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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The drunkenness of the pilots is a long-standing problem of aviation

As one of the causes of the disaster Il-76 in the Irkutsk region till Tuesday was considered by the drunkenness of the crew. Experts of the Investigative Committee did not find traces of alcohol in the blood of pilots. However, in the history of aviation there were many cases, when alcohol became a cause of accidents. And the question of what to do with it, is still relevant.

According to some, the drunkenness of the crews involved in fighting fires, it was noted before, but it turned a blind eye because of a shortage of flight crews.

“Pre-flight medical examination did not exist, but because the pilots Furmanov”, “Fokker” and “Newparam” from time to time could do before departure a SIP of “courage” or “to keep warm”

So, at the end of September 2011, the forensic examination confirmed that blood of the Navigator Tu-134 of the airline RusAir crashed near Petrozavodsk in June of the same year, was alcohol in the quantity that corresponds to the glass of vodka on an empty stomach. Given the fact that the Navigator played an active role in the establishment of the aircraft on landing, there is every reason to assume that his inadequate instructions to the pilots would cause disaster.

Also in memory POPs up the crash “Boeing-737” of airline “Aeroflot-Nord”. The plane crashed in September 2008 when landing in Perm due to inadequate actions of the crew when piloting, and besides – because of the inability of the pilots to properly perform team Manager. The investigation showed that in the blood and tissues of the deceased aircraft commander (FAC) was discovered ethyl alcohol in an amount greatly exceeding the threshold of “sobriety”.

Another case, which, fortunately, has not led to the tragedy, the good drunk was not a pilot. In 2007, passengers of flight of airline “Aeroflot-Nord” in the Norwegian city of Tromso complained to the police at the airport of arrival one of the flight attendants. The girl was detained, was taken to a local hospital for examination and confirmed – Yes, drunk. In the end, the aircraft flew back, and the flight attendant was sentenced to imprisonment in a Norwegian prison for a period of 60 days.

And the battle is going again

It is difficult to say what were the relations with alcohol pilots at the dawn of aviation. Pre-flight medical examination did not exist, but because the pilots Furmanov”, “Fokker” and “Newparam” from time to time could do before departure a SIP of “courage” or “to warm up”. “Stack”, utugova the sky before and during the First world war, draughty, and pilots in them (especially in winter) is very uncomfortable. However, quite soon the aircraft from the exploits of some brave souls have turned into a widespread activity with a concomitant set of academic disciplines, one of which was aviation medicine. The detrimental impact of alcohol on operational skills, it has been scientifically proven. In the end, the alcohol in the cockpit was outlawed, not only in bottles but also in the form of a percentage of alcohol in the blood of pilots.

The Second world war. History is silent, was there a “drunken sorties in Soviet aviation. Possible, Yes. Remember that “Stalin’s falcons” were a tradition – 100 grams of downed. But if there were several downed in one day? The Germans did not expect, when from the blood of Soviet pilots completely out of alcohol, and it could be a situation where just celebrated your victory the pilot was forced to rise again into the air to repel the attack of Nazi aviation. On the other hand, there was the element support mode “sober” in the Soviet air force, namely, the penal battalions, which was accessed for the slightest offense, not to mention the attempt of departure in a drunken state. The prospect of a change of control knob or wheel to the trenches and three-line rifle, in fact – to become a suicide bomber (the penalty box is always thrown into the Inferno), held from alcohol better than any pre-flight inspection. There was, incidentally, a group of pilots of the penalty box, which was commanded by the legendary Soviet ACE Ivan Fedorov. But to get there for the guilty pilots was that lucky, expect to which was not necessary.

In the Luftwaffe formations were more liberal. So, according to the book “a Baker’s dozen of aces of the Luftwaffe” only strict order of the commander once made one of these aces – Walter Krupinski – “break away from the large barrel of cognac and drunk to fly the Me-262 (jet, the fastest fighter of world war II) in his part.” In that place, where was stationed a detachment, commanded Krupinski, he invariably demanded the construction of the bar. And after the war was promoted to Brigadier General in the new German air force. Another as – Karl Junger – was often so drunk that the next day could not rise, not in the air, but even from the bed. In the cargo hold of the commander of the fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe, Adolf Galland “has always stood ready with a box of champagne and a basket of lobsters”. And the most effective fighter in the history of world aviation Erich Hartmann (352 downed), is clearly taking the example Krupinski, after the war ordered to build on the territory of the airbase, where he flew several bars.

The war ended, but the “green snake” and did not think to give up – neither in the West nor in the Soviet Union, the disciplinary regulations of the air force which had a special article “E” to drink, which the pilot could officially be written off. In 1948 the crew of a twin-engine passenger aircraft Li-2 in East-the Siberian management of GVF (Civil air fleet – then known as civil aviation) in adverse weather conditions dropped to a height of 100 meters and tried to go along the river. The attempt failed, the plane crashed, killing 28 people. The investigation established that on the eve of the crew paid tribute to the “spirits” that affected his ability to objectively assess the weather conditions and the possibility of a flight in them.

There is every reason to assume that such incidents, including attempted flight in a drunken state, was much more just not all of them were made public. Suffice it to recall that in the West very common private aircraft and pilot who owns a small “Piper” or “Cessna”, is not required to undergo any pre-flight inspections and in principle could go in a state where on earth it is not able to stand. Another thing is that in the US, for example, there are typically Eight hours from bottle to throttle (“eight hours from bottle to Gaza”), which translated into “poetic” Russian will sound like this: “Eight o’clock from the glass to the helm. This means that the pilot has no right to consume alcohol eight hours before flying.

