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fat-g4
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Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:58 pm

The California Highway Patrol’s airborne officers usually fly over highways to survey ground traffic, but on Tuesday, officers dealt with a concern closer to home: a man flying his plane while allegedly intoxicated.

Two CHP air officers were patrolling Highway 37 in Sonoma County around 4 p.m. when they noticed a small, blue and gold, single-engine sport plane flying dangerously low to the ground — an estimated 50 feet when regulations require at least 500.

Officers followed the plane, a 2011 Aerotrek, until it landed at Petaluma Municipal Airport. Officers were talking to the pilot and owner, a 62-year-old man, when they noticed alcohol on his breath, said CHP flight Officer Jeff Moring.

Field sobriety tests indicated the pilot was drunk. He was arrested on suspicion of reckless flying and operating an aircraft under the influence. His name has not been released.


Link Here:

http://blog.sfgate.com/crime/2012/01...ld-on-suspicion-of-drunken-flying/
 
aa61hvy
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:11 pm

I live a mile from the Petaluma airport. This whole thing is odd.

He is claiming he was drinking in the hangar when he got back, as a celebratory thing. Said he was sober flying, but drunk when the cops arrived.

I've seen this plane before, the dude loves doing relatively low altitude steep turns over the area I live.
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fat-g4
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:55 pm

Wish it would say what day it was. Im always in Petaluma myself! seeing him at 50 feet is unsafe, but would be cool to see!
 
BMI727
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:24 pm

Interesting story. Just out of curiosity, how much jurisdiction would the CHP have in a case like this? Obviously they can report him to the FAA, but is there anything beyond that they could do other than a public intoxication or whatever the equivalent is? Granted, he's screwed either way, but who gets to do the honors?
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fat-g4
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:08 pm

Look at link below. Look like CA DOT has some Penal Code laws. I'm not sure. See if this helps.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/planning/ae...cuments/EnforcementAeronautics.pdf
 
Valkariye
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:17 am

Is this the first case of someone being "pulled over" for an FUI?
 
wagz
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:27 pm

Quoting Valkariye (Reply 5):
Is this the first case of someone being "pulled over" for an FUI?

In early January 2004 a man did the same thing here in the Philadelphia area. My very limited Google search reveals he was flying PTW (Pottstown Limerick) to ACY, but I could have sworn he was actually landing at PTW.

Long story short, he was flying while intoxicated and flew straight through the PHL Class B airspace and straight through the final to PHL. From what I heard he cut off a 757.

Upon further research I found a PA Courts document online detailing his actions. He apparently lingered for 4 hours in the PHL Class B. The first 4 pages detail the events that took place: http://www.courts.state.pa.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a25035_05.pdf
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notaxonrotax
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:54 pm

Bummer..........
Cops in the sky.

One of the things I love is flying over highways and look at the the speed traps etc, that I know far too well.
I guess I have to be worried in the air now too.
Is it legal to fly and have a handheld cellphone conversation?


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SEPilot
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:25 pm

Every state has rules prohibiting operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; it would depend on how the statutes are worded as to whether they could be applied to aircraft. In any case the FAA will be EXTREMELY interested, and will likely not care who makes the arrest, as they have relatively few inspectors of their own. The FAA standards are also quite a bit stricter than any state standard, and so if the pilot is in trouble with the state he will be with the FAA. There is also the matter that under state laws DUI is a criminal offense, while with the FAA it is a regulatory infraction with the penalty loss or suspension of the pilot's license as the only penalty. This requires much less proof (and is much more flexible about who can make the charge) than a criminal matter. States back up DUI laws with severe penalties, including big fines and jail time. The FAA can only yank your license (which the states can do to drivers as well, but cannot do to pilots as pilots licenses are strictly federal.) So the real question is can the state toss the offending pilot in jail.
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Maverick623
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:50 pm

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 8):
Every state has rules prohibiting operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; it would depend on how the statutes are worded as to whether they could be applied to aircraft.

Every state also has laws specifically prohibiting operating aircraft under the influence.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 8):
In any case the FAA will be EXTREMELY interested, and will likely not care who makes the arrest, as they have relatively few inspectors of their own.

The FAA does not handle the criminal aspect of these cases. They only dole out civil penalties, in addition to being able to permanently revoke certificates. If it's something that qualifies for jail time, local authorities and/or the FBI will get involved.
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Revelation
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RE: Man Held On Suspicion Of Drunken Flying

Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:16 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
Interesting story. Just out of curiosity, how much jurisdiction would the CHP have in a case like this? Obviously they can report him to the FAA, but is there anything beyond that they could do other than a public intoxication or whatever the equivalent is? Granted, he's screwed either way, but who gets to do the honors?

I did some googling and found:

http://www.dui.com/dui-library/pilots

which is a case where a judge threw out a state DUI conviction due to federal juristiction.

I googled my state laws and it had very expansive definitions for "boat" and "off highway recreational vehicle" but did not mention aircraft anywhere.

However, googling:

http://www.google.com/search?q=opera...+under+the+influence+in+california

did bring up many articles saying CA state law covers FUI.

Also the thread starter says:

Quoting fat-g4 (Thread starter):
He was arrested on suspicion of reckless flying and operating an aircraft under the influence.

So it seems CA must have such laws on its books.

Quoting NOTAXONROTAX (Reply 7):
I guess I have to be worried in the air now too.

You should always be worried in the air. Complacency will kill you.

Otherwise, I think you're overracting. It's not like we're going to have flying gestapo swarming the airways. Jerks like this dude tend to be self-eliminating.

I'm happy that fellow aviators that happened to be cops cared enough to track this jerk down before he did self-eliminate in some sort of spectacular fashion.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 8):
In any case the FAA will be EXTREMELY interested, and will likely not care who makes the arrest, as they have relatively few inspectors of their own.

Indeed. FAA rules require the pilot to report to the FAA any conviction under state alcohol laws, so one way or another he will fall under their scrutiny.
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