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UPDATE: Pilots and Alcohol

February 11, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Pilots

I was a little surprised at some of the comments on a recent post about a passenger revolt in Moscow – a revolt that began when it appeared that the pilot of an Aeroflot plane was drunk.

Many of the comments seemed to blame some of the passengers – even though witnesses on board said the pilot appeared to be unsteady on his feet and slurring his words in the extreme (Aeroflot officials denied the allegation).

So now comes word from the Associated Press that Russian officials blame a Sept. 14 crash of a Boeing 737 (operated by an Aeroflot subsidiary) on the pilot’s unfamiliarity with the instrument panel – and, alcohol. A total of 88 people died in that crash.

According to AP, the pilot had “an unspecified amount of alcohol” in his body. Plus, a Russian flight controller said, the “pilot was behaving strangely, disobeying orders to descend on the final approach and instead taking the jet to a higher altitude.”

Russia’s aviation authority says its pilots will now get additional training on 737′s. No word on what (if anything) is being done about alcohol use.

By the way, this is not Russian-bashing; pilots and alcohol don’t mix no matter where they come from.

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