Last updated: 03:12 PM ET, Thu March 10 2016

Former Captain Charged with Operating Plane Under the Influence

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | January 22, 2016

Former Captain Charged with Operating Plane Under the Influence

A former Alaska Airlines captain was charged Wednesday with one felony count of operating an airplane while under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Associated Press, 60-year-old pilot David Hans Arnston of Newport Beach, California, was arraigned in federal court earlier this week, but was freed on $25,000 bond. He is due back in court on Feb. 10 for a hearing.

The documents filed in United States District Court claim Arnston was the pilot of two Alaska Airlines flights on June 20, 2014. The first flight was from San Diego International Airport to Portland International Airport, and the second was from Portland to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, according to the report.

When Arnston arrived at John Wayne Airport at the conclusion of the second flight, he was asked to submit to a random drug and alcohol test. The captain allegedly posted blood-alcohol readings of 0.134 and 0.142 percent, and he was removed from duty. He retired following the incident.

United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker released a statement about the case, saying, “Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible. We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives.”

If convicted of operating an airplane under the influence, Arnston could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.


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