Bottle To Throttle -- As One Pilot Is Put To The Test

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A London newspaper put a retired RAF transport pilot in a simulator after a night on the town (click "More" below) following an incident involving three British Airways crew members whose alleged partying left their passengers with the hangover. The 55 passengers were transferred to other flights after the pilot, first officer and a female flight attendant were suspected to have been drinking before showing up late to take the flight from Oslo to London. Someone reported the trio to Oslo police and the flight was cancelled. The actions are supported by the results of the London paper's experiment: one part drunken retired RAF transport pilot, one part simulator ... shaken, not stirred. The night prior, Richard Parry, downed a bottle and a half of wine, at least three mixed drinks and an undetermined number of pints of beer. His beleaguered liver was only able to get his blood alcohol level to .087 by the next morning when he was put to the test. His first approach and landing in the simulator put the Trident on the runway but only after the warning horn reminded him to drop the gear. Mixed with a healthy crosswind, things got more interesting. Even though his alcohol level had dropped to .027, Parry couldn't keep the virtual airplane on the runway and almost hit the terminal. "There seemed no way to keep the plane straight -- every time I tried to compensate for the gusts of wind the aircraft seemed to overreact," he said. "If this had been a real airline situation we could have been looking at a serious tragedy." BA officials didn't need the convincing. The crew members involved in British Airways' latest incident were immediately suspended pending an investigation. "We have a zero tolerance for any alleged abuse of our rules," said a spokesman.