Lively thread. I imagine the bar tab is explained by some food and snacks taken to soak up the alcohol. Unfortunately, I think this is the tip of an iceberg - repetitive long layovers in far away places - sort of like, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Now it's more like, what happens in prison, stays in prison. Let that be a lesson to all of us.
I have to say that I have read all of these posts, I have read most of the new reports and have followed this story for quite a while now.
I am sure that these two men are not monsters, that they have probably average carreer pilots. They probably even have families at home and my heart goes out to those families as their lives will be affected by the outcome of this incident. However, I take issue with your assessment that the judge had a personal vendetta with these two.
They are both grown men who made a terrible, irreparable mistake! They decided to pilot a passenger jet while they were under the influence of an intoxicating substance. Now I am not naive and I am sure that there are other pilots that do this as well. But I sincerely hope that they get caught as well. You can't honestly say that you condone their actions!!!
Further, what kind of defense was it to try to persuade a jury or a judge into thinking they hadn't broken the law because they weren't "technically" operating the aircraft at the time of their arrest. That aircraft would never have been pushed from the gate if the pilot didn't give the "tumbs up". How dare they insult the intelligence of the public, the jury, and the judge with such a ludicrous defense.
Face the facts, those pilots made a serious error in judgement that would have affected not only their lives but the lives of all of the passengers aboard that aircraft. Maybe they would have made the flight without incident, maybe they wouldn't. Thankfully, we never found out the hard way.
I fly for business all of the time and every time I fly I try to arrive early enough to watch the crew board the flight. I want to see the captain or first officer do the walk around. I want to see that they don't have bloodshot eyes, I like to see that they are talking with the rest of the crew and appear to be "flight ready".
For the pilots of the airliners that are flying intoxicated: I hope that you are able to come to your senses soon and admit to yourself that you have a problem before something terrible happens that may ruin you for the rest of your life. If you wish to fly intoxicated, please do so in a plane by yourself, over the unpopulated part of a dessert and provide enough insurance for your family to live in the manner that they have grown accustom to before you start the engine.
Let us transport ourselves, for the sake of argument, to our vehicles. Have you or any one in your family, transported yourself and anothers after drinking? How sound was your judgement then? Did you feel you were OK to drive? Most drunks do feel that way and alcoholics are much worse. With a higher tolernce for alcohol they mostly fool themselves. The operative word here is "fool" themselves. Drunks seldom use good judgement nor think rationally as these two ex pilots did. After all, they were just having a "good time." Several questions: what bar does not close at 2:00AM? Why didn't anyone else in contact with these pilot failed to detect the alcohol in their breaths? Why aren't flight attendants trained or caution to watch out for behaviors like this as part of their preflight briefing? Ditto for pilots for flight attendants? Pilots need to contact several company personnel as part of their preflight activities. I am surprised no one else detected the alcohol. And finally, why did it take so long as to allow the plane to be pushe back? Was that step necessary for law enforcement to take action much like a shoplifter needs to leave the premises before being apprehended? One last comment: New comments very drastic consequences as if potential action equals action. Almost killing someone is not the same as killing someone and the law handles this difference. Why not water boarding torture until these ex pilots learn their lesson? We know how well that worked in Gitmo. New, that is almost like somone speeding and almost colliding with your vehicle. Not the same. Reason needs to trump emotion. The law will take care of this situation. It is unlikely that these expilots will fly again. Legally, that is.
I was just about to post something on this too! GMTA!
It's a shame that these two decided to literally throw away their careers so stupidly.
I can't believe they even thought for a moment they would get away with it. If they had been smart, they both would have called in sick saying they got food poisoning or something, and sleeping it off.
To have done what they did is unforgivable, and I hope they give them both the maximum allowable punishment. Is that harsh? I think not, especially given the gravity of the situation, and the number of lives in the air and on the ground that would have been placed in harms way.
At the very minimum, this demonstrated very poor judgement skills on their part. Surprising indeed from two pilots with their ATP ratings!
As I read the article a little closer, I am puzzled. 14 beers and a 122 dollar bar tab. That works out to 8.72 per beer. Where the hell were they drinking. That and the alcohol level 6 hours or more later leads me to believe that those beers were accompanied by shots or something. Seems strange though, because those numbers must be taken from the court record.
