America West pilots to the pokey

miles otoole

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"Hey Beavis, do you know why they call it the slammer?"

"They also contended they were not in control of their Airbus 319 carrying 117 passengers and crew because it was being towed by a ground crew when police ordered the jet back to the gate."

I guess they had a point- to say the Airbus really flies itself.


Updated: 07:34 PM EDT
Two Pilots Sent to Prison for Drunkenness
By JOHN PAIN, AP
MIAMI (July 21) - Two airline pilots who got behind the controls while drunk drew sentences Thursday of 2 1/2 years and five years in prison.

Thomas Cloyd, 47, of Peoria, Ariz., and co-pilot Christopher Hughes, 44, of Leander, Texas, settled into the cockpit of a Phoenix-bound America West jetliner in 2002 after a night of heavy drinking at a sports bar. They were arrested before the plane took off but after it had pushed away from the gate.

They were later fired, and were found guilty June 8 of operating an aircraft while drunk.

Cloyd was sentenced to five years in prison. Circuit Judge David Young said he had no sympathy for Cloyd, who had been on probation for an alcohol-related offense just months before his arrest.

Hughes was ordered to serve 2 1/2 years behind bars.

Prosecutors had recommended four years for Cloyd and three for Hughes, sentences that defense attorneys said were too harsh because no one got hurt.

The judge could not hide his disdain for either of them: "What were you thinking of?"

"What you did was absolutely wrong," he said.

The pilots had been at the bar up until about six hours before their departure time; federal rules say pilots cannot drink in the eight hours before a flight. Police stepped in after screeners smelled alcohol on their breath.

Tested hours later, their blood-alcohol levels were above Florida's 0.08 percent limit for drunken driving, which includes aircraft, according to testimony. Their levels were probably much higher when they were in the cockpit, the experts said.

Testimony showed that Cloyd and Hughes ran up a $122 tab and drank seven 34-ounce glasses and seven 16-ounce glasses of beer over six hours at the bar. At dinner before that, they had wine and Cloyd drank a martini, prosecutors said.

The pilots had argued at trial that they were not drunk. The also contended they were not in control of their Airbus 319 carrying 117 passengers and crew because it was being towed by a ground crew when police ordered the jet back to the gate.

Prosecutor Hillah Katz called that argument "an insult."

At the sentencing, the pilots' attorneys said their clients had taken steps to fight their alcoholism and asked the judge to be lenient.

Cloyd's lawyer said the pilot was having marital problems before his arrest and was still distraught by the death of his father in a plane crash years earlier.

Hughes' family declined to comment while leaving the courthouse. When reporters asked Cloyd's wife, Debbie, what she thought of the sentence, she would only say: "Haven't you people had enough?"
 

Cactus73

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I'm not defending what they did, they deserve some sort of jail/punishment.

BUT...They were willing to plead guilty in exchange for 14 months in prison. The prosecutor went along with the deal, but the judge rejected the agreement.

They were forced to court and their lawyers had to put on a defense. For the prosecutor to mock their defense after they were willing to plead guilty is pure grandstanding for the TV cameras.

The judge also lectured Cloyd as if he was a kid getting punished for stealing another kids lunch money. I expect more professionalism from a judge.

Also, isn't anyone bothered that the pilots were convicted in State court for a Federal offense?
 

pilothouston123

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Is revocation of thier pilots license and never being able to touch the sky again punishment enough? Not really, but that is like being inprisoned for life without the possiblilty of parole.
 

LearLove

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I am also not defending these guys but I have to say, this is a big example of general society not understanding aviation.

OK these guys were operating impared but far worse things (read unsafe) happen every day in this bizz (leagal and unlegal).

He!! Landing 35 in PHL while they are using 27R is far more chancy than 2 pilots operating alittle inpared. How about working 14 plus hour days back to back (or more) with 8 hours of flying. Perfectly legal but we all know how useless we are in the cockpit when were burnt. Back when i flew a hard line at ALG I flew alot (some because I did use alot of sick time and some because I sometimes picked up flying) but in the summer when it's hot and you approach 100 hours per month I was almost useless some days. And my life outside of work is easy (no kids not married and I lived 5 min from the parking lot at my base), what about the guys flying 80 plus hours per month that drive several hours to show then fly a 12 hour duty day? What about getting up a 3 am and driving an hour to say EWR and commuting to CVG and starting a trip at 11am that doesn't end till 11pm that night after 6 hour and 5 legs of flying? Perfectly legal but way more dangerous than 2 pilots with some alchol in them.

