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Another pilot behaving badly

Here we go again. Another day, another pilot behaving badly. A United Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow Airport earlier this week for allegedly having alcohol levels above the limit. Plain English: He was drinking. Something. What? I don't know. How much? I don't know. The alcohol blood limits for pilots flying a plane are quite a bit lower than they are for us to drive a car - with good reason. And to make it worse, this isn't an isolated incident.

The United pilot, Erwin Vermont Washington, is the third U.S. pilot arrested for being under the influence in just 13 months, according to The Associated Press. Instead of taking off with 124 passengers bound for Chicago, the pilot was arrested and will have to appear in British court on charges that could net him prison time. AP also reports than some 4,000 pilots have successfully completed an alcoholism-treatment program run by the Air Line Pilots Association and most returned to their jobs.

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Here's an idea: what if all pilots had to take a Breathalyzer test before getting behind the controls in the cockpit? Would that make passengers feel more safe? Or is this just another alarmist tale that wrongly paints all pilots with a broad brush of injustice?

Associated Press Photo

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