Flying under the influence

Sherburne County authorities have arrested a pilot who crashed his ultralight into Elk Lake in Zimmerman. He was detained on suspicion of drunk, ummm, flying.

I know what you’re thinking. How often does this happen?

Not often. The Federal Aviation Administration takes the issue much more seriously than your typical state motor vehicle department. Penalties for drinking and flying are much more severe.

FAA rules prohibit a blood-alcohol reading of .04 (compared to .08 for driving a car). Pilots are also not allowed to fly if they’ve had any alcoholic beverage within the previous 8 hours.

In addition, any action involving driving under the influence on a boat, snowmobile or car requires the pilot to notify the FAA of the offense and a pilot could lose his certificate.

It does happen, as this August 2009 News Cut post showed.

  • John O.

    Ahh yes….sounds like wWe have a 2010 candidate for the Norman Prouse “Excellence in Aviation” award.

  • John O.

    Oops. The word should be “we” and not a distorted spelling of the professional wrestling organization bearing those initials.

  • bsimon

    is there enough data to see if ultralight pilots take the bottle-to-throttle restrictions less seriously? Is it still true that you don’t even need a pilot’s license to fly ultralights?

  • Bob Collins

    Ultralight pilots are now required to possess a pilot’s certificate.