point can a crew be considered "unfit" to carry out their work to a safe level?

In the same sense driving a car is an equally responsible position - again the lives of the people in the car, on the street and in other cars on the road are dependent on one persons ability to drive competently and safely. When I get in my car in the morning I don't need an ATC clearance to pull out of the driveway, but I have the same responsibilities to any passengers I may be carrying in my car, and to the general public as I have had so far in my head-spinning 3 hours aloft in a PA-28-140. Whilst my humble Vauxhall Cavalier might have to keep it's Bridgestone's firmly on the ground - it weighs 1200kg, has a modified 2 litre turbocharged engine that develops 320 BHP, and can accelerate from 0-60 in around 5 secs and tops out at over 160 mph - it could do a serious amount of damage if I wasn't careful even if I was sober (and my insurance company remind me of it every 12 months), I don't even want to think about what it could do with a stressed out, short tempered driver with 10 pints inside him!

Alcohol/Driving regulations vary from country to country, here in the UK I can go to the Pub and drink 1.5 pints of average strength lager or beer and still be legal to get in my car and drive. Yet if I want to fly an airplane, as far as I know I can have no more than about 1/2 a pint of the same lager or beer in my body.

In the case of the BA crew their (company) regulations state that no alcohol is to be consumed in the 8 hours prior to flight, so let's say for instance that a BA crew is laying over in Germany and have an 0800z departure back to London Heathrow, you are to be a passenger on that flight and at 2300z the previous night you see two guys leaving the local bar and you recall (for some strange reason) that they arrived at about 2130z and drank 5 bottles of beer each before leaving. At 0730z the next morning you see the same two guys dressed in pilots uniforms boarding your aircraft and entering the flightdeck - are you going to depart on that flight, or make up some excuse and wait for the next one?

I suspect a few people might decide they can wait a few hours, but then again the crew have followed company procedure by stopping drinking more than 8 hours in advance, and given that in 8 hours an average human can metabolize the equivalent of 4 bottles of beer they are more likely than not going to be within the UK alcohol limitations. Is it perhaps more the psychological perception of a crew being "out on the town" that worries people more than the actual alcohol content of their bloodstream.

Another aspect that I often hear mentioned is the concept of the dreaded "hangover". Many of you will remember the documentary a few years ago which profiled several BA crews who were filmed by an undercover journalist partying whilst on layovers in places such as Barcelona and Frankfurt. If I remember correctly one of the main points made in the program was that the flight crew were allegedly "hungover" whilst flying the return leg the next day and highlighted the dangers of their condition in the event of an emergency. To illustrate the point the makers of the program travelled to the USA and took the three man flight crew of a 727, who admitted to drinking very rarely and in small quantities, stuck them in a hotel room and fed them vodka and orange juice of all things until they were deemed to have consumed as much in vodka as one of the BA crews had in beer. The next morning they woke them up after the same sleep period as the BA crew had been estimated to have had, breathalised them and stuck them in a 727 simulator and started throwing emergencies at them - in the end the captain turned out to be completely useless and was by his own admission incapable of flying the airplane and the F/O unwittingly made a visual approach to the wrong airfield. However, was it fair to compare 3 americans who by their own admission very rarely drank alcohol to a couple of British pilots to whom in their culture "going out for a few pints" is probably at least a weekly occurence? And is it fair to compare the after effects of a few pints enjoyed over several hours to the binge drinking of vodka?

I'm certainly not advocating flying while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but the recent events have given me cause to think about my own attitude towards alcohol. Apart from one act of drunken mindless stupidity a few months after my 18th birthday I have always considered myself to be the sort of person who would never knowingly drive whilst over the legal alcohol limit, but it occured to me recently that "whilst over the legal alcohol limit" was not the same as "not drink and drive". I have always considered myself to be responsible by ensuring that I stick to the legal limit of 1.5 pints of lager before I "tie up the horse" for the night if I'm planning a "heavy session". But how responsible is it to drive (or fly) with any alcohol in your body above natural levels? And if I consider it ok to drive while just below the legal limit is it ok to nip down the pub for a pint of shandy before I head off on a 2 hour solo XC? For some reason I don't feel quite as comfortable with the idea of flying while under the influence as I do with driving while under the influence.

