Both Were Over Legal Driving Limit, Police Say; But
They Were in the Cockpit!
Miami-Dade County Police spokesman Juan
Delcastillo commented on yesterday's arrest of two America West
pilots, who were ordered to return to the gate, as they were
taxiing for takeoff for Phoenix, with 124 PAX and three additional
The plane was turned around at Miami-Dade after police contacted
the tower. The pilots complied.
The two were rude as they tried to carry cups of coffee through
security (see <<A class=""
target=_blank>STRONG>related story today); and the screener
said they both smelled of alcohol. The cops called the tower just
Yes -- but were they drinking? Delcastillo says they failed a
roadside sobriety test at the airport, and were taken to the police
station. Keep in mind that this was some time, long after they
boarded the plane; and even after they were to have taken off and
gone to a cabin altitude of 8000 feet -- "The pilot came back with
0.091 and the co-pilot with a 0.084," he said. In Florida, you
can't even drive a car at those levels!
two, identified as Captain Thomas Cloyd, 44, and First Officer
Christopher Hughes, 40, were locked up on felony charges of
operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol (OAUI?).
America West's media relations people were quick to respond; the
company's policy tolerates no alcohol, within twelve hours of
departure (or, of course, while working). That's 50% more
abstinence than even the FAA requires. These two men appear to be
in a lot of trouble, on many fronts -- but nothing compared to the
trouble they could have caused, if the
(private-company) screener, the police, and the tower hadn't
been on their toes.
The flight was canceled, and passengers were put on other