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United Pilot Three Times Over Alcohol Limit

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 3:54 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Pilots, DUI, United Airlines, Drunk Pilots, Aviation

United pilot was three times over the alcohol limit last November when he was about to take off with 124 passengers, now he is facing jail time.

Facing Prison in UK


IMAGE SOURCE: Chicago Tribune Web site/ United Airlines

The Daily Mail is reporting that a United Airlines pilot who was pulled off a plane bound for the U.S. at London’s Heathrow Airport last November, was more than three times over the alcohol limit.

Captain Erwin Washington, 51, is facing prison in the United Kingdom (UK) since he was preparing to fly the Boeing 767 to Chicago with 124 passengers and 11 crew aboard.

He was only stopped when a crew member smelled alcohol on his breath. At that point, police boarded the plane and ordered the pilot to take an alcohol test.  

Today, Washington, of Lakewood, Colorado, pled guilty to performing an aviation function while exceeding the proscribed alcohol limit, the Daily Mail reports.

Washington had 31 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, while the legal limit is nine micrograms. U.S. regulations prohibit pilots from flying if they have an alcohol concentration of 0.04, half of the legal driving limit.

For a 180-pound man that equals about two drinks according to the Blood Alcohol Calculator Web site and U.S. pilots must wait 12 hours from “bottle-to-throttle.”

Washington is the third U.S. pilot in 13 months to be arrested for being over the strict alcohol limits imposed by the airline. Two flew for United, and the third for American Airlines, while two of the three flights were heading for Chicago, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Washington is an air force veteran, where he trained on the B-52 bomber. He will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court in South London on February 5. He is facing two years in prison and a fine. #

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