What about working for a company, giving everything you have only to have them sell or transfer the aircraft to someone else who does it cheaper or to gain money for thier retention bonuses. How pissed off do you thing these guys are? Bet you it leads to some situations in the cockpit that are potentialy more dangerous than, once again, 2 pilots who drank the night before.

Same situation, company asks for more pay cuts, CX's pensions and CEO runs company into ground but gets away with 6 million. Bet your going to have some pretty pissed off employees that may not have their head in the game 100% on the job.
 

~~~^~~~

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Cactus73 said:
Also, isn't anyone bothered that the pilots were convicted in State court for a Federal offense?
Yes - they were already punished once. Like the Pilot's wife said, "haven't you people had enough."

Also what bothers me is I know of several instances where DUI's were nolle prossed, or simply lost by a friend in the system. Fulton County in Atlanta is famous for not prosecuting felonies. I'm certainly not saying that is right, but why do some people go free after harming others ( in auto accidents ) and this first officer ( who certainly was not at the controls and who had no history of alcohol abuse, who already lost his ratings and his job ) got 2 1/2 years behind bars. If the State is going to treat this as a first time DUI, then do so. Who ever heard of 2 1/2 years on a first time DUI?

The criminalization of aviation will have a negative effect on safety. If I flew with someone who I suspected of having a alcohol problem I always felt like I could get that person help, or at least turn down the trip at the last minute without repercussion - now, who knows?

My prayers are with these guys and their families. What they did was wrong. How it was handled is wrong. These guys need help, not the destruction of their lives. Thomas Cloyd's and Christopher Hughes' rights - the right to avoid double jeopardy, the right to fair prosecution, and their rights to reasonable punishment are also your rights.

Folks, this is a watershed case in the issue of State regulation of an area that we all thought was preempted under Federal Law. This sets a very bad precedent for not just pilots, but for the industry. Local regulation of Aviation is unworkable. Lets see if the decision is overturned on appeal.



~~~^~~~
 

~~~^~~~

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LearLove said:
OK these guys were operating impared but far worse things (read unsafe) happen every day in this bizz (leagal and unlegal).

He!! Landing 35 in PHL while they are using 27R is far more chancy than 2 pilots operating alittle inpared. How about working 14 plus hour days back to back (or more) with 8 hours of flying. Perfectly legal but we all know how useless we are in the cockpit when were burnt.

Bet you it leads to some situations in the cockpit that are potentialy more dangerous than, once again, 2 pilots who drank the night before.

Same situation, company asks for more pay cuts, CX's pensions and CEO runs company into ground but gets away with 6 million. Bet your going to have some pretty pissed off employees that may not have their head in the game 100% on the job.
Exactly - very well put.
 

PurpleInMEM

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Where are we? Riyadh?

This whole situation is bull$hit.

It's high time the mob took over...again.

Like the poet punks Against All Authority say "...destroy what destroys you."

:eek:
 

zonker

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~~~^~~~ said:
Yes - they were already punished once. Like the Pilot's wife said, "haven't you people had enough."

Also what bothers me is I know of several instances where DUI's were nolle prossed, or simply lost by a friend in the system. Fulton County in Atlanta is famous for not prosecuting felonies. I'm certainly not saying that is right, but why do some people go free after harming others ( in auto accidents ) and this first officer ( who certainly was not at the controls and who had no history of alcohol abuse, who already lost his ratings and his job ) got 2 1/2 years behind bars. If the State is going to treat this as a first time DUI, then do so. Who ever heard of 2 1/2 years on a first time DUI?

The criminalization of aviation will have a negative effect on safety. If I flew with someone who I suspected of having a alcohol problem I always felt like I could get that person help, or at least turn down the trip at the last minute without repercussion - now, who knows?

My prayers are with these guys and their families. What they did was wrong. How it was handled is wrong. These guys need help, not the destruction of their lives. Thomas Cloyd's and Christopher Hughes' rights - the right to avoid double jeopardy, the right to fair prosecution, and their rights to reasonable punishment are also your rights.

Folks, this is a watershed case in the issue of State regulation of an area that we all thought was preempted under Federal Law. This sets a very bad precedent for not just pilots, but for the industry. Local regulation of Aviation is unworkable. Lets see if the decision is overturned on appeal.



