Zero Tolerance For One Intoxicated Pilot

Every time I fly to different states/countries, I can only hope that the pilots are well experienced and sober. I’m going to Las Vegas this coming weekend, and I’d like to make it there and back alive. The 29 passengers of the Frontier Airlines Flight 1984 were almost victims of a drunk pilot. Luckily, thanks to one observant shuttle bus driver, an ill fate for the passengers and crew was avoided.

Flight 1984 was set to fly out of Omaha, Nebraska to Milwaukee at 6 o’clock in the morning this past Thursday, February 16th. Prior to the scheduled flight, hotel shuttle driver “called the Eppley Airfield Airport Police to report his concerns about the pilot,” according to Chris Martin, the director of operations for the Omaha Airport Authority. The unidentified drunken pilot made it through the checkpoint successfully, but was then greeted by officers at the departure gate. The incident was taken in charge of  by Frontier Airlines as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Federal Aviation Administration has a rule known as the “bottle-to-throttle” rule. Under the rule, airline pilots are prohibited from flying within eight hours of alcohol consumption. Even if it is past eight hours, if their blood alcohol content is 0.04% or above, they are still prohibited from flying. The blood alcohol content of the pilot of Flight 1984 was above the legal limit, and had to be retrained to avoid injury or death to the passengers and crew. While the pilot will certainly experience the full force of the “bottle-to-throttle” rule, stricter policies exist for Frontier and Chautauqua Airlines (Chautauqua being the primary airline the pilot is employed by). Frontier Airlines spokeswoman Lindsey Carpenter said  “Frontier and Chautauqua have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol that has resulted in a 100% safety record for both carriers.” Hopefully all airlines are as diligent in preventing intoxicated pilots from flying.

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