You’ve all heard the phrase “Don’t drink and drive,” but have you ever wondered if the same warning applies to drinking and flying? If a pilot in Calgary is any indication, there’s a lot of reason to be concerned about drunk pilots having care and control of aircraft in Canada.
Sunwing, a company that prides itself of taking Canadians out of the frigid winter and depositing them on a sunny beach in exotic locales, has found itself in the hot seat after one of their pilots decided to get drunk before jetting a plane full of people off to Mexico.
The pilot was scheduled to depart Calgary early on a Saturday morning and make several stops before he arrived at his final destination. Unfortunately police discovered him slumped over the seat in his plane and instead of hitting the beach, he was hitting the jail cell.
Although he’s since been released he’s been charged with having care and control of an aircraft while impaired and with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08. He’s also grounded, so there will be no flights of him while he’s out on bail.
The laws in Canada about drinking and flying and care and control are pretty clear: if you’re going to fly there’s a zero tolerance policy for the entire flight crew for eight hours before you go on duty. Sunwing vacations takes that one step further and has zero tolerance for alcohol for twelve hours before their pilots fly.
No, there are no roads in the sky, but letting a drunk pilot have care and control of an airplane could have even more disastrous results than giving a drunk person the keys to a car. These zero tolerance laws are put in place to ensure all Canadians get to their destinations safely, and that might not have happened had this pilot been able to take off in that plane.