~~~^~~~
Agree 100%.

The penalties simply are not commensurate with the crime committed. 2.5 years is insane, but 5 years? People do less time for manslaughter. Obviously, the judge in this case had an agenda from the very beginning. I find him more repulsive than those he sentenced.

Hopefully this has a chance to be overturned in the appellate court.
 

A350

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All:

Sorry I have to disagree with you. They crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Passengers who fly on our airplanes deserve pilots who are fit to fly. Have a beer within 8 hours before you fly with your meal....but for goodness sake.....how many 32 ounce beers do you need to get a little shuteye?

If you are too tired to fly, don't. If you are too drunk to fly, don't. If you are too sick to fly, whether it be physically or emotionally, don't.
These are choices one makes every time you strap on the jet.

Don't get caught up in the hoopla. These guys weren't both slipping in to work after one night of partying. These guys, especially Cloyd had had an problem with booze for years.

No sympathy from here, except for their families.

Boomer
 

ultrarunner

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A350 said:
Judge David Young said he had no sympathy for Cloyd, who had been on probation for an alcohol-related offense/QUOTE]


Yeah, gotta agree with you here.
 

OPECJet

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I also agree with you to an extent. I don't think you'll find anyone who disagrees with these guys receiving punishment, even possible jail time. The problem here is a state goverment prosecuting for federal crimes. It sets a bad precident for all of us.

There are places now where a mistake made in an aircraft, even while sober is considered a crime, and pilots have been sentenced to jail. The guys who landed on a closed runway with a 74 in Asia can tell you all about it.

Imagine the scenario that you've been on duty for 14 plus hours. The weather has been bad, and you've flown 8 plus hours. All perfectly legal since you were scheduled for less. Throw in that you commuted to work that morning adding another 3 or 4 hours to the time you've been awake, making it 18 hours since you last saw the inside of your eyelids. You make a bad decision by not deviating around a buildup you otherwise would. The resulting turbulence results in someone in the back being thrown into the ceiling breaking their neck.

The state you were flying the aircraft over decides to prosecute you for manslaughter, and succeeds. You now face jail time.

Granted, the scenario is way out in left field and the situations are totally different, but the precedent for all of us to be prosecuted by a state court system has been set. I can all but guarantee you this will not be the last time this happens if the present scenario isn't fought.
 

Booster

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Amen 350.

These two give us ALL a bad name. I do not care who charged them Feds or State I'm just glad they were charged and found guilty.

Remember the cause here; the two felons drank heavily before a flight. They broke the trust. The trust of the company, passengers, their family, all other professional pilots. They broke a rule they knew since they started to operate aircraft.
 

ultrarunner

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OPECJet said:
I also agree with you to an extent. I don't think you'll find anyone who disagrees with these guys receiving punishment, even possible jail time. The problem here is a state goverment prosecuting for federal crimes. It sets a bad precident for all of us.
They didn't violate and FL laws or statutes?
 

tlax25

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I agree with most your assertions...

Except this:

He!! Landing 35 in PHL while they are using 27R is far more chancy than 2 pilots operating alittle inpared

While I have no idea how dangerous landing 35 in PHL while they are using 27R is, I can certainly tell you that anyone that tests over the limit of .80 more than a little impaired and not capable of making sound decisions, let alone have normal reaction times. I think the attitude that being over the legal limit is only a little "impaired" is wrong and dangerous.

I also agree though that the sentences are wrong. Revoke thier licenses, never let them fly again, but no jail time.
 

Yank McCobb

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OPECJet said:
The problem here is a state goverment prosecuting for federal crimes. It sets a bad precident for all of us.
This is not the case AT ALL. You are severely misinformed or just don't understand.

They were prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced for violating the STATE OF FLORIDA statute against operating a vehicle while impaired.

The dangerous precedent that has been set is that of double jeopardy. They had already been prosecuted by the federal government by having their certificates revoked. Now they are punished again by the State of Florida for the same occurance. But this is NOT a case of "a state government prosecuting for federal crimes". The state government prosecuted for violation of that state's laws. Check the docket and see what they were tried and found guilty of. It will not say a thing about "federal crimes".
 

