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Fri Jan 4, 2013, 07:17 PM

Airline pilots: On drinking and flying.

CBS news had a story about an airline pilot pulled from his flight after he blew a .05 breathalyzer.
According to them, the FAA limit is .04.
"About two beers."

I was an airline pilot for 30+ years.
1960s through 1990s.
With some exceptions, we were a hard drinkin' bunch.
Mostly former military pilots inculcated in the hard drinkin', hard flyin', fast livin', hell-for-leather, let-it-all-hang-out fighter pilot mentality.

I'll confess that I've strapped a plane on my ass when I was so hungover that my teeth hurt.
That was Air Force.
Single seat, single engine.
We. Were. Invincible.
Live hard, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.
We believed it, anyway.
I was lucky to survive that period in my life.


When it came to commercial flying, we dialed it back a notch.
But there were a few times when I entered the cockpit as hungover as Hogan's goat.
Luckily for me, back then, there were THREE of us in that cockpit.
And no random breathalysers.
We 'Band of Brothers' covered for each other.


As I got older (and maybe a little bit more mature?) I dialed it back a few more notches.
And I became the 'old guy' who covered for some of the younger fellows.

I hung it up 14 years ago.
I have no idea what goes on with the younger group coming along.
We 'just' had alcohol.







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Reply Airline pilots: On drinking and flying. (Original post)
trof Jan 2013 OP
santamargarita Jan 2013 #1
Capt.Rocky300 Jan 2013 #2
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #3

Response to trof (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 07:39 PM

1. I was forced to retire after 42 years in the cockpit..

Same here on drinking. Me and the Chief Pilot actually got thrown out of our Hotel once.
I've had a few mornings feeling like shit rolling down the runway.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 07:52 PM

2. I confess, been there, done that too.....

I blocked in for the last time a couple years ago. Here's my take on things when I left. Due to work rule concessions there was no time on a layover in the domestic system to drink. You barely had time to eat and sleep. International trips had long enough layovers but with the crummy per diem rates and low dollar exchange, after one or two beers, we were done. I have no idea about how much crewmembers consumed on their days off. I got the impression though that some of the younger civilian guys preferred pot to Jack Daniels. The military folks enjoyed a high quality beer. It seemed like only us old guys liked a good sippin' whiskey now and then; maybe even a martini.

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Response to trof (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:07 PM

3. My dad was a pilot

He flew part time in the AF and after he got out. He didn't touch ETOH 24 hours before he flew.

He flew about once a week.

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