Air Traffic Controller Grounded for Drinking on the Job

By Kenneth Garger 07/20/11

Colorado air traffic controller flies to jail after spot blood test.

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No place for drunks.
Photo via blogspot

No wonder air traffic controllers seem to be dozing on the job. After a series of controllers made headlines for falling asleep on duty, a Colorado-based air traffic controller is now under federal investigation for directing planes while drunk. The veteran air controller reportedly works at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont, according to KGO Radio in San Francisco. Due to strict federal guidelines governing such “security-sensitive” positions, the legal Blood Alcohol Content limit of federal employees while on the clock cannot exceed .04--roughly equivalent to a can of Bud Light. But six and a half hours into his shift, the controller was hit with a surprise blood test by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials. Though the employee's actual BAC is still unknown, he was quickly flown out of the tower and parked in a nearby jail. According to the radio station, the offender had been waging a longtime battle with alcohol and was undergoing alcohol treatment at the time of his arrest. Sources clam he is currently on unpaid leavmay but could be reinstated to his old post if he manages to get through an extensive period of testing and treatment without further turbulence.

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Ken Garger is a reporter for the New York Post. You can follow him on Twitter.