Apparently the pilots have to be passed out to be 'too drunk to fly'
As House Blender Paul pointed out in his email to me about this story, “This is the best defense their lawyer could come up with????“:
Two former America West pilots charged with operating a plane full of passengers while drunk may have consumed alcohol and smelled of alcohol but they could still walk and see, their lawyers told a jury on Monday. Pilots Christopher Hughes and Thomas Cloyd were hauled off an Airbus 319 in Miami on July 1, 2002, and charged with operating a plane under the influence of alcohol.
They were in the cockpit as the plane was being towed to the runway for takeoff from Miami International Airport on a flight to Phoenix, Arizona. But after a security screener reported the pilots were red-eyed, flush-faced and reeking of alcohol, air traffic controllers ordered the plane back to the gate.
Police said Cloyd’s blood-alcohol reading was 0.091 and Hughes’ was 0.084. Florida law assumes a vehicle operator, including the operator of a plane, to be drunk if the blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher, and state authorities charged them with operating an aircraft while intoxicated.
Defense attorneys said the pilots should not be convicted because they were not “operating” the plane at the time in question. The aircraft was being towed away from the gate and the driver of the tug truck had control of the aircraft, they said. “They couldn’t endanger anyone as long as they were connected to that tug,” said Cloyd’s attorney, Dan Foodman. “The plane is inoperable at all times that they were in that plane.”
The fact that the pair had consumed alcohol the night before the flight and the fact that they smelled of alcohol did not mean they were impaired, the defense attorneys said.
“Mr. Hughes was able to see, hear, walk, talk, etcetera,” attorney James Rubin said of his client.