Whenever you are behind the wheel of some kind of vehicle, you can be charged with driving that mode of transport while under the influence of alcohol. Even a horse, apparently, as covered in a previous post. This blog has covered the gamut of DUI charges, but never charges related to piloting a plane while intoxicated.
According to Westlaw News & Insight, last week, a federal grand jury indicted a 32-year-old pilot on charges of piloting a commercial airliner while under the influence of alcohol. The pilot was the first officer of a United Express flight. The pilot has not been arrested yet and special agents of the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General are looking for him.
According to WestLaw News & Insight, the U.S. Attorney’s Office that is prosecuting the pilot has not given public information on the evidence they have against him. They said that the accused man’s co-pilot “had concerns” that his fellow pilot was under the influence of alcohol.
Reportedly, passengers were not in danger during the flight and there was no erratic piloting involved or observed. While it is not known why exactly the man has been accused and charged, the charges against him are serious. If convicted of the charges, he could easily lose his commercial pilot’s license and his job.
The flight was between Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, and occurred in December 2009. The United Express Flight 7687 was operated by Shuttle America, Inc.
U.S. passenger pilot accused of flying drunk (WestLaw News & Insight)