I’ve mentioned the issue of the occasional pilot getting into trouble for drinking on this blog before. But this time, I’d like to get a bit of feedback from our readers, many of whom are presumably considering a career as a professional pilot.
Here is the scenario: The FAA requires that a pilot not have alcohol for eight hours prior to flying (“8 hours, bottle to throttle”). Most airlines have a more restrictive rule, usually requiring at least 12 hours. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that you are a first officer with an airline, on an overnight. You have a morning report of 6 a.m. in the hotel lobby for the ride to the airport; the flight departs at 7 a.m. You’ve been in XYZ city since noon the day before, and you and your captain each go do your own thing for the day.
Situation A: You come back to the hotel at 8 p.m. and see your captain in the bar having what is clearly not his first drink.
Situation B: Here is a twist, one to muddy the waters a bit. Again, you and the captain head off in different directions after arriving at the hotel. You return that evening and go to bed, not having seen hide nor hair of anyone else from your crew. The next morning, you watch the captain come out of the elevator, and it is clear that not only has he been drinking, but he is also either suffering a pretty good hangover or may even still be a bit tipsy. Now what do you do?
Pick your scenario, and give us all a chance to see how you would react. If the feedback is plentiful, I will do another post in a week or so, and I will also throw in my own opinions on how to handle both of these situations.
These are two very common interview questions, and while the circumstances are rare to see in real life, they have been known to happen. Airlines want to know how you would handle a similar incident should you find yourself in either predicament.
Have at it!–Chip Wright