Search This Site

This site requires Quick time to play its audio player if need.
"A penny for your thoughts"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Drunked Pilots in Aeroflot flight from Moscow to New York

On 28 December 2008, the pilot, Alexander Cheplevsky was so garbled it was impossible to tell what language he was speaking on a welcome announcement aboard a 10 hours Aeroflot flight from Moscow to New York. Despite a group of passengers demanded to see the man at the controls to check whether or not he was drunk, Mr Cheplevsky refused to leave the cockpit to reassure the passengers, who were told by the crew they should either stop complaining or get off the plane. An Aeroflot representative boarded the aircraft and told the passengers it wasn't a big deal if the pilot was drunk. A television presenter, Ksenia Sobchak who happened to be on the plane saved the day by making a few phone calls and after a delay of several hours, the pilots were replaced and flight 315 took off.

The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that Mr Cheplevsky had been celebrating his birthday the night before, but the airline denied he was drunk. A spokeswoman for Aeroflot, Irina Dannenberg, accused the passengers of "mass psychosis" and said the airline would sue Ms Sobchak. The airline later issued a statement claiming the pilot may have suffered a stroke before take-off.

A passenger, Katya Kushner,described the incident as the pilot, Alexander Cheplevsky was looking at the passengers like they were crazy. Then, when they wouldn't back down, he said that he wouldsit there quietly in a corner, that they had three more pilots and he wouldn't even touch the controls, he promised.

Aereflot has before hired Western PR firms to help shed its Soviet-era image of rusting old planes, harridan-like stewardesses and poor safety and an allegation of an intoxicated pilot is a worrying new development for the airline.

A report released on the first week of February 2009 said alcohol was found in the muscle tissue of the pilot Rodion Medvedev on a crash last September of an internal flight run by Aereflot subsidiary airline, Aeroflot-Nord. Recordings reveal that Mr Medvedev, who was due to land the plane, handed over the controls to his co-pilot, saying: "You see yourself that I can't."

Related incidents:
* In December 2003, Virgin Atlantic pilot Richard Harwell tried to fly between Washington DC and London while drunk. The 55-year-old American was arrested shortly before he was due to leave Dulles airport after a security officer smelled alcohol on his breath. He was sentenced to 60 days in prison.

* In December 2004 Finnish pilot Heikki Tallila, 51, was jailed for six months after falling failing a breath test. The day before he was due to fly his Finnair jet out of Manchester with 225 passengers on board, Tallila drank six glasses of wine and a beer.


View blog reactions


Post a Comment