Saturday, February 11, 2006

An isolated incident

Inside the cockpit of an airliner parked at the gate.

Captain Fred Flyer (pushing his shoulders back against his seat and focusing hard on the instrument panel): “Pete, start the pre-flight.”

First Officer Peter Pilot (opening the pre-flight checklist binder): “Roger.”

Fred (staring out the forward widow, with a gloomy look on his face): “Beth is gonna leave me, Pete.”

Peter (turning his head slightly to his left): “Sir?”

Fred (starting to cry): “My wife is divorcing me.”

Peter (taken aback): “Fred, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Fred (turning his head toward his co-pilot): “She found out about Bambi and Gretchen and the gambling and…” (pilot’s voice trails off, and he stares glassy-eyed at his co-pilot)

Peter (eyes wide, disbelief in his voice): “Shit, Fred, are you drunk?”

Fred (turning his attention again to the instrument panel) “Could be yes, could be no. But you’re okay, right? You’re sober, right?”

Peter (switching his radio to the airline’s private communication frequency): “LA Base, this is LAX flight 1020.”

Airline’s Los Angeles flight operations: “Flight 1020, this is LA Base, go ahead.”

Peter: “LA Base, this is the co-pilot, we’re at the gate in pre-flight, the captain is ill.”

Flight Ops: “Does the captain require medical attention?”

Peter (disgusted): “No, but two gallons of black coffee couldn’t hurt.”

Flight Ops: (after a long pause): “Understand, a supervisor will be there shortly.”

Peter: “Yeah, and scare up another captain.”

Pilot Arrested, Suspected of Being Drunk

[American Airlines spokesman Tim] Wagner said the airline had begin [sic] an internal investigation into the arrest, which he called an "isolated incident."

The article recounts five reported intoxicated-pilot incidents (American Airlines, America West, British Airways, Finnair, United Airlines) in the last four years.


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