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Alcohol Level

Jamie4590 Guest

Did anyone read about the first officer that arrived for work over the alcohol limit but wasn't prosocuted as he claims he arrived at the airport to report sick and never actually boarded tha plane. What surprised me about the article is it says flight crew can have up to 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Although this level is still very low I would have thought it would be zero tollerance.

11 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

No I hadn't heard that. Pilots would normally call in sick from home or at the hotel on an overnight. The FAA rule is 8 hours or a BAC% of .004. Many airlines have a company policy of 12 hours or a BAC% of .002.

Pro Member First Officer
Tartanaviation First Officer

If it is about the Captain working for Virgin Atlantic then yes. Aparently he had another charge before but he was stopped at the gates at the time. His defence in court was that he was not going to fly the aircraft he was going to let the first officer know that he was over the alchol limit to fly the aircraft. He managed to get off in court.

This time however they let him board the aircraft. Police were sent this time and arrested him as he was sitting in the Captains seat. This time he will be nailed by the courts.

To be honest whilst the alchol limits in the bloodstream are extremely small it should be a zero tolerance level in the case of pilots who are flying.

Pro Member First Officer
cheezyflier First Officer

see the latest news. a pilot was removed from duty for excessive swearing, and being beligerent to passengers, in denver colo. i think.
oh sure that's all we need is pilots to have road rage! hahahaha

Jamie4590 Guest

I think the alcohol level should be zero. Even a small amount of booze can affect people. I wonder how aviation and maritime law compare on this.

Pro Member First Officer
Tartanaviation First Officer

I could proI could probably give some insight in response to the above post. I am a Marine Engineer although I am building up my flying licences to hopefully become a pilot in the next few years.

When I am away at Sea as a 4th Engineer we are meant to be stone cold sober when on duty. This includes when on UMS as the acting engineer. I regularly come across other engineers whilst I am on ships that have clearly been consuming alcohol. When at sea the laws are not enforced very well. It tends to be during the training periods. At the end of the day I have come to realise, without surprise, that there are alot of heavy drinkers at sea particularly because of the long trips and lengths of time apart from families. I for one totally agree with there being a zero tolerance towards alcohol.

At sea you are in a dangerous environment, where alot of work is done as part of a team. Therefore there is too much at stake to be under the influence. As a matter of principal I see alcohol as a means to unwind maybe at the weekend during time off, or to ease into the swing of a party. Alcohol has no place in the work environment, okay for quick witted people I will make the exception for in bars/pubs etc. One thing is for sure in the marine industry, more frequent random drug and alcohol tests are required at sea.

As for the flying sides of things once again I would like to even more so stress a zero tolerance level. At the end of the day as a Commercial pilot you are responsible for on average 200+ lives. I for one would never dream of taking command of an aircraft with alcohol in my bloodstream.

Jamie4590 Guest

Because there is a buffer zone, 20 microgrammes, it almost says to pilots that they can have a drink before a flight even though any responsible pilot should refuse alcohol 24 hours before a flight.

Pro Member First Officer
antone First Officer

There can't be a "zero tolerance" policy, as for various reasons some people would test (marginally) positive even if they hadn't had a drink. The stomach manufactures alcohol-related compounds, for a start.

I'd trust a (non-alcoholic) pilot who hadn't had a drink in 24 hours. Seems like a reasonable starting point.

Pro Member First Officer
GoodisonBlue First Officer

Even some mouthwashes and cough medicines contain alchohol

The limit does need to be very low though

This is why playing FSX is better than real flying

Some of my landings are very 'interesting' after a few cans in the evening

Too much blood in my alchohol stream i think 🙂

Jamie4590 Guest

I too enjoy the some chilled Amber Nectar while cruising which unfortunately means the longer the flight the more chance of a bumpy landing. 😂

I bet rookie pilots are much less likely to attempt to fly under the influence because they will be more nervous and inexperienced. The more seasoned pilots that have flown the route and completed the checklists a 1000 times will think they can get away with it.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

The small .004% or .002% is because of what Antone stated and because the breathalyser has a certain error factor. The 8 hour rule stills applies to drinking any alcohol. Alcohol use is not a problem with pilots drinking just before a flight, only a fool would do that. What gets some pilots is the fact that even after 8 or 12 hours, if you drink enough, you still have a small amount of alcohol in your system. People metabolize alcohol at different rates and may feel just fine with .006% alcohol in their system, they would pass a breath test by a state trooper. But this leads them to forget that the limit is .004% and they don't have an accurate way of determining blood alcohol. They should operate on the conservative side but people like pushing the limit(speeding in cars, waiting to the last minute to pay a bill or not keeping their cars in good repair) and get caught. Almost never is a pilot truly drunk but just technically over the established limit.

Jamie4590 Guest

I ignored some nasty grinding noises coming from underneath my car for a weeks and then all of a sudden my automatic gearbox snapped on a motorway causeing me to perform an emergency stop. An articulated lorry behind me missed me by inches! Fear

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