Finnish Airline Pilot Gets Prison Term For Drinking

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A Finnish 757 pilot who was apprehended by police in August during his preflight and failed a breath test for alcohol was sentenced on Thursday by a U.K. court to six months in prison. A blood test had shown his alcohol level was twice the limit allowed for air traffic in the U.K. The pilot, Heikki Tallila, 51, admitted to being drunk in the cockpit of the chartered airplane, which he was scheduled to fly from Manchester to Turkey, with 225 passengers on board. He was employed by Finnair, but was suspended after his arrest and later resigned. He was the first pilot to be sentenced under a new law, introduced in Britain in March, that gives the police authority to administer breath tests to flight crew members who are suspected of trying to fly under the influence of alcohol. Tallila reportedly had several glasses of wine the day before the flight, but had not violated the company policy of 12 hours bottle-to-throttle.