Tue, Oct 25, 2005
Paging Mr. Leno...
Police removed a United
Airlines pilot from the cockpit Sunday morning flight after TSA
screeners at Miami International Airport told police they had
smelled alcohol as he passed through security.
The flight, originally scheduled to leave for Washington D.C. at
9 am Sunday morning, was delayed almost seven hours while a
replacement crew was brought in -- all at a time while planes were
filled with people attempting to outrun Hurricane Wilma.
The officer who detained the pilot "noticed what appeared to be
an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the pilot and
requested that he exit the aircraft," said Miami-Dade Police
Detective Del Castillo.
United suspended the pilot pending a company investigation
following the incident, according to the Associated Press, although
he was not arrested and no breath test was performed. The FAA is
also looking into the matter.
"United's alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry
and we have absolutely no tolerance for abuse or violation of this
well-established policy," said United spokeswoman Robin
Sadly, this isn't the first time a pilot suspected of having a
few too many has been taken out of the cockpit in Miami. Three
years ago -- in a story that received national attention and became
the topic of many-a-joke on late night television (and was also extensively reported in
Aero-News) -- two America West pilots were arrested
after screeners also noticed alcohol on their breath.
Unlike the incident involving the United pilot, the two
America West pilots had actually left the gate, and were taxiing
their jet for takeoff when authorities turned them around. Both
pilots were fired, and are now serving time for the incident.
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