Holy shit!

A Norwegian court has sentenced a Latvian airBaltic co-pilot to six months in jail after he failed a breathalyser test before take-off from Oslo’s airport.

The 38-year-old man – who registered an alcohol level that was almost seven times the legal limit – admitted that he drank two bottles of whisky and some beer with the other crew members before the flight’s planned departure for Greece with around 100 passengers aboard on 8 August.

Amazing he remembered which airport to go to, let alone actually getting there.

18 thoughts on “Holy shit!”

  1. Taxi drivers are pretty good at speaking drunk. Many a time in my uni days I ended up at the right address after pouring myself into the back seat with a cheery “arghlblarg”.

  2. Denzel Washington as an airline pilot in the film Flight goes on an all-night coke and booze bender with one of the stewardesses and then saves his plane from crashing (a technical fault during turbulence) by looping-the-loop and flying upside down and then safely crash landing in a field.

  3. I had exactly the same thought as Shinsei1967!

    If Being pissed and high on coke means you can fly a plane upside down (and that’s an airliner!) then who is to say I shouldn’t be in a similar state when I head off around the M25?

    I mean I think only a couple of people died when Denzil crash landed. And he got to cop off with a stewardess.

    I think that was the moral message behind the film.

  4. Either the drink-driving limit in Norway is gloriously high or this is another “Guardian and numbers” story.

    “two bottles of whisky and some beer” made him only “almost seven times the legal limit”?

    Allowing one legal limit for “some beer”, that suggests the legal limit is around a third of a bottle of whisky. That’s 9 standard pub units (actually probably 13 units; airport duty free shops usually sell litre bottles).

    OK, so he might have metabolised some, assuming they started the evening before, but even 8 units metabolised is only going to bring that down from 13 to 12.

  5. Maybe it lost something in translation. Could it be that he shared two bottles of whisky and some beer rather than drinking it all himself?

  6. Yes too much of the nanny state attitude here.Leave it all to laissez faire ,why can’t you? If your plane goes down because the pilot’s drunk you know not to travel with that airline again. The magic of the markets! The Invisible Hand.

  7. Isn’t the alcohol level limit for aviation about a quarter of the UK’s road limit? So the chap was actually something closer to double the UK drink driving limit?

  8. Dave,

    The UK limit for aviation is 20 micrograms per 100 millilitres of blood.

    The US limit is 0.04% blood alcohol content. Which is about 29 micrograms per … (if I’ve got my conversions for specific gravity the right way around.)

    ICAO and EU rules are more effects than limits based – “don’t fly while under the influence.”

  9. Reed: Yeah, right.

    A desire not to die in a crash is a much better safeguard than bureaucracy . The other members of the crew spotted the idiot in the story not some state jobsworth.

  10. “The other crew members had been drinking with him. It was the police who intervened.”

    It was the conga down the aisle on the way to the cockpit that gave them away.

  11. The number of pilots of a certain airline based in an old British territory I’ve met getting hammered the night before a flight makes me wonder how many flights are flown with the pilots nursing a massive hangover at best.

  12. I think that was the moral message behind the film.

    That film was amusing in that the actual message for most of it was “you can still function when drunk and/or on coke” but the film makers appear to have realised this towards the end and plumbed for a complete cop-out which mostly undid the message Denzil’s character had delivered up to that point.

    The problem is, most people think drunks act like you or I do when drunk, when in fact “functional alcoholics” function pretty well. It’s why I didn’t think the snowplough driver being pissed was a factor in the crash which took the life of Christophe de Margerie last October, he’d probably been pissed every time he took the damned thing out for the past 20 years.

  13. And of course in DBCR’s alternative reality none of the comrades ever got drunk, Mallory climbed Everest, and we still have people who leave milk outside our houses after we have left them to go to work.

  14. They mean 7 times the airline limit of 0.02% BAC (which is commonly understood to mean zero on the grounds that some people’s bodies manufacture a background level of alcohol when they haven’t had a drop). So in reality we’re talking about 2-3 times the driving limit. The captain went for “double” meaning 0.04% – low enough to drive. Bad yes, but probably neither would have been especially impaired if they have even a moderate tolerance.

    If he had been 0.35% (7 times the common driving limit of 0.05%) I’d be far more impressed. People can build the tolerance to withstand that and even function, but drinking has to be your career for that to happen.

    And yes it was six of them (all flight crew) that polished off the booze, not just him.

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