VS Pilot 'Drunk'


A few weeks back a pilot was arrested in a Virgin A340-600 at the gate, supposedly drunk, the thing is he was taken to a cell and held for 5 hours before having a test to see if he was drunk, while at the same time the media was ripping him to shreds with complete utter BS, the test was clear and it was a diet the pilot was on that made his breath smell of alcohol, but why didnt the cops test him at the terminal? instead of letting it get out and his reputation ruined?


What the hell kind of diet makes your breath wreak of alcohol enough to make people around think you’ve been drinking? I would think that a professional pilot would stay away from such a diet so as to avoid such problems.


Needlenose, see Ketosis.

I think in advanced stages, the byproduct of this process cause an odor on the breath that can be mistaken for alcohol.


Good call jreeves!!

That was my guess too. I work as a paramedic full time and ketosis is easily confused as drunk.

People could present as altered, confused, combative, with slurred speech. Often noted to be staggering or swaying. The smell is close to that of alcohol but I think it is a little sweeter… I have always compared it to acetone or the closest would be juicy fruit gum.

The fact that the pilot was held for 5 hours before the test is a bit shady though-- Quick blood glucose test or breath alcohol test would have proven drunk or diet. A 5 hour wait destroys any solid proof to defend / accuse him.


Ketosis or drunk, either way he shouldn’t be flying an airplane.

Symptoms of ketosis include general tiredness, abrupt or gradually increasing weakness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, abdominal pain, irritability, nausea and vomiting, sleep problems and bad breath.


That’s where the “presumed innocent until proven guilty” thing comes into play. If he was drunk, they wouldn’t be able to convict him.


does Ketosis actually make a person feel drunk then? Because there wasnt no report of the pilot acting drunk in anyway it was just his breath, apparently smelt by one of the cabin crew, doubt hes not going to be on top of his xmas card list this year!


My gut answer (And I usally avoid thinking with my gut) is that detectable levels of acetone could be present w/o other symptoms.

I wonder if the acetone could trip the alcohol test- and that was the reson for the delay. Pilot fails first test, but claims diet. confine and wait 5 hours. If it was alcohol, pilot shoul pass second test. If acetone from diet was causing a false positive, pilot should still “fail” a second test.

  • Would expect though that a blood test would provide definitve results. Nutter, could you post a link to the actual story?


jreeves if your patient enough ill get it in a couple of days, though as usual the media went a bit o.t.t, as the main headline was ‘Pilot Nicked at Takeoff’ or ‘Pilot Nicked Seconds before Takeoff’ where the truth is the aircraft was still at the gate still waiting for the passengers!!!surely thats at least 15mins before takeoff, the media P**s me off sometimes i must say


Out of curiosity, I did a google news search and found that the pilot has been cleared of charges and has returned flying.

While an initial breath test showed the pilot to be over the alcohol limit, police told the pilot that a blood test was negative, Virgin Atlantic spokesman Paul Charles said.

The result showed the amount of alcohol in the blood was consistent with that of a non-drinker, he said.

Full story HERE


if you want to read the full story its on this adress,


though it doesnt mention about him being cleared as it was published about 12hours after the incident happened


I heard that the British pound reached $2.00 US. So that means he earns the equivalent of nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year?

<<<THE drunk skipper of a Virgin Atlantic flight was hauled off his plane in HANDCUFFS in front of shocked passengers.

Police swooped after being alerted by security staff who suspected the 120,000-a-year flier had been boozing.>>>


The UK Pound is tied to the value of the EU Euro which hit $2 recently.

Plus one need consider that almost everything “over there” costs twice as much as here in the US thanks to VAT (Value Added Tax).


This is interesting – what is the average pay for a relatively senior airline pilot working for US airlines? Is it >$150K or >200K?


Go to airlinepilotcentral.com
On the right banner, click on "Legacy"
Choose the airline of your choice.
Check out the pay scales.
Go to the bottom calculator, click and move the fields to reflect the hourly rate, monthly guarantee, and 12 month period.

Examples (based on monthly guarantee and not including Per Diem):
10 year 767 captain at American makes approx. $144k
10 year 757/767 captain at Delta makes approx. $121k
10 year 757/767 captain at United makes approx. $116k
compared to:
10 year 737 captain at Southwest makes approx. $181k
10 year widebody captain at Fedex makes approx. $190k
10 year P180 captain at Avantair makes approx. $98k :slight_smile:
10 year Beech 1900 captain at Colgan makes approx. $41k
(if you’ve been a 1900 captain for 10 years, you really have to stop procrastinating and get a new job…)


Per diem makes it better. Southwest has very good program of course. I have a friend who is a ten year captain flying reserve for SWA @ 1.5 times the advertised rate. With all the perks and good company practices… thats a good gig!


this is an interesting article from the sun newspaper:


its about a retired airline pilot who goes out on the lash then next morning flies a trident simulator, makes interesting reading


Thanks for the link – BTW there are all jet, is the scale different for Turboprop pilots?


The Beech 1900 is a turbo prop.


As is the P180.