Passed Out Pilot Jailed Eight Months

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The Sunwing Airlines pilot who passed out in the cockpit of the Boeing 737 he was supposed to fly on Dec. 31 has been sentenced to eight months in jail by a Canadian court. As we reported earlier, Capt. Miroslav Gronych, a Slovak flying on a work permit in Canada, had to be woken up by flight crew members before being taken off the aircraft in Calgary. He pleaded guilty to having care and control of an aircraft while impaired earlier this month and was sentenced Monday in Calgary. At the earlier hearing, he admitted to drinking a full bottle of vodka between 1 a.m. and about 6 a.m. when a dispatcher called him to inquire why he hadn’t reported for his 7 a.m. flight. He got to the aircraft at 7.05 a.m. and promptly passed out in the left seat after first losing his way in the airport.

In sentencing, Provincial Court Judge Anne Brown noted the he didn’t actually manage to move the airplane and complied with all those who removed him from the plane. He has also expressed remorse and gone to rehab since the incident. But Brown also said she had a hard time finding legal precedents for the case since the instances of drunk pilots actually making it to the cockpit are so rare. In addition to the jail time, she barred him from flying for a year but also said that’s probably a moot point since the publicity surrounding the case has made it unlikely he’ll ever fly again.

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