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Monday 11 March 2024

Delta dawn: Sorry, your pilot's been on the piss

UPDATE: The pilot was this week sentenced to 10 months in jail.

When you are responsible for the safety of several hundred people, you probably should have the intelligence and decency not to get drunk as a skunk.

But a US-based Delta Air Lines pilot has pleaded guilty to being over the alcohol limit before he was due to fly a transatlantic flight back to the US from Scotland in June last year, Travel Mole reports.

Reporting for duty for an Edinburgh to New York flight, Lawrence Russell, 63, was searched by Edinburgh Airport security officers.

They discovered two bottles of herbal alcoholic drink Jägermeister in his bag, including one which was half empty.

Thinking he was possibly intoxicated, the officers required him to do a breath test - which he failed miserably. His reading was more than twice the legal limit.

Russell was remanded in custody at Edinburgh Sheriff's Court after pleading guilty to being impaired through drink as a pilot.

In mitigation, Russell’s lawyer supplied records to the court of his treatment for alcoholism. A bit of a worry for his passengers.

Russell said was "under no illusion" it was a serious offence.

Sheriff Alison Stirling this week said a prison sentence was necessary for the "protection of the public".

In sentencing, she said Russell "showed a reckless disregard for the safety of his passengers and crew. The pilot of a commercial aircraft holds the lives of hundreds in his hands.

“This conviction should send the message that crimes of this nature will be robustly dealt with.”

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