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Scary Pilots

Cindy Loose

Last week, there was a weird little report about a Northwest Airlines flight between Las Vegas and Detroit being canceled because the pilot was yelling obscenities into a cell phone while people were boarding. When confronted by passengers, he started screaming at them.

Then this week, a Northwest pilot flew into Detroit Saturday, then rented a Hummer and that same day ended up going the wrong way on an interstate. He then led police on a chase, going the wrong way on I-94. Police say they found cocaine in the Hummer and in his shirt pocket.

So, what do we think should be the rules about drug and alcohol testing for pilots?

By Cindy Loose |  April 18, 2007; 9:59 AM ET  | Category:  Airline Industry , Cindy Loose
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What should be the rules? They are already tested at random!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 10:33 AM

What does the 1st pilot in Las Vegas have to do with your question about drug & alcohol testing? Was he found to be using one of those or was he just an unprofessional jerk?

Posted by: Mac | April 18, 2007 11:28 AM

There have been several recorded instances of pilots being drunk before flying.

It seems to me that all commercial pilots (who are paid fairly well, by the way) should undergo psychological screening at least twice a year.

This would also get the airlines off the hook by saying they did their due diligence when a plane crashes.

Posted by: Ed | April 18, 2007 2:04 PM

I posted the first comment, and let me follow up in reference to the comment by Ed.

Commercial pilots should have access to mental health services, or psychological screenings. You have to remember that what they do is not exactly a low stress job. They know that their life and hundreds others depend on them doing their job as close to perfect as possible.

The problem is, according to FAA regulations, if you are a pilot and seek out mental health assistance, no matter what it is, you have a SERIOUS risk of having your license revoked. If I recall correctly, this doesn't mean only visits to psychiatrists or psychologists, but also family counselors. If you receive medicine for a psychological condition, even if it has been rectified, you cannot fly again.

Something to think about- would you want a pilot who suffered from depression, sho had received successful treatment as your pilot, or would you like your pilot to be suffering from depression but remain untreated because if he goes to the doctor, he will be out of a job?


Also, I would like to comment that the fact that you had a ticked off Captain in one instance and another pilot coked up on the streets of Las Vegas in another, does not justify a questioning of drug and alcohol policy for pilots. The two have no correlation, and every industry, even with strict drug policies is going to do it anyway porbably get away with it for awhile, but eventually will get caught.

Posted by: keydet | April 18, 2007 4:59 PM

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