Pilot Arrested For Alcohol, But Passes Test

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After a TSA agent at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said he smelled alcohol on the breath of a Midwest Airlines pilot last week, airport police arrested him. A breath test registered a blood alcohol level of .016, and the FAA limit for pilots is .04 and eight hours. The airline's own limit is .02 percent. Reports were unclear regarding how long since the pilot had indulged (if he had), but his lawyer said there's enough alcohol in mouthwash to register a .016 level. The pilot was detained by police for three hours, but wasn't charged with a crime. He was taken off flight duty until the airline completes its investigation. Some early reports of the incident noted that the pilot was carrying a gun, for which he was certified, and also mis-reported the alcohol level at 0.16.

The legal limit for driving in Minnesota is .08, more than four times as high as the pilot's test result. Midwest Airlines ranked No. 1 this week in a Zagat survey of customer satisfaction.