Driving a car while intoxicated is clearly a dangerous activity, but most people would agree that flying a plane while drunk would be even more dangerous. While it is clearly a dangerous act, a recent news story has pointed out that it appears that one man in California did make the choice to fly a plane while intoxicated and potentially put a lot of different people at risk (http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/DUI-suspected-after-pilot-lands-in-California-11048786.php).
Earlier this week in Los Angeles, deputies of the city’s police department responded to a report that a small aircraft had landed on a public street near a warehouse. The airplane was reportedly flown by a man, who was the only passenger on board. While they started to talk to the man, it immediately became clear that the man could have been drunk while he was flying the plane.
Per the report, the man that was flying the plane has a lot of experience but made several mistakes while he was flying. He was reportedly trying to get from Temecula to a small airport in San Diego, which is a 60 mile flight. However, due to some issues with the plane’s GPS system, he got confused and lost along the way. While he was supposed to be heading toward San Diego, he ended up going way too far north, ended up in Los Angeles and was more than 70 miles away from where he was supposed to be.
At this point, it does not appear that the man will be punished too severely. He has received a misdemeanor violation and will likely not receive more of a punishment than a fine and possibly a suspension of his pilot’s license. Since he was the only passenger in the plane and he landed in a relatively empty area, there were no significant injuries reported. Furthermore, the plane that he flew suffered only minor damage when it scraped up against a stop sign near the warehouse. The airplane will likely be recovered by an insurance company that will further assess the damage to the plane before returning it to the owner.