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"Pilot grounded as alcohol charges are investigated"



Monday, July 29, 2002

Pilot grounded as alcohol charges are investigated 
BY JUSTIN BACHMAN
The Associated Press 


ATLANTA -- A pilot has been grounded after he was stopped from boarding
an Atlanta-bound flight by a security screener who smelled alcohol on
his breath, officials said Monday. 

Investigators for ASA, a regional carrier, and the Federal Aviation
Administration were awaiting results of blood and urine tests to
determine whether the unidentified pilot was drunk. 

The pilot, a co-pilot on Flight 4240 from Wilmington, N.C., was stopped
Sunday as he tried to board the plane. He has returned to Georgia and is
on paid leave, ASA spokesman Kent Landers said. 

The test results were expected Tuesday. 

The flight had 27 passengers who had not yet boarded the twin-engine
plane. They were rebooked on other flights,and Flight 4240 departed with
another crew, nearly six hours late. 

Airline officials would not say how long the pilot has worked for ASA, a
Delta Air Lines carrier that operates eight flights between Atlanta and
Wilmington each day. 

Flight crew members may not have more than a 0.04 percent blood-alcohol
level and may not drink alcohol within eight hours before duty,
according to FAA regulations. Violations can lead to license revocation.


``We take these allegations very seriously and will conduct this
investigation in a thorough manner,'' Landers said. ``ASA maintains a
zero tolerance policy for alcohol abuse on the job.''


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