I'm hoping we can have a healthy, respectful discussion about this rather that turn it into the flame war that has appeared on numerous other sites recently regarding this issue.

So, what's pilots opinions on flying while under the influence, whether it be a small amount or otherwise - and do you think any differently about driving under the same circumstances?

Any other opinions on the matter or anything related?

Regards,
Gordon.

[Edited 2003-11-12 14:33:30]
Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
 
Ikarus
Posts: 3391
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:27 pm

The BA regulation also states that no alcohol may be left in the blood, according to the BBC - the 8 hours prior thing is a guideline, the eventual criteria to be measured against is not habing alcohol left in the bloodstream.

Personally, I'd upgrade the 8 hour guideline to 24 hours. Why? quite frankly, zero alcohol is exactly what should be in a pilot's blood while flying. Not 0.02% or 0.01%, but zero.

Why? Well, the responsibility is a factor. Then there's reaction time: any amount of alcohol in the bloodstream increases the time it takes to react to any given event. While flying at 800 km/h, I think it conservative to say that all delays in reaction time should be kept to an absolute minimum. Imagine for a moment the scenario of the two planes that collided above the Bodensee a few years back (a Russian Tupolev and a DHL 757) due to a combination of ATC errors and pilots following ATC instead of TCAS. Imagine the thing had taken place in daylight instead of at night. The pilots would have been able to see the other plane - and the reaction and flightpath. They might have been able to manually intervene. At that point, I want their reaction time to be as damn low as possible!

I will also say, however, that I think the legal alcohol limit for driving is about 4 times higher than I would like it to be. Because everything that is true for pilots, as you point out, is also true for drivers - the only difference being scale (speed, number of lives directly influenced, etc.)

But admittedly, I'm not the best person to judge this, as I don't drink, ever, and therefore lack the experience to be able to ascertain how severe the influence of alcohol is. Still, if someone wants to be a pilot, then as far as I'm concerned, it's part of their job to be absolutely sober, and not under the influence of alcohol, or aftereffects of alcohol, at all, while flying.

Regards

Ikarus
 
saintsman
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:45 pm

The rules on alchohol which the pilots obide by are very simple and unlike some rules, well known.

Pilots are paid a good wage to account for their skills and also their responsibility. If they choose to break the rules then they can have no complaints.

However it is probably not as black and white as it seems and if you give a pilot that responsibility you must give him the oportunity to use it. I think that they know when to stop drinking and doubt that any of them get hammered up to the point of meeting the 8 hour rule (or what ever it is) and then have no more. They are not deliberately going to put themselves and their passengers in danger and I imagine that 99.9% of pilots know where to draw the line.

Unfortunately I expect that the BA crew will get fired for PR reasons, even if they have met the rules. I understand that it was a member of the crew that reported them. Were they guenuinely concerned or was a case of settling a score? Who really knows.


 
Staffan
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 2:53 am

I think I've read rules saying no alcohol left in the blood 8 hours before the flight. If it isn't a rule, it should be.

Staffan
 
Rick767
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 3:03 am

Alcohol and flying... subject comes up every 18 months or so in the UK whenever something like this happens.

I do believe personally that not enough is done (in the UK at least) to ensure adherence to the alcohol laws when it comes to aircrew, all of whom perform safety-critical functions in the way Gordon described.

Naming no names or airlines, I know pilots (B757) who have been under the influence whilst flying, and I know of some senior Captains in airlines whose attitude is to brush it under the carpet and hope no-one notices. Slap on the wrists and "Don't let it happen again Joe"....

Whilst I can never prove it now, I myself have flown with a Captain whom I considered "under the influence". Did I challenge him? No. Should I have? Damn right. But life for a 700 hour First Officer sat alongside a man with far more seniority and experience is just not that simple. A young whisleblower could soon become "surplus to requirements".

