The drunks in the cockpit

KARE 11 reports that the police pulled a pilot out of his American Airlines jet this morning under the suspicion that he was drunk. He apparently failed a breathalyzer test.

Under FAA rules, a pilot may be considered drunk who is considered “sober” if he/she were behind the wheel of a car.

Pilots are forbidden from flying if their blood alcohol level is .04% or above — that’s half the limit of the definition of drunk for drivers. They are also not allowed to consume any alcohol within 8 hours of flying.

The last American flight into Minneapolis was around 11:30 last night. The flight was to depart this morning a little after 6.

Thanks to a 1990 Northwest Airlines flight from Fargo to Minneapolis, MSP has been the poster child for incidents involving drunk pilots. All three pilots of the Northwest flight were hammered, and went to prison because of it.

A few years ago, I talked to one of them — Joe Balzer.