A Delta Air Lines pilot faced harsh consequences on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019. One of the pilots on Delta flight 1728 from Minneapolis to San Diego was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol. After his removal, the flight continued with a new pilot an hour after the scheduled departure time.
CNN reports that a pilot named Gabriel Lyle Schroeder from Minnesota faced arrest after local authorities suspected him of being under the influence of alcohol. This is a serious charge to level against a pilot. However, authorities picked up on his odd behavior around the security line. In addition, authorities did find the pilot to be in possession of a “container of alcohol”. At the time of writing, the investigation is ongoing.
A new pilot was sourced for the Airbus A321. Fortunately for passengers, the flight only departed about one hour after scheduled departure time. Thankfully, authorities made the interception before the aircraft was in the air. Takeoff is one of the most dangerous times of flight, so an inebriated pilot could lead to a dangerous scenario for passengers.
Simple Flying reached out to Delta who offered the following statement:
Delta’s alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation. Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.
Alcohol in the cockpit
In the aviation world, one of the most serious of situations is when pilots are under the influence of alcohol. In most countries, pilots are not allowed to operate aircraft if they have had a drink, and for good reason too. Alcohol affects both cognitive and nervous system function, often causing delays in reaction times. A pilot’s quick response could prove to be the difference between a fatal crash and a safe emergency landing.
Delta is not the only airline to face this sort of issue. In February, an American Airlines flight was canceled due to a pilot who was under the influence of alcohol. Last year, notable incidents involving Air India and Singapore Airlines flights involved pilots who were not sober enough to fly. Even Japan Airlines had to deal with this issue.
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Overall, this does not represent a dangerous standard of safety at Delta, American, Air India, or Singapore Airlines. Instead, these incidents are isolated events.
Most airlines, including Delta, serve alcohol onboard their aircraft. However, pilots are not to receive alcohol while on duty. This policy led to a controversial incident on Korean Air. In most cases, pilots do obey the rules and maintain sobriety during flight. Passengers, however, not always.
Authorities intervened to prevent what could have been an unfortunate incident for passengers. The aviation world is unequivocally united in opposition to alcohol in the cockpit. In this case, it seems that security personnel handled the situation per procedure. The results from the full investigation are not public, yet.
What do you make of this situation? Let us know in the comments!