Drunken Pilots Found In Cockpits In Two Separate Incidents

indonesia-pilot-suspected-to-be-drunk-fired-from-airline-world-of-buzz-2It is all too common to see drunk folks who celebrated the end of the year to an excessive degree. It is more chilling when those people are pilots. In two separate incidents, pilots were caught in the cockpits about to take off more loaded than their cargo bays. In the case of an Indonesian pilot, he was caught on videotape stumbling through security and staggering on to the plane.

2012_citilink_logo-svgWhat is incredible about the Citilink pilot is that the security officers Juanda International Airport in Surabaya help him pick up his repeatedly dropped items but do nothing to stop the clearly drunk pilot from going to his flight:

Even if they were unsure whether he was piloting the flight, they should have held him to be sure where he was going in such a condition. Captain Tekad Purna, 32, was allowed to board the plane and was only stopped reportedly by passengers (not the flight crew) after they heard him over the PA.

Caitlin is the cheap carrier for Garuda — Indonesia’s national carrier. In the aftermath of the controversy, two executives with an Indonesian budget airline have resigned. However, those resignation only occurred after the airline denied passenger allegations that the pilot was drunk — only to be proven wrong by this videotape. President director of Citilink Albert Burhan and operational director Hadinoto Soedigno resigned.

sunwings_logo_2015-svgThen on New Year’s Eve, a 37-year-old Sunwing pilot after being found intoxicated in a plane that he was about to fly out of Calgary airport. It was 7am and the pilot was reportedly stumbling drunk and may have passed out in the cockpit. In this case, the flight crew altered authorities. He was arrested and found to have more than three times the authorized amount of alcohol (0.08 percent in Canada) in his body two hours after his arrest. He was about to take a Boeing 737 into the air with 99 passengers and six crew members.

The stories do show a contrast however. The crew in the Sunwings controversy appears to have acted appropriately while there is no indication that numerous security and airline staff acted to stop the Indonesian pilot (and then denied allegations that he was drunk).

21 thoughts on “Drunken Pilots Found In Cockpits In Two Separate Incidents”

  1. off topic for fellow readers – tonite I have been consumed by Noah Hawley’s novel “Before the Fall” – highly recommend – a very engaging read on multiple levels IMO

  2. How many accidents have been due to drunken pilots vs drivers? My bro used to work at McCarren and said there were back in day two types of pilots – the ones who headed for the bar and the ones who headed to gym to work off stress. And there is also the issue of those who do have issues and seek help and are forever blacklisted even though they have not flown under the influence.

  3. Steve – thanks for the clip from a great movie. 🙂 On a more sobering note, I think they should start giving breathalyzers to pilots on commercial airlines.

  4. Fear of a drunken pilot has gone the way of the biplane in the autonomous age. A flick of the automatic-pilot switch and you’re as good as in the airport lounge listening to Karen Carpenter:

    1. And if this blow-up automatic-pilot fails, well it can be “restored” rather easily, as the movie demonstrated.

  5. As a former airline employee, I can say US carriers perform random drug tests. However, I do not know if they consider alcohol a drug.

    1. Alcohol is considered a drug. While pilots are not required to abstain there are rules as to how long between last drink and getting into the plane. I’m not up to date on the specifics, including accountability.

  6. I agree with the breathalyzer, but the pilots should lose their licenses to fly any aircraft and should be put on a list of pilots not to be hired by any airline for the purpose of flying. The list should be used internationally. The suggestion of a drop from 30,000 feet is barbaric.

    1. Then give him a parachute; toss it and then the pilot out of the aircraft, in that order. Tell him he’s fortunate to be able to try it sober, because this time the only life he will ‘impact’ will be his own.

    2. @BettyKath

      But what if it is a black pilot??? Shouldn’t there be separate racially-sensitive criteria to cover such situations if the pilot is black? Because Institutionalized Racism. If we are not careful, we could be starting a new quasi-mass incarceration thing here with this type of hard and fast zero tolerance stuff.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Squeeky – I guess in the interest of AA we could start BAC for blacks at 0.08 and call them drunk if they blow over 0.16.

    3. I agree with the ban on hiring such pilots by any airline — but not just as pilots, but for any job involving the safety of the airplane or passengers.


  7. I agree with Dave. I was going to make the same comment and then read his. 30,000 feet is appropriate.

  8. Consumers should demand, and airlines should welcome, a BBB policy for all pilots: Breathalyze Before Boarding.

    If a pilot fails, he or she is then dropped from 30,000 feet — sans parachute.

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