Drunk JetBlue Pilot Pulled From Plane After 10 Beers

Drunk JetBlue Pilot Pulled From Plane After 10 Beers

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A JetBlue flight was delayed by around four hours yesterday because a pilot showed up to an early morning flight intoxicated. Apparently he had 10 beers the night before.

JetBlue pilot blows 0.17 for early morning flight

This incident occurred on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, and involves the pilot of JetBlue flight 2465 from Buffalo (BUF) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Specifically, a 52-year-old JetBlue pilot from Orlando was pulled from the cockpit shortly before departure, on a flight with 133 passengers onboard.

Here’s what happened, according to the police report:

  • The pilot had missed the shuttle to the airport with the crew, and had to take a separate Uber; the crew also couldn’t get in touch with him
  • The pilot needed to have a firearm checked at the security checkpoint, and that requires calling over law enforcement; the TSA and law enforcement went through that process, but agreed something seemed “off” about the pilot
  • At that point law enforcement went to the plane and asked the pilot to step off the plane; this was after most passengers had already boarded
  • The pilot was asked if he had any drinks that morning, and responded he didn’t; when he was asked if he had drinks the night before, he said he had five to six beers at dinner
  • The pilot then failed basic field sobriety tests, and was asked to blow into a breathalyzer
  • He blew a 0.174; for context, the legal limit for pilots is 0.04 (half the legal limit of operating a car), and pilots aren’t supposed to drink within eight hours of flying

The JetBlue flight ended up being delayed by around four hours as the airline found a replacement pilot. So while the flight was initially supposed to depart at 6:15AM, it ended up leaving at 10:25AM.

The pilot was taken into custody after the incident but not charged, though he could be looking at some serious time in prison. Furthermore, JetBlue has already fired the pilot.

I wonder to what extent passengers witnessed this incident

How did the pilot get so intoxicated?

The pilots had arrived in Buffalo at 6AM on Tuesday, after working a Monday night redeye from Los Angeles. The other pilot in the cockpit said he had met up with his colleague at around 5PM the evening before at Sidelines Bar. The two had dinner and played some darts.

The one pilot left at 9:30PM, while the other pilot ended up sticking around, as “someone caught his interest” at the bar.

While in custody, the pilot was overheard telling someone on the phone that he had around 10 22-ounce beers the night before, known as “Tall Boys.” So yeah, he had 220 ounces of beer. He claims he left the bar at around 12AM.

A JetBlue pilot was pulled from a plane intoxicated

Bottom line

A JetBlue pilot was acting suspiciously at the airport for an early morning flight from Buffalo. After a breathalyzer was performed, it was determined that the pilot was more than four times over the legal alcohol limit for flying. He was overheard admitting that he had 10 beers the night before.

I hope this pilot gets the help he needs, because it’s sad to endanger other people like this. While I suppose it’s always possible that this was an isolated incident, more often than not people don’t get caught the first time, so one has to wonder how often he has tried to fly over the legal limit.

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  1. Ed Stewart Guest

    How could the other pilot and or cabin crew not notice his condition after his first 3 or 4 minutes on board? For their failure to notice his condition should result in their being placed on a leave of absence with further training. Or was it a matter of their looking the other way?

  2. BlackLab Guest

    What an embarrassment, to the profession and to his airline. This guy obviously has a problem, but showing up drunk is not an accidental act. And read between the lines: why did he make contact with a LEO at screening point??? If he was what I think he was, this is unforgivable. He is likely to be charged under one or more Federal criminal statutes, I predict at least 60 months, hopefully in a US Penitentiary, not a camp. Deserves it.

