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A brief history of drunk pilots: It’s refreshingly briefer than you think

Excerpt from Bloomberg Businessweek

Jan 10, 2013 1:36 am

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Inebriated pilots are few and far between and the lack of commercial airline fatalities due to a sloshed captain point once again to the safety of the skies.

— Jason Clampet

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Last Friday, 48 year-old American Eagle (AAMRQ) pilot Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen was forced from the cockpit after airline employees detected booze on him at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Kristiansen subsequently failed a breathalyzer, was arrested, and currently awaits blood tests that will reveal how drunk he really was. He is suspended and faces an internal investigation that could cost him his job.

In the U.S., federal rules prohibit a pilot from operating an aircraft if he or she has a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent or higher—or within eight hours of having consumed an alcoholic beverage, the period known as “bottle to throttle.”

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