Alaska Airlines ex-pilot pleads guilty to flying under influence
A former captain with Alaska Airlines agreed to plead guilty to flying passenger aircraft while under the influence of alcohol in a plea agreement filed in United States District Court on February 6, 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed in a statement. In the plea agreement the parties agreed on one year and a day in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release sentence.
According to court documents, the former captain was the pilot of two Alaska Airlines flights on June 20, 2014. The first flight was from San Diego International Airport to Portland, Oregon. He then flew a plane from Portland, Oregon, to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
After landing at John Wayne Airport, the pilot was selected for random drug and alcohol testing by the airline. A technician for Alaska Airlines performed two breathalyzer tests that showed the pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent. “Those percentages were well above the federal limit of 0.04 percent for pilots,” according to the plea agreement.
Following the June 20, 2014, incident, the captain retired from the Alaska Airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration revoked his ability to pilot a plane.
“This pilot worked for the airline for more than 20 years, and we now know that he was an alcoholic who flew commercial flights while under the influence of alcohol,” said United States Attorney Nicola T. Hanna. “When he was finally caught, the evidence indicates that he had flown with an alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. Thankfully, [he] was never involved in an accident, but his conduct could have resulted in tragic consequences. Very few people will ever hold the lives of so many people in their hands at one time.”
The investigation was conducted by the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General.
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