    1. foo blah Guest

      Nah. He'll just have his pilot's license yanked by the FAA. His best bet is to declare he has a problem. if he wants to ever fly again he will go through the FAA's quite successful HIMS program, which is for pilots with substance abuse problems. It's a long haul, but he could potentially make it. Though would be unlikely to pilot for a major airline again.

      https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/media/HIMSAMEStepDownPlan.pdf

      Nah. He'll just have his pilot's license yanked by the FAA. His best bet is to declare he has a problem. if he wants to ever fly again he will go through the FAA's quite successful HIMS program, which is for pilots with substance abuse problems. It's a long haul, but he could potentially make it. Though would be unlikely to pilot for a major airline again.

      https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/media/HIMSAMEStepDownPlan.pdf

  3. Capt. Clarence Oveur Guest

    Looks like He picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue?

    1. D3kingg Guest

      Roger roger. What’s our vector victor ?

  4. Apu Guest

    Is FUI a thing for which he will be imprisoned? Flying-Under-Influence, I mean...

  5. John Guest

    That’s 16.67 drinks (considering a standard beer is 12oz), that’s just shy of an entire standard bottle of liquor in a single sitting. Should have called in sick like a previous commenter mentioned. No buiness taking other peoples’ lives into your hands after having a frat night out. Learn your limits…

  6. Anon Guest

    He should have called in sick, which would have saved his career and avoided a (likely) criminal conviction.

  7. SS Guest

    Well written article.
    Yes, pilots are humans too.

    There are checks and balances in the system to prevent intoxicated or ill pilots from operating aircraft and the system worked this time.

    And there are two pilots.

    Also, There are plans to eliminate one pilot in the future for "safety".

    1. D3kingg Guest

      There will only be 1 pilot in the future. No FAs and not GAs. What’s your point ?

  8. Donna Diamond

    My college roommate at UCLA dropped out of school when she was hired by a major airline in her senior year to become a FA. I went to many parties with her after with her airline friends and there was a big alcohol culture among that group that would put any Frat house to shame. I once asked her if the pilots fly drunk and she said that they were always sober by the next...

    My college roommate at UCLA dropped out of school when she was hired by a major airline in her senior year to become a FA. I went to many parties with her after with her airline friends and there was a big alcohol culture among that group that would put any Frat house to shame. I once asked her if the pilots fly drunk and she said that they were always sober by the next morning as much as she could tell but the thing that should concern us more is that the alcoholic pilots, while they may be sober on duty are more focused on hitting the hotel bar and not on landing the plane on final approach. Years later I noticed that pursers would empty the opened wine bottles in the sink prior to landing. I was told by my friend that some did to prevent the bottles from ending up in crew baggage at the layover. Speaking of which, I often stay at a hotel in Rome which is under contract with a US based airline for their crew rest. I always get a comp’ed bottle of wine and was told crews also get them if they request it. No shortage of temptation for those with addiction issues in the airline industry.

    1. Eric Guest

      You should stop making such big statements and accusations. Fa dump the wine down the drain because of open container legalities on international destination. It had nothing to see with preventing alcohol ending up in a layover. There are people with drug problems in every single field, including judges getting dui, police, military , presiden5s etc. Clean your lips .

  9. Bill Guest

    Ben, please refrain from calling everyone in the cockpit the “pilot”. Did he have 4 stripes? 3 stripes? FO? Captain? Left seat? Right seat? Jump seat? All important information.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bill -- I would have said that if I could say with certainty. I don't see anything in the police report that indicates it one way or another, so I'd rather be accurate and vague. Some people suggest it was the captain, but again, I haven't seen that officially substantiated.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      How is it important?
      You got a drunk person reporting for work over the legal limit.

      I mean yes, it would be important if 4 stripes have a different BAC legal limit than 3 stripes. Or FO can drink less than Captain. But that isn't the case here.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      How is any of that even relevant, much less important. Regardless of rank, it was still a drunk at the controls.

    4. jallan New Member

      1) the exact rank might not have been known.
      2) it doesn't matter - pilot, or copilot, they're both expected to be able to safely fly the plane and adhere to the regulations.

  10. Jason Guest

    The removed pilot was the FO on this particular flight. Replaced by a CA who happened to be a check airman that could fly from the right seat legally.

