Booze and the airline industry aren't good mixers. But that apparently didn't stop an air traffic controller at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont, aka the Denver Center, from going to work with alcohol in his system -- putting him in the same club with two Colorado-connected pilots who found that liquor was only quicker when it came to being banned from the cockpit.
According to 7News, whose story went national via CNN, the air traffic controller was tested on July 5, three-quarters of the way through his eight-hour shift -- and at that point, he scored more than double the Federal Aviation Administration limit of .02 percent blood alcohol content. Granted, twice that amount would still be well under the .08 BAC used to determine if automobile drivers are drunk -- but it's tough to object to higher standards for employees who literally have the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in their hands during each work shift.
The controller in question was reportedly given the choice between resignation and rehab, and he chose the latter -- a far better option than was available to two pilots accused of tipsiness. In late 2009, Lakewood's Erwin Washington was popped for flying under the influence in London; he was given a ten-month suspended sentence in the U.K. in February 2010. And just last month, United Express pilot Aaron Jason Cope was convicted of flying drunk after failing an alcohol test at Denver International Airport. He could be sentenced to as much as fifteen years in prison for his actions.
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That's the kind of sentence unlikely to make anyone thirsty. Check out the 7News item as seen on CNN below: