Pennsylvania Set To Pass Drunk-Flying Law

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It could soon be illegal to fly an airplane drunk in Pennsylvania (but don't do it anywhere else, either). Last January, when John Salamone took his plane on an allegedly drunken spree of busted regs and near-collisions through some of the country's most crowded airspace, prosecutors discovered that there actually isn't a law against drinking and flying in Pennsylvania. A judge decided the state's impaired-driving laws didn't apply, and Salamone was eventually convicted of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe. He faces up to nine years in prison when he's sentenced later this year. On Friday, the state House and Senate both passed the Flying While Impaired Bill. Gov. Ed Rendell has to sign the bill to enact the law but it's doubtful he'll oppose it. In addition to drunk-driving laws, the state also has laws against operating a boat while under the influence. Rep. Kate Harper, who co-sponsored the bill, said she was surprised (as were many others) to discover there wasn't a similar law for pilots. "I don't think we have that many incidents of drunk flying, but even one is too many," she told the Times Herald newspaper.