WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A 62-year-old American Airlines pilot was caught drunk at a Manchester airport minutes before he was due to fly a passenger jet to the US on February 7.
- A security worker who smelled alcohol on David Copeland’s breath as he spoke to him alerted a senior colleague who called the police.
- The flight was canceled after the police discreetly removed Copeland, who was already in the cockpit, from the plane.
An American pilot was caught drunk, over the legal booze limit, at Manchester Airport minutes before he was due to fly an American Airlines passenger jet bound for the U.S.
David Copeland, the captain of the Philadelphia-bound flight, was due to leave Manchester Airport on February 7.
Jordon Fletcher, a security worker smelled alcohol on the Copeland’s breath while speaking to him, alerted a senior colleague who called the police.
The 62-year-old pilot was already in the cockpit when the police arrived. The flight had to be canceled after Copeland was discreetly removed from the aircraft.
Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard a breath test recorded a reading of an “air fail”, which prompted officers to take the pilot to a police station, The Mirror reported. Copeland then got a reading of 27 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath. To perform an aviation function, the legal limit should be 20.
Today, Copeland pleaded guilty to one count of performing an aviation function while impaired by drink. The sentencing is set on May 8.
District Judge Mark Hadfield declined a request from Copeland’s lawyer, who asked for the matter to be dealt with right away on the grounds that the reading of 27 microgrammes was only just above the legal limit.
“Given the risk that was taken, the numerous passengers on board put at risk, in my view it’s far too serious, bearing in mind the sentencing power of this court,” Judge Hadfield said.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman to the airlines said at that time: “American Airlines is aware of an incident involving a member of its crew at Manchester Airport earlier this morning.
“The employee was detained and the flight, AA735 to Philadelphia, has been canceled. Safety is our highest priority and we apologize to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans, we have rebooked them on alternative flights,” the spokeswoman added.
“We are fully cooperating with local law enforcement and further questions should be referred to them.”
Source: The Mirror