Does that excuse the potential risk to safety for those passengers that day? Absolutely not. When I recall the situation now my cowardly reaction disgusts me. Today my attitude faced with the same situation would certainly not be so ignorant.

Gordon raises an interesting point regarding attitudes to drinking and driving, and those to flying and driving.

Have I ever been on flight duty myself, above the legal alcohol limit? Certainly not, not knowingly anyway.

Have I ever got into a car and driven above the legal alcohol limit? Let's be honest... sadly, I probably have. That dinner party with friends on a Friday night when we couldn't be bothered to order a taxi... that glass of wine with dinner which, when topped up, ended up being a couple of large glasses. Oh... and that beer I accepted when we arrived too...

Often these thoughts are made in hindsight, was I over the limit? Doesn't matter now... didn't get stopped. The wrong attitude entirely I know, but nonetheless the most common one.

This is a completely different mentality than that I apply to alcohol and flight duty which is 8 hours (legal limit) plus a sensible timescale when larger than normal amounts have been consumed (my current airline makes no recommendation but at my previous airline they recommended extension of the 8 hours to 24 hours whenever significant quantities had been consumed).

I will have a glass of red wine with dinner, or maybe a beer in front of the TV the evening before a morning flight - sure, but absolutely no more. We are talking a good 10 hours prior to duty here, as I tend to plan for at least 8 hours sleep before morning flights anyway.

There is no way on earth that I will go out drinking heavy quantities until the early hours before a morning flight, even if an 8 hour gap still existed.

With regard to consumption of "small amounts" and flying, an interesting study was conducted some time ago by the UK CAA in a Simulator with just normal line operations simulated (no emergencies) and a standard 2 man crew.

Various crews were tested with differing levels of alcohol in their system, and comparison was made with their "sober" operation.

Astoundingly, the test revealed that even with half the legal UK drink-drive limit, a significant increase in errors was made by the crews even in the most simple tasks.

Frightening.

Drinking and flying? Limit should be zero, I agree. Remember "zero" is recordable here, if you consume alcohol there will actually be traces of it in your system for 3 days.

Returning to my original comments, the attitude in the UK remains unacceptable. In Amsterdam you can be spot checked on the flightdeck by inspectors with a breathalyser, Norway seems the same. A pro-active approach to be commended, surely?

In 4 years of flying airliners in the UK, I have yet to have my blood alcohol levels tested. Is it not about time we got a bit more tough about this?

Or shall we brush it under the carpet and let people forget.... for another 18 months at least.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
n844aa
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 3:18 am

I'm certainly not an expert in these matters, but I recall reading that here in the U.S. there is a rehabilitation program for pilots who are found to be under the influence before a flight.

Two questions: If this program exists, what are the specifics of it? I imagine it's some pretty intensive counseling and frequent testing for years afterwards. Secondly, is there such a program in the U.K.?

To me it sounds as though a combination of zero tolerance and a second chance program might be an ideal sort of solution. I'm curious to hear comments of people more qualified to make an assessment.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
mandala499
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 4:29 am

I've driven drunk before (where it is legal to do so)... it was scary, even when you're trying to be careful... it was hard enough driving, if I was flying, I wouldn't be able to type here right now.

If your company states a certain drinking rule and the law does so too, follow them... if no such rules exist, just don't push your luck... that's how I put it...

On how much alcohol is permitted in one's blood when flying, well I'm not an expert. Unfortunately these rules and laws came in because there were a few people who had to spoil it for everyone...

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
pilotpip
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:24 am

The regs here in the US state no more than a .02 blood alcohol content. In most states the legal limit for driving a car is .08 or .10. With that much on the line in the back of the plane, I think that a zero tolerance rule is pretty much the only safe bet. Alcohol affects everybody differently, but FL330 with 220 pax in the back at .80mach is no time to find out what it does to you.