In any event it is pretty foolish. It sounds like they were still just intoxicated enough to think they could bluff their way through.
Jak - at about beer number 4, people tend to buy for their new best friends. I think that will help account for some of the cash spent...
Good point, I've noticed that too. I still think there may have been some "shooters" mixed in there though.
I know the FAA pulled their licenses, which makes me wonder on exactly what grounds. I looked this up once when a friend, student, of mine was arrested for DUI a few years ago. As I recall the FAR said that you must report any DUI conviction, but that they don't pull your license until the second one. This obviously goes pretty far beyond a DUI, and tickets should have been pulled. I assume it was done under some kind of emergency authority. I wonder if they will ever get them back.
It is interesting to speculate what their conduct would have been like had they reached to 8,000 foot cabin altitude level. I know anything above 8 or 10 thousand affects me badly these days, and very quickly. That is without any alcohol.
I don't know if anyone has kept track, but I saw a news article via Yahoo that these two convicted pilots were sentenced.
Thomas P. Cloyd got 5 years, Christopher Hughes got 2 1/2 years.
The prosecution was asking for 4 for Cloyd, and 3 for Hughes.
It's good to see justice done!
The text of the article is as follows;
Two Pilots Sent to Prison for Drunkenness
By JOHN PAIN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jul 22, 3:36 AM ET
Two airline pilots who got behind the controls after a night of heavy drinking at a sports bar have been sentenced to prison by a judge who didn't hide his disdain, saying "What were you thinking of?"
Thomas Cloyd, 47, of Peoria, Ariz., and co-pilot Christopher Hughes, 44, of Leander, Texas, were drunk when they settled into the cockpit of a Phoenix-bound America West jetliner in 2002. They were arrested before the plane took off but after it had pushed away from the gate.
They were fired and found guilty June 8 of operating an aircraft while drunk.
Cloyd was sentenced to five years in prison. Circuit Judge David Young said he had no sympathy for Cloyd, who had been on probation for an alcohol-related offense just months before his arrest.
Hughes was ordered to serve 2 1/2 years behind bars.
Prosecutors had recommended four years for Cloyd and three for Hughes, sentences that defense attorneys said were too harsh because no one got hurt.
The judge reprimanded both men: "What you did was absolutely wrong," Young said.
The pilots had been at the bar up until about six hours before their departure time; federal rules say pilots cannot drink in the eight hours before a flight. Police stepped in after screeners smelled alcohol on their breath.
Tested hours later, their blood-alcohol levels were above Florida's 0.08 percent limit for drunken driving, which includes aircraft, according to testimony. Their levels were probably much higher when they were in the cockpit, the experts said.
Testimony showed that Cloyd and Hughes ran up a $122 tab and drank seven 34-ounce glasses and seven 16-ounce glasses of beer over six hours at the bar. At dinner before that, they had wine and Cloyd drank a martini, prosecutors said.
The pilots had argued at trial that they were not drunk. The also contended they were not in control of their Airbus 319 carrying 117 passengers and crew because it was being towed by a ground crew when police ordered the jet back to the gate.
Prosecutor Hillah Katz called that argument "an insult."
At the sentencing, the pilots' attorneys said their clients had taken steps to fight their alcoholism and asked the judge to be lenient.
Cloyd's lawyer said the pilot was having marital problems before his arrest and was still distraught by the death of his father in a plane crash years earlier.
Hughes' family declined to comment while leaving the courthouse. When reporters asked Cloyd's wife, Debbie, what she thought of the sentence, she would only say: "Haven't you people had enough?"
I applaud your virtue. I hope you never change, because this world no longer tolerates mistakes. The fancy little judge in the designer robe had a personal vendetta against Chris and Tom. He'll get his just awards later in life though - arrogance always does. He spent weeks preparing for his less than arousing closing speech, while many innocent children of Florida were being abducted, and some even murdered. So, I guess the next time I fly to Florida, I'll feel confident that my pilots will have consumed no alcohol in the previous six weeks, however: I probably won't be bringing my grandchildren with me.