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America West Airline crew arrested KMIA

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Well-known member
Jun 25, 2002
Pilot, First Officer Arrested Just Before Take Off - Ground Crew Members Say They Smelled Of Alcohol

Posted: 3:05 p.m. EDT July 1, 2002

Updated: 4:42 p.m. EDT July 1, 2002

MIAMI -- Police arrested a pilot and first officer just before take off from Miami International Airport. Miami-Dade police made the arrests Monday afternoon after ground crew workers reported smelling alcohol on the pilot and officer.

The America West flight was preparing for take off from Miami to Phoenix. The tug was still attached to the plane as it was being moved into position.

Federal Aviation Authority officials say that they are aware of the complaint against the pilot and first officer, and have begun an investigation.

The plane was grounded at MIA as part of the investigation.

Watch Channel 10 News beginning at 5 p.m. for more on this developing story. If you can't be near a television, watch the 5 p.m. news live on Click10.
Mistakes can happen; people can be misidentified. Wouldn't it be a shame if a perfectly innocent crew got railroaded with publicity and investigation over something they didn't do?

I don't know if this crew was drinking. I don't know anything beyond what was posted. I do know that a drink might be spilled nearby, or someone might set a uniform coat inadvertantly on a chair or table where a drink might be spilled. The smell permeates the air around the wearer...one might mistakenly assume that the individual has been drinking.

BAC tests will be done. The crew questioned. The "system" will do it's thing. Hopefully it can happen before crewmember names get plastered on the front page in an effort to extract sensation from someone's life, at the expense of their career.

Certainly if the ground crew had reason to believe that the flight crew was intoxicated, they should have reported the matter (although I would submit that there are better and worse ways of going about it). However...where does one begin and end in such situations. In most such types of situations, I'd sooner see it handled at the company level than via the law enforcement or the FAA.
Just heard it on the news... Looks like they were tested for alcohol and tested above the legal limits... Already facing major charges against them. OUCH!
A loyal pet monkey would have bitten the arresting officers, thereby defending the hapless crew against the immediate effects of their own stupidity. Unless of course it was the monkey that was drunk. I've known more than a few cockpit crew who could be confused with a monkey.
just saw the story on NBC nightly news....not good for any of us!!

My question, not being an airline pilot, how would the FA's missed this? Don't they have to directly communicate with the pilots about SOMETHING before every flight?


Nope, the official rule is no drinking within 50' and no smoking within 8 hours. ;)

Pilots already identified in the paper.

Two pilots arrested after allegedly being drunk in the cockpit
By Luisa Yanez
[email protected]

Two pilots who allegedly were about to fly 124 passengers to Phoenix while drunk were ordered back to the gate, removed from the cockpit of an America West jetliner at Miami International Airport Monday morning, then arrested.

Police said both had enough alcohol in their blood to flunk a drunk driving test. They were about to take off in an Airbus 314. They were charged with three counts each of being inebriated behind the wheel of an aircraft.

They were identified as XXXXX, 45, the pilot, and and co-pilot XXXXX, 41, both of Gilbert, Ariz.

With the crew hauled away, the passengers were left stranded on the Tarmac for over an hour. They were eventually flown by America West and other carriers to their destinations.

The pilots' destination was the Miami-Dade County Jail
Well...let's see...an Airbus 314? And arrested for being drunk behind the wheel of an aircraft. I believe that they have a solid defense on that charge. An Airbus has no wheel.

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