Also consider that cabin altitude of most aircraft is around 8,000 feet at cruising altitude. A lower concentration of oxygen in the air means the alcohol has a greater effect.
DMI
 
Ops48
Posts: 61
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:26 am

Actually, FAR 91.17 states:

(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft --
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;

(2) While under the influence of alcohol;

(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or

(4) While having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.

A pilot can be judged to be under the influnce while having a blood alcohol content of less than .04 percent, so zero tolerance is pretty much the interpretation in the U.S.
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2820
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:38 am

Man, I need to start studying my regs again. This is the second time I've done this in a couple weeks. I'm getting complacent.  Insane
DMI
 
SkyGuy11
Posts: 532
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 1:11 pm

I think a big thing is the fact that flying involves so much more than driving.

Driving is left, right, fast, slow. Radio if ya got it.

Flying is up, down, left, right, yaw left or right, throttle, mixture, prop, gear, switch tanks, talk to ATC, etc...
.
 
dragogoalie
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RE: If An Airline Was A Woman

Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:49 pm

I would like to point out that a hangover counts as being under the effects of Alcohol.

--dragogoalie-#88--
Formerly known as Jap. Srsly. AUSTRALIA: 2 days!
 
gordonsmall
Posts: 2106
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:31 pm

I would like to point out that a hangover counts as being under the effects of Alcohol.

That would be a difficult one for the feds to prove in most cases - you can still have a killer of a hangover even though your blood alcohol content has dropped to normal levels, I have been breathalised by police on a couple of occasions where I was suffering pretty badly from the day before, but had a zero alcohol reading on the breath test.

Regards,
Gordon.
Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
 
Rick767
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Thu Nov 13, 2003 7:01 pm

Indeed, a hangover is simply dehydration and does not constitute any blood alcohol level. I agree it's not a good idea to fly whilst suffering from a hangover, but it is not forbidden.

On my 6th sector of a 6-sector day approaching Gatwick having been on duty 11 hours in and out of the bumpy clouds and pouring rain on a November day, having had about 5 hours poor sleep awaking at 4am for duty I am pretty damn fatigued and so is the Captain. Not a sensible condition to operate an aircraft with 120 passengers either, but again not forbidden.

We just hope we don't get that V1 engine failure on that last flight of the day.

(p.s. if you are wondering, I was not exaggerating the above duty, I did in fact do exactly that a couple of weeks ago - LGW-EDI-LGW-AMS-EDI-AMS-LGW  Nuts).
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
ScooterTrash
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:54 am

Where to draw the line on alcohol?

For me it is simple... I don't, period! I do not drink anywhere near to 24 hours before flying. That means I get to enjoy my beloved Maker's Mark Bourbon allot less, but so be it. I do not want my faculties impaired in the least when I fly, the job is challenging enough.

Besides, flying with a hangover sucks! I did it a long time ago, and I have never felt so nasty in my entire life.
 
liamksa
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:20 pm

From my recent human factors studies the problem is aswell that even with a BAC of zero there can still be alcohol in the brain cells 24 hours after ingestion. If any of the above is illegible it's because i'm hungover Big grin ha!
take care
 
Guest

RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:54 pm

Question to US air carrier (FAR 121) flight crewmembers -
xxx
Friends, could some of you verify this -
Apparently FAA does not subject US crews for alcohol tests at random (as done in the USA) while these crews are on duty "overseas". This apparently because "foreign tests" are not performed to "FAA standards" and there is, (said ALPA probably) a risk that such tests could doubtful as to accuracy...
xxx
I was informed of this last week here at the Sheraton bar in Buenos Aires, as I was visiting a friend with xxx airline (USA), as we had a beer together, and I had asked him what is airline's policy was... He told me that he would not be subject to a test here in Argentina, because of such provision.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
cancidas
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:15 pm

8 hours bottle to throttle, minimum.
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
Guest

RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 1:26 pm

Please note by the way that the 8 hours rule (USA) as per FAR 91 does not apply to many US FAR 121 air carriers. With PanAm we had a 12 hours rule. Most airlines outside the USA observe an 8 hours rule...
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
OE-LDA
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:03 pm

Considering that the average body degrades only 0.01 percent of blood alcohol per hour the 8 hour rule seems to be far to short for me. I personally strictly obey 12 hours, and after heavy drinking I would at least go for 24 hours (considering the hangover).

