Drunk United Airlines pilot stopped at Heathrow airport

Sharon Miller

A United Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow airport following a failed breathalyser test as he was trying to board a plane carrying 135 passengers bound for Chicago. The 51-year-old man was scheduled to take charge of the transatlantic flight.

According to a Metropolitan Police official, the pilot was apprehended at noon on Monday and subsequently released on bail.

It’s been reported that authorities were alerted when Erwin Vermont Washington arrived at Heathrow’s Terminal 1 several hours before his Chicago flight.

A United Airlines employee at the airport reported Mr Washington and he was subjected to a breathalyser test and failed it, which brought on charges for being over the alcohol limit allowed to fly a plane.

United Airlines Flight 949, serviced with a Boeing 767, was scheduled to take off at 12.05pm from Heathrow airport and bound for Chicago’s O’Hare.

Because of the cancelled fight, the124 passengers and 11 crew members had to be transferred to another aircraft.

Safety is United Airlines’ highest priority and the pilot has been dismissed while the airline is cooperating with police authorities, said a spokeswoman for the carrier.

Airline pilots must respect a much stricter standard than motorists in regards to alcohol, with a limit of nine micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath being allowed. The limit is 35 for drivers in England. This means that pilots should not consume alcohol the night prior to their flight.

According to one pilot interviewed last night, the amount of alcohol allowed for a pilot is barely above the body’s natural level.

Normally, he said, pilots allowed at least 16 hours between alcohol consumption and a flight. Even fruit eaten on the Atkin’s diet can raise the level of alcohol in the blood.

Mr Washington is scheduled to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in Middlesex on November 20.




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