Sunday, February 8, 2009

Russian To The Bar

It seems that the idea of a pilot being too drunk to fly the plane has been over stated. While the passenger's natural impulse if they were to hear a slurred pre-flight announcement by the Captain might be to run for the exits, we should be reassured - it'll all be fine. That's exactly what happened on December 28 2008 as an Aeroflot aircraft prepared to leave Moscow's Sheremetevo airport. The pilot got on the intercom and was clearly inebriated, however the airline confirmed that it was "no big deal".

When the passengers demanded that the New York bound Boeing 767 be flown by someone other than Captain Alexander Cheplevsky the crew told them to "stop making trouble" or get off the aircraft. This failed to placate the passengers and Aeroflot officials came aboard the aircraft. One calmed their nerves by saying "It's not such a big deal if the pilot is drunk. Really, all he has to do is press a button and the plane flies itself."

Despite this observation a new crew was found and after a few hours wait the flight left. Later on an Aeroflot spokesman noted that "The pilot was tested for alcohol and none was found." So that's OK then. But if he had been drunk then that would be fine too. Right?

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