Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Drinking, Driving And Flying

Just the prospect of facing FAA paperwork should make one think twice about misusing alcohol

According to a statement by the owner of the airplane, the purpose of the flight was for the pilot to fly a passenger from 6I2 to Anniston Metropolitan Airport (ANB), Anniston, Ala. The passenger stated that the flight to ANB was uneventful, and that they landed at Anniston about 8:30. While the passenger waited for the owner to pick her up, the pilot researched nearby airports open for fuel sales, as no fuel was available at ANB at that hour.

The pilot decided on an airport "about 20 minutes away," and departed ANB about 9:30. The passenger who the pilot dropped off observed the airplane depart, and stated that the engine "sounded good." Examination of a fuel receipt recovered at the accident site revealed that the pilot purchased 24.5 gallons of 100LL gasoline at Saint Claire County Airport (AND) at 9:59. The airplane departed at 10:21 p.m. on an IFR flight plan, and climbed to a cruise altitude of 9,000 feet MSL.

At 11:40, the pilot asked Indianapolis Center for the Automated Weather Observation Service frequency and the NDB RWY 11 approach at 6I2. The controller provided the frequency, and advised the pilot that an "out-of-service" NOTAM was in effect for the NDB approach. The pilot then requested a "GPS overlay" of the approach, and was advised by the controller that there was no GPS overlay for the NDB RWY 11 approach, but there was a GPS RWY 11 approach at 6I2.

At 12:07, the airplane was cleared to cross the initial approach fix, LEVFO waypoint, at 3,100 feet, and was cleared for the GPS RWY 11 approach. About three minutes later, the pilot was advised that radar contact was lost, and was instructed to report passing LEVFO waypoint. The pilot acknowledged the instruction.

At about 12:17 a.m., the pilot reported crossing LEFVO waypoint at 3,100 feet, and then reported light rime icing. The pilot reported passing ROCCO waypoint, 10.4 miles from the runway, reported the airport in sight, and cancelled his IFR clearance. There were no further transmissions received from the pilot.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and multi-engine land. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on June 6, 2008. The pilot's logbook was incomplete, but showed 1,522 total hours of flight experience as of May 4, 2009.

During the medical examiner's recovery of the pilot from the accident site, an FAA Inspector who was on scene removed a 375 ml bourbon bottle from a pocket of the pilot's jacket. The bottle still had an estimated 100 ml of bourbon in it. Toxicological testing revealed the pilot's blood alcohol level was 0.11%.


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