One of the most famous air crash outside of the USSR and Russia, caused by either drunk, or insufficiently rested after a stormy “Banquet” pilots, you can remember the accident the Finnish DC-3 in January 1961 (died 25), Norwegian military transport aircraft in July 1972 (17 people killed) and the Japanese cargo DC-8 (killed 5 people). Interestingly, in the blood of the commander of the Japanese “truck” was discovered amount of alcohol, three times higher than the level at which a driver in Alaska is recognized drunk (and from there flew the crashed DC-8).

Never argue with security

“One of the most famous air crash outside of the USSR and Russia, caused by either drunk, or insufficiently rested after a stormy “Banquet” pilots, you can remember the accident the Finnish DC-3 in January 1961″

In December 2008 at London’s Heathrow airport arrested the pilot of Jet Airways, who, being drunk, was going to carry about 300 passengers in Mumbai. But even more “art” occurred in 2002 in the USA, when the crew of the airplane A-319 of airline “America West” with 117 passengers on Board were literally off the plane after he tried to drunkenly make a flight from Miami to Phoenix. Was then arrested 44-year-old commander with 12 years of experience at the company and 41-year-old pilot, who worked for America West for 3 years. Security at the airport stopped pilots when they tried to smuggle through a metal detector closed plastic cups, reminiscent of regular coffee. The representative of the security service asked the pilots to open them, and they in return began to whoop so that the security guard was forced to call the authorities. The pilots proceeded further as if nothing had happened. When to the place of incident there has arrived police, the pilots not only took their seats in the cockpit of a ship, but and taxied to the runway. The police had to contact the dispatcher service, so that she ordered the crew to return to the terminal. When the drunkenness of the pilots was found to be both imprisoned, and then freed on bail. After some time they received an official notification from “America West” that the company their services are no longer needed. The investigation found that the pilots had a drink in the bar on two 14 servings of beer (in America, this portion is usually 12 ounces or 340 milligrams) or a total of nearly five liters. And they left the pub at 4.40 am or less than six hours before the flight.

The final outcome of the pre-communion with Bacchus was for pilots gloomy even without the job loss. After the trial, which lasted nearly three years, the commander received five years in prison. By the way, the court found that several months before this incident, he was arrested for driving under the influence. We can only guess as he continued to work in the airline, because the rules of the Federal aviation administration (FAA) of the United States the pilot in the event of prosecution for driving “under the weather” is obliged to deliver notification of the government organization. Apparently, the boss just hid that fact from the FAA that was another offence on his part. As for the second pilot, he received two and a half years of imprisonment plus six years of being under police supervision and a year of probation. In addition, he was sentenced to hard labor, fined 5 thousand dollars and the loss of the right to pilot an aircraft within five years.

Statistics show that in 2001, nine of the pilots of the aircraft have not passed the alcohol test immediately prior to departure, and in 2002 this number rose to twenty-two people. This is a small number, considering that in 2003 in USA there were 75 000 pilots with the right to operate scheduled air. However, the FAA has considered this trend quite alarming and in 2003 officially decided that if any of the line pilots will not pass alcohol test immediately prior to the flight, then immediately lose both your pilot license and medical certificate, or two documents, without which the pilot from the legal point of view ceases to be so. Measures is reasonable, given that, according to USA Today, over the past decade in the U.S. an average of 11 pilots a year, attempted the flight in a drunken state.

However, according to aviation experts, alcohol is not a problem that can affect the safety of flights in the United States. In 2015, the American civil aviation spent something like a total test alcohol 56 000 aviation professionals, including pilots, technicians, air traffic controllers and security personnel. Of them have not passed the test only 119 people or 0.2% of the total number surveyed: the alcohol content in their blood was above the legal 0,04%. At the same time, in the period 2010-2015 FAA punished 64 pilot for violation of the rules the influence of alcohol or drugs. Information about the holding of such large-scale events in Russia.

What to do?

It is clear that some prohibitions and threats problem drinking at the wheel can not be solved. There will always be those who ignore the drunks hand, not only in Russia.

There is a security control, however, what prevents the pilot of the airliner tilting the Cup after landing in the cabin, especially in the area of “duty free” is always a wide choice of fine drinks. Some airlines began to carry out anti-alcohol control of the crew after the landing the pilots in the cockpit, but there are flights that last many hours. If the pilot flying out of Moscow, drink 100 grams of vodka or 300-400 grams of wine immediately after takeoff, time of landing in new York (the most critical parts of the flight) will be as “glass”.

Add to this the relative boredom and monotony of the flight, especially overseas, because aircraft controls autopilot embedded in on-Board computer route. The only variety in these flights was periodic communication with traffic control points along the route of flight, but modern ships even getting clearances automatically. In the end, the pilots, as they themselves say, “smoke a bamboo during the long flight over the water. But if any of them get tired of “smoke” on the plane always have a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. Besides, long flights are always reinforced crew when on Board there is replacement of the commander of the ship, periodically replacing the commander, the second pilot. This is an additional soothing factor for the pilot who wants a little “relaxed”.

Thus, educational work with crews to develop their sense of professional responsibility is the last and most reliable line of defense” against attempts to “green snake” to get into the cockpit.

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