It was last Sunday evening, I think, when I heard the radio news story. An airline pilot had arrived at the airport smelling of alcohol. Authorities were called, and by the time they reached him, he was already on the plane.
Another story about the AirTran pilot continued:
“[Airport police] gave him a preliminary breathalyzer test and registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.05, slightly above the legal limit for pilots which is 0.04. The legal limit for drivers in Minnesota is 0.08.”
So here is what surprised me (can you see it coming?). The FAA-approved legal limit for pilots who carry us all hither and yon is … NOT zero! Well, that falls in the category of things that make you go Hmmm.
Besides my surprise, my second thought was perhaps a bit uncharitable to the airline, but I mused, Well, it IS AirTran. I mean, do we really expect unimpaired flying for our discount seat?
It also occurred to me that perhaps the pilot was celebrating his airline’s May 2 merger with Southwest Airlines. Maybe he just imbibed a mini-liquor bottle as a toast. Of course, that can’t the kind of PR that Southwest was looking forward to when they got into the AirTran bed.
One result of the news story was that I meandered through the web for related stories. Holy cow, it’s more than a little distressing to see how many results you get when you search for “drunk pilot” on YouTube.
Have a great—and grounded—weekend.