MJG

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tlax25 said:
anyone that tests over the limit of .80 is more than a little impaired and not capable of making sound decisions
Trust me, you won't have to worry about anyone testing over .80, they'll be dead ! Sorry couldn't resist. :rolleyes:
 

Jimdandy

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They got what they deserved!!!!

I mean the Captain screwed up a month ago and still didn't learn.

IF YOU CAN'T LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES YOU WILL BE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT THEM.

For all of you fools comparing this to a DUI it is totally different we are being paid for one and second we are being implicitly trusted to provide safe transportation. Once we break our customers trust through willful Criminal misconduct we deserved have the spitt brought up and fried up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me guess all you fools supporting him voted for GW
 

Booster

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Ultrarunner

ultrarunner said:
They didn't violate and FL laws or statutes?
[font=&quot]The 2002/2004 [/font][font=&quot]Florida[/font][font=&quot] Statutes
[/font]


Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 860
OFFENSES CONCERNING AIRCRAFT, MOTOR VEHICLES, VESSELS, AND RAILROADS




860.13 operation of aircraft while intoxicated or in careless or reckless manner; penalty.--

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person:

(a) To operate an aircraft in the air or on the ground or water while under the influence of:

1. Alcoholic beverages;

2. Any substance controlled under chapter 893;

3. Any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111; or

(b) To operate an aircraft in the air or on the ground or water in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

(2) In any prosecution charging careless or reckless operation of aircraft in violation of this section, the court, in determining whether the operation was careless or reckless, shall consider the standards for safe operation of aircraft as prescribed by federal statutes or regulations governing aeronautics.

(3) Violation of this section shall constitute a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(4) It shall be the duty of any court in which there is a conviction for violation of this statute to report such conviction to the Civil Aeronautics Administration for its guidance and information with respect to the pilot's certificate.

Chapter 775
DEFINITIONS; GENERAL PENALTIES; REGISTRATION OF CRIMINALS

775.082 Penalties; applicability of sentencing structures; mandatory minimum sentences



3 (d) For a felony of the third degree, by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.


Violation of Fl law YES.
 

321 busdriver

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Are you kidding me? We're not talking about a couple of pilots with SOME alcohol in them. A glass or two of wine, a few beers, a couple of drinks...no one has a problem on this board with that. These guys were F.....UP! You say you don't have a family..no kids. Well, I do, and sometimes they fly out of PHX. Don't try to defend what these guys did. They screwed up, got caught, and are going to jail. Hopefully the sentences will get reduced, but if you want to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for their families. Your comparisons to runways, duty or flight time limitations really are lame.
LearLove said:
I am also not defending these guys but I have to say, this is a big example of general society not understanding aviation.

OK these guys were operating impared but far worse things (read unsafe) happen every day in this bizz (leagal and unlegal).

He!! Landing 35 in PHL while they are using 27R is far more chancy than 2 pilots operating alittle inpared. How about working 14 plus hour days back to back (or more) with 8 hours of flying. Perfectly legal but we all know how useless we are in the cockpit when were burnt. Back when i flew a hard line at ALG I flew alot (some because I did use alot of sick time and some because I sometimes picked up flying) but in the summer when it's hot and you approach 100 hours per month I was almost useless some days. And my life outside of work is easy (no kids not married and I lived 5 min from the parking lot at my base), what about the guys flying 80 plus hours per month that drive several hours to show then fly a 12 hour duty day? What about getting up a 3 am and driving an hour to say EWR and commuting to CVG and starting a trip at 11am that doesn't end till 11pm that night after 6 hour and 5 legs of flying? Perfectly legal but way more dangerous than 2 pilots with some alchol in them.

What about working for a company, giving everything you have only to have them sell or transfer the aircraft to someone else who does it cheaper or to gain money for thier retention bonuses. How pissed off do you thing these guys are? Bet you it leads to some situations in the cockpit that are potentialy more dangerous than, once again, 2 pilots who drank the night before.

Same situation, company asks for more pay cuts, CX's pensions and CEO runs company into ground but gets away with 6 million. Bet your going to have some pretty pissed off employees that may not have their head in the game 100% on the job.
 

Yank McCobb

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321 busdriver said:
Are you kidding me? We're not talking about a couple of pilots with SOME alcohol in them. A glass or two of wine, a few beers, a couple of drinks...no one has a problem on this board with that. Your comparisons to runways, duty or flight time limitations really are lame.
Yep. Almost sounds like someone trying to justify and rationalize his own actions.
 
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