I have never operated an aircraft under the influence of alcohol. If I have to fly in the morning, I take it easy the night before and make sure that I leave a buffer of at least what is required by regulation or company policy.
I think this is probably normal behavior for 95% of the professional pilots out there.
I am not flying at present and I no longer drink. I guess, as Jesse Jackson said on Saturday Night Live, the question is moot.
However, when I flew I did drink occasionally. And, I gave myself a good buffer and/or planned it for a time that I was not flying the next day. It was absolutely unthinkable for me to even consider being near airplanes after drinking alcohol.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of my Riddle flight students had a few the night before a flight with me. But, I don't remember at all observing any of the telltale signs of drinking in any of my students before or during a flight.
The closest I've been to the controls of an airplane while intoxicated was when I woke up curled up in the baggage compartment of a Beech Sierra. I was 17, and the previous night was my first experience with alcohol. Apparently I had fallen asleep (passed out?) at some point during a party our flying club had, and a couple of CFI's decided that it'd be funny to squeeze me in the back of one of the club planes.
Of course, with the way I fly, alcohol would probably only improve things. Heh!
Seriously, I don't drink heavily the night before if I'm planning on flying the next day. If I have only one or two drinks, then I'll wait 12 hours.
I'm curious what percentage of aviation accidents are alcohol related? I'd bet a VERY small percentage. Not to trivialize the idiocy of the two pilots that were arrested, but it seems to me that this really isn't a problem. I'd look at fatigue long before I'd look at drugs or alcohol.
You've hit one nail squarely on the head. However, pilot fatigue doesn't make good media sensationalism. Passengers don't know about it, management won't let them find out and Connie Chung doesn't cover it.
Pilot fatigue is the enemy of the ATA, the RAA and the management of all airlines, therefore it never happens for to admit it and remove the cause would cost $$$.
For years and years the FAA, charged with the conflicting interests of aviation safety and economic considerations, ignores every scientific study demonstrating the dangers of fatigue, doesn't enforce its own rules and will do nothing to update them even though the scientific evidence is overwhelming. Yet with no scientific evidence at all to support it, the same FAA makes all airline pilots drop dead at age 60 even when it prefect health.
We'll be hearing about these two errant pilots for years, but we will hear or do nothing for the regional pilot, the freight pilot, the mainline pilot, the air taxi pilot or the corporate pilot who has to shoot an approach to minimums after 16 consecutive hours on duty.
Truck drivers, dispatchers, etc. have better rest rules. In the eyes of government and aviation managers, pilot fatigue is "not an issue".
Absolutely 100% correct. The minor blurbs and buried news stories of the NTSB citing fatigue as a contributing factor in the AA Flt 1420 accident at LIT is proof that fatigue doesn't make good media sensationalism.
Too bad. Fatigue is the number one threat to aviation safety, but no one wants to hear about that.
Dude, I am drunk all the time (including now) and I go flying a lot. Luckly I fly olver rural areas in Class D, no big threats. Flying drunk is easier than driving drunk. Besides I go to the bars and get wasted, pick up chicks and take them flying, I almost always get sex
I always try and use 12 hours and even at that, always take it easy the night before a flight. The only time i can remember not abiding by this was not too long ago in vegas where there are NO clocks and everything looks the same all the time.
Was on my second drink at the tables where our 8 pax, including the boss, were playing and the boss looks at me and says "do you know what time it is?" It was 10 hours to go...and i said "wow, didn't realize it was so late, this is my second and last drink. but, you do know legally it's 8 hours?" he acknowledged that and said "i've always seen you switch to water 12 hours out and thought you might not know what time it was." he was right and trying to help me out. i guess i had become too focused on all the money i had blown!
Not to change the subject, but if I remember right, an article that I had read concerning the NW pilot 10 years ago stated that NW would rehire him after he went through rehabilitation and got out of jail. I know of a couple guys that were busted for drugs at a regional I fly for and they were sent to rehabilitation (at company expense). One is still flying, the other walked out of rehabilitation and has been fired. I havent heard one thing about this and was wondering if it is even a possibility in this case? Anyone got a clue about this?
Here, again, I find these rehab cases to be totally unbelievable.
You just about have to be a saint to be hired. No driving problems, no drug problems, perfect academic record, All-America athlete, perfect work history with few job changes, no history of financial problems, and finish training at minimum times. Bust any one of the above and your chances deteriorate or dissipate entirely.
However, get hired, pass probation, and you can be a complete f___up. You won't be fired, as you might from other jobs of responsibility, such as being a cop, but you're just sent to rehab. You can even go to prison, which, by definition, is a felony conviction, and you can get your job back.
Sorry, I just don't get it. It seems to me that any reason that would bar you from hire should result in automatic termination after hire. I know that drunkeness on the job is good cause for termination from any job under most state laws.