Regards OE-LDA
I am totally missing basics and clueless about airline flying!
 
707CMF
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 7:12 pm

I tend to have a 10~12 hours rule.

If I am flying the afternoon, no alchool at noon (okay, I drank a small martini that Sunday, but I ate a lot afterwards, and drank no wine at the despair of my hosts).

If I am flying the morning after, roughly the same rule.

As of driving, I try to moderate myself as well and probably never did a DUI (also Influence for me would be much lower than the legal limit good thing o know one's limitations... )

707
 
UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 7:22 pm

and probably never did a DUI
...how about last year's barbecue at CMF ? lucky for you the vauxhall knew it's way home lol Big grin !
Will
Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
 
707CMF
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Fri Nov 14, 2003 7:28 pm

and probably never did a DUI
...how about last year's barbecue at CMF ? lucky for you the vauxhall knew it's way home lol !


Nope, remember, I drank next to nothing that day, being the designated driver...

707
 
fly727
Posts: 1752
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sat Nov 15, 2003 11:12 am

As Cancidas said.... 8 hours from bottle to throttle.
I draw my line not having any alcohol at least 12-15 hours before any flight. The regs are written for something so I don't make and follow my own rules unless they help me stay in the safe side -that is, only when they are more strict than what it is published in the book.

RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
backfire
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sun Nov 16, 2003 9:30 pm

Part of the problem is that alcohol consumption has two primary effects. Everyone knows that it reduces your reaction times, ability to judge, and your overall performance. But it also has a more sinister effect - it increases your confidence, which serves to counter your common sense when it comes to performing a task. Which is why so many people end up drinking and driving.
 
beechcraft
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Mon Nov 17, 2003 1:37 am

German law is no drinking 8 hrs before flying and 0 percent blood alcohol at check in time. Lufthansas own rules extended this to 12 hrs "from bottle to throttle". I´m not sure if JAR Rules now say 10 hrs, I´ll have to check.
It should be easy to obey these rules.
That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college!
 
musang
Posts: 788
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 10:47 pm

As an update, the two BA pilots resigned, so draw your own conclusions from that.

Unfortunate for them, as individuals, to be the fall guys, but a periodic reality check hopefully gets the rest thinking. The FO is 26 years old, and has kissed goodbye to a career with what is considered the Holy Grail of airline employers here in the UK. An incredible decision on his part, and that's what it was. No-one forces anyone to drink, its purely voluntary. Sympathy? Zero.

Regards - Musang
 
Rick767
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Wed Dec 03, 2003 3:06 am

Musang,

Indeed - sympathy zero. But kissed goodbye to a career? Doubt it. A bit of what the CAA defines as "re-hab" and the medical will be re-instated (if it was even revoked that is) and at 26 years of age he will almost definately secure employment again, particularly with the chronic shortage of qualified pilots in the booming low-cost airlines sector.

There are around 15 cases a year in the UK where a pilot medical is revoked due to an alcohol related incident while on duty, or due to alcoholism. In the vast majority of cases these pilots return to flying duty again once the medical is re-instated. We had more than one pilot in BY who fell into this category whilst I was there.

He won't fly for BA again of course, but his flying career is unlikely to be over for a few decades to come.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
meister808
Posts: 924
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Mon Dec 08, 2003 2:04 pm

My flight school imposes a 12-hour rule, and I find that to be a pretty effective deterrent, because if you have a flight anytime in the morning or early afternoon you are seriously going to need to watch what you consume, and therefore normally just don't do it.

On another note, I was taught that if you are ill and you have had alcohol in the recent past you are in violation of 91.17, which means that, yes, hangovers count.

