Report: Pilot 'unsteady on his feet' had blood-alcohol twice the legal limit


A 50-year-old American Airlines co-pilot had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit and was unsteady on his feet when he was being escorted off the plane.

John Francis Maguire was having trouble with his cockpit seat just before an aborted takeoff from Detroit Metropolitan Airport over the weekend, according to a police report released Tuesday.

The report, which was released with a public records request, said Maguire registered .081 percent on a breath test Saturday morning. The limit for a pilot is .04.

Maguire, who is from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, was charged Monday with operating under the influence of alcohol and released pending arraignment, which is expected next week.

Prosecutor's office spokeswoman Maria Miller said no attorney is listed for him and no phone numbers are listed.

Maguire was taken off the Detroit-to-Philadelphia flight that was canceled as a result of the incident. He initially denied drinking, but later acknowledged he last had a drink the evening before, the report said.

A Transportation Security Administration employee first reported Maguire appeared drunk when he went through security, smelling of liquor and walking unsteadily toward the gate. He later slurred some of his words and was observed with his face flush red and eyes bloodshot.

Officers were called and a short time later, Maguire was observed sitting sideways in the airplane, saying he was having trouble with his seat. The other pilot in the cockpit told authorities to "take him," according to a report.

Airlines officials have said they are assisting investigators.

Joe Alexander has been a commercial helicopter and airplane pilot for more than 30 years. FOX 2 asked him what would happen if a drunk pilot actually flew a plane.

"An aircraft, once it is in the air, has certain automated systems on it," Alexander said. "I hate to admit it, I think there is a way, if a person is just making radio calls that they can kind of slide by a little bit.
 
"If there was anything out of the norm, obviously the decision-making ability is so impaired that it would be quite obvious and a very dangerous situation."
 
FOX 2: "Is it possible that guys have done this before and simply not gotten caught?"
 
"I am sure it has happened," Alexander said. "But it is the responsibility of the other professionals on board to call out this person."
 

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read the released report below.
 

Pilot charged for operating while drunk police report

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories