Delta Pilot Arrested for Flying Under the Influence

(ReliableNews.org) – It should go without saying that commercial pilots shouldn’t be drunk while performing their job. After all, they are often responsible for the lives of hundreds of people. A pilot just pleaded guilty to trying to fly last year while under the influence.

According to reports, former Delta pilot Lawrence Russell pleaded guilty to reporting for duty while impaired through drink or drugs. On June 16, 2023, Russell arrived at the Edinburgh Airport in Scotland, where the airline had scheduled him to fly to New York. The 63-year-old Georgia native went through a security checkpoint, and security officers found Jägermeister in his luggage.

The pilot had two bottles. One was half empty, so authorities gave him a breath test. The Delta captain failed the breathalyzer, and officers arrested him. The Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard his blood alcohol test showed “not less than 49mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood,” but the legal limit is 20mg. The pilot was almost 2.5 times above the legal limit.

The court remanded the pilot to jail after he pleaded guilty. Pamela Rogers, Russell’s attorney, said her client understood how serious the crime was. She said he was receiving treatment for alcohol addiction. Rogers showed the court proof that he’d received treatment.

Sheriff Alison Stirling will sentence Russell later in March.

Russell wasn’t the only American pilot to get into trouble for being under the influence last year. Just a month after his arrest in Scotland, a United Airlines pilot had his license suspended for a year because he was drunk before a flight. According to reports, the airline had scheduled the pilot to captain a flight from Paris to Washington, DC, when police noticed his state of intoxication. Officers said he couldn’t walk straight and his eyes were glassy.

The pilot had a blood alcohol level almost six times the legal limit in France and more than three times the FAA limit. In addition to the suspension, he had to pay a fine.

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