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FUI – Flying Under the Influence
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One pilot for American Eagle Airlines drank much, much more than the contents of a single airline bottle of gin. According to a report from Bloomberg, Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, a pilot from Raleigh, North Carolina has been charged with attempting to fly a commercial plane while drunk. It is fortunate that Kristiansen was not able to take the plane up in his state, as the passengers were not put in danger and Kristiansen himself was saved the embarrassment of trying to fit his 747 through the drive-thru at Taco Bell to “grab some late night munchies.”

On January 4, Kristiansen and three other pilots entered an elevator at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. An airport police officer who was exiting the elevator at the time smelled alcohol, and alerted other members of his team. Allegedly Kristiansen sat down in the cockpit and planned to man the flight in his intoxicated state when officers caught up with him, asked him to leave the plane, and arrested him.


Kristiansen had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09, which is twice the legal limit for commercial pilots in Minnesota, and, just generally a pretty bad idea when you are expected to operate some of the heaviest machinery on the planet. The pilot has been charged with three counts relating to attempting to operate an aircraft with an alcohol content of 0.04 or more, and each charge could land Kristiansen a year in jail, according to the Bloomberg report. He could be facing more serious charges based on how actively he was attempting to pilot the plane from the cockpit.

Matt Miller, a spokesman for American Eagle, said of Kristiansen, “The pilot involved in this matter continues to be withheld from service. American Eagle has a well-established substance abuse policy that is designed to put the safety of our customers and employees first.”

Drunk airline pilots are seemingly all the rage these days, as a Jet Blue pilot was kicked out of the cockpit, mid-flight, by his co-pilot after exhibiting erratic behavior. That pilot, Clayton Osborn, was not actually drunk, and cleared of all charges. The recent box office-topper “Flight” stars Denzel Washington as a drunk commercial pilot who successfully crash lands a plane while intoxicated and then faces his demons.

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No date is yet set for Kristiansen’s trial, but we do hope that if he has to fly from Raleigh to Minneapolis, that the pilot of his flight stays on a straighter and narrower path than Kristiansen has been able to.

Note: The above photo was released by the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the credit goes to AP/Airport Police.



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