  11. Mr. Obvious Guest

    I think every flight for this guy was likely a "red-eye" flight...

  12. Emily Guest

    Americans never cease to deliver comedy.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Indeed, because that's the only place this sorta thing happens... what a dimwitted comment.

    2. DCharlie Guest

      It's definitely not the only place, but in-flight incidents and flying rage are much more frequent in the US than in other countries.

      @Emily - kudos for planting one right in there so that it hits the soft-hearts of the defenders of 'Muricastan!

    3. Kent Guest

      An interesting study found that amongst all OECD countries, the US had a significantly higher fraction of adults with a juvenile mentality in combination with a sense of individual superiority. When combined, the two tend to create a deadly mix. This topic was recently covered on Freakonomics as well.

      @DCharlie - there are some in the journalistic circle who refer to the US as the Kingdom of Saudi Americana.

  13. Scudder Diamond

    Carries a firearm for his layovers?
    A) WTF is that about?
    B) I'd bet that blite disregard for the souls on board the plane won't even affect his ability to brandish lethal arms.

    1. PHLPHLYER Guest

      He was an FFDO. Many pilots are and they carry their issued firearms. However, he’s now lost that privilege forever.

    2. Scudder Diamond

      With such poor judgment, how was he ever given such privileges?

  14. S Mill Guest

    Great informative article. My sister was on this flight this morning coming to visit her Mom. She has 2 kids a husband etc needless to say we are a very close family and feel blessed that things went the way they did. A special thanks to TSA for doing the right thing yesterday . Let’s hope the pilot spends sometime reflecting on his actions.

  15. Ray Guest

    Yeah, I remember when 10 tall boys in a bar caught my interest, too.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      You sound like a pedophile. You should seek help fast.

    2. Leigh Gold

      You sound like a dimwit. You should seek help fast.

    3. henare Diamond

      and you sound like someone desperately looking for an opportunity to call someone a pedophile. grow up.

    4. Eskimo Guest

      So far I've only seen pedophiles and sex offenders defend each other.

      But don't worry, pedophiles are still human. There is still help for the three of you. No more beating you up or electric shocking you like the 50s.

  16. Twan Guest

    Former naval flight surgeon here. Sounds like a case of a functioning alcoholic. Gotta wonder how many times this jerk flew with a blood alcohol level just “somewhat” elevated, which would have degraded his performance. If just a isolated incident, then his total lack of professionalism and commitment to his job are disturbing. Accident just waiting to happen. Fire him and ban his license. Go work at target for $24 a hour, or shovel horse...

    Former naval flight surgeon here. Sounds like a case of a functioning alcoholic. Gotta wonder how many times this jerk flew with a blood alcohol level just “somewhat” elevated, which would have degraded his performance. If just a isolated incident, then his total lack of professionalism and commitment to his job are disturbing. Accident just waiting to happen. Fire him and ban his license. Go work at target for $24 a hour, or shovel horse manure, whatever! But don't fly aircraft!! Oh, and sidenote. How many are taking opoid pain meds on the side for back pain and not reporting it? Just as dangerous. Hopefully the airlines perform random drug screens like the navy does. OTW, look out.

    1. Santos Guest

      Take it from me, a former drunk. 10 tall boys in one sitting is not an isolated incident. He’s been doing this for years.

    2. Ben Dover Guest

      A former Naval Flight Surgeon? From the tone of your post, I'd certainly hate to have you examine me! Obviously, you know very little about substance addiction. Do some research on the ALPA HIMS program. If you are as you say, you are the reason more pilots don't come forward if they have a substance abuse problem.

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Ray Guest

Yeah, I remember when 10 tall boys in a bar caught my interest, too.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Bill -- I would have said that if I could say with certainty. I don't see anything in the police report that indicates it one way or another, so I'd rather be accurate and vague. Some people suggest it was the captain, but again, I haven't seen that officially substantiated.

4
ConcordeBoy Diamond

How is any of that even relevant, much less important. Regardless of rank, it was still a drunk at the controls.

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