N844AA:
I know, after hearing Capt. Lyle Prouse speak (he blew 91.17 about 10 years ago on a NWA flight from Fargo, ND to MSP) that most US majors have a program in place for rehab, and that the airline rehab programs are some of the best in the country, so much so that they serve as examples for other non-aviation rehab centers, too. I think the published success rate out of airline rehab is something like 90%, whereas for all other alcohol rehab programs in the country it is between 15-20%. That is a fairly telling statistic, not only to the quality of the programs but to the dedication of the pilots to fighting alchoholism.

-Meister
Twin Cessna 812 Victor, Minneapolis Center, we observe your operation in the immediate vicinity of extreme precipitation
 
musang
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Tue Dec 09, 2003 11:59 pm

Rick 767

Agreed; what I meant was his BA career was over.

The examples you mentioned in BY - did they fly for BY again?

Regards - Musang
 
FredT
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:32 am

I was taught no drinking what so ever 8 hours before flying, and legally sober enough to drive for 24 hours prior to flying. In Sweden, the DIU limit is 0.2 promille, mass (0.02%).

I haven't checked the regs, as I think those are sensible rules that I won't even go near messing with. I for one won't fly for a few days after getting drunk enough to have a hangover. You are indeed worse for wear for that long.

If you ever get the chance, sit down in front of a high fidelity racing simulator and drive until you have consistent lap times. Then continue driving, and have a few cold ones. You'll likely be amazed at your lap times rising dramatically way before you'd think you're anywhere near intoxicated. You'll be hitting the walls when you only have a ligh buzz.

A very sobering, if you pardon the pun, experience.

Cheers,
Fred



[Edited 2003-12-09 16:40:39]
I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
 
Happy-flier
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sun Dec 14, 2003 7:51 am

I have always had a very simple approach to drinking and flying - even as a passenger! I never drink when I'm flying as a passenger, since the excitement of the flight is the main attraction! Why ruin that or dull it with alcohol? While I don't have my PPL yet, my personal policy would be the same: give it at least 24 hrs. between drinking anything and flying (for simplicity's sake, I wouldn't bother to modify this based on quantity consumed). It's worth noting that I say this as someone who has a hobby interest in wine and winemaking, so I don't count myself as one of those "anti-alcohol" types.
May the wind be always at your back . . . except during takeoff & landing.
 
gordonsmall
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sun Dec 21, 2003 3:55 am

I heard rumours today that the alcohol content from the blood test of at least one of the pilots involved in the BA Oslo incident came back negative, but that the test results only became available after they had resigned due to pressure from BA over public relations damage. Is there any truth to this?

Regards,
Gordon.
Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
 
sccutler
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RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:19 pm

I had an interesting experience a couple of years ago (immediately after the America West drunk pilots incident in Florida).

We were in Cancun on holiday (drinking to excess, but after all, neither driving nor flying); and on a bus, struck up a conversation with a couple of pilots who (as it turned out) were laying over in CUN. They (along with the cabin crew) were out to supper (and appeared to be fine, by the way).

When I asked them to comment on the HP pilots' incident (recall both HP pilots blew in excess of 0.08), these pilots (happened to fly for an aairline which will not be naamed here...) roundly condemned the authorities for questioning the fitness for duty of the two HP pilots, and observed that inasmuch as those pilots had been Air Force pilots, they were fully capable of flying flat stoned better than most pilots sober.

Of course, one of 'em also laughed off the idea that A320 drivers were "pilots" at all, but that's another thread for another day.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Tue Dec 23, 2003 6:21 am

Where to draw the line?

Early! And absolutely.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
IMissPiedmont
Posts: 6200
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 12:58 pm

RE: Alcohol And Flying - Where To Draw The Line?

Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:29 pm

The line is far below what the regs say. I could sit here tonight and drink a 6 pack and in 8 hours be below .04 BAC. Would I be competent to fly an airplane? Not by the hairs on your chins!

To the last one, every pilot I know will not drink more than a glass of wine or 1 beer within 24 hours of duty and that with a meal.

A BAC of .04 is enough to get you arrested driving a car, why should it be acceptable for pilots? It should be cause for instant termination.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.

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