FOX NEWS - An American Airlines pilot flunked two sobriety tests before a 7 a.m. flight out of Detroit. An Alaska Airlines pilot flew a commercial plane from California to Oregon and back again, all while allegedly drunk. Yet another pilot, from United, allegedly moonlighted as a pimp, running half a dozen brothels out of apartments in Houston, according to authorities.
The cases are enough to frighten the flying public, and are not isolated, according to a FoxNews.com investigation. Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that while the overwhelming majority of men and women at the cockpit controls are law abiding and responsible, too many fly – or attempt to fly – intoxicated, and even engage in criminal behavior after they touch down.
"According to FAA data, there is no leveling off or decrease in this trend, in fact drug use seems to be climbing," said Peter Bartos, a retired military pilot with an FAA Airline Transport Pilot license, who reviewed the FAA data for FoxNews.com. “The general public probably has no idea that this abuse is occurring with such regularity at certain airlines.”
Experts say flying in America is extremely safe, and note that of the more than 56,000 alcohol screening tests done by the industry in 2015 for pilots, mechanics, aircraft dispatchers, ground security coordinators, aviation screeners, and traffic controllers, just 119 – or around 0.2 percent - were confirmed at or above the legal limit. Under FAA rules, pilots are not allowed to consume alcohol eight hours before a flight or have a blood alcohol content level higher than .04 percent.