An airline pilot who passed out in the cockpit after drinking a bottle of vodka before a flight has been jailed for eight months. Miroslav Gronych, 37, who had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, pleaded guilty to being in care and control of an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol. He was escorted off the Sunwing Airlines plane, which was scheduled to fly from Calgary in Canada to Cancun, Mexico, on New Year’s Eve. The Slovakian pilot, who is married with two young children, was reportedly slurring his words and staggering when he entered the plane.
It is a clear message to pilots that if you drink alcohol and you fly a plane, you’re going to be met with a period of incarceration. Don’t fly drunk. It’s pretty simple.
Prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood
The court was told he got off the plane after the co-pilot suggested he leave, but then returned to the cockpit, sat down and appeared to pass out with his face against the window. Gronych’s defence lawyer told the court the pilot had taken “a couple of shots of vodka and a Tylenol” before going to sleep the night before the flight, as he “felt like he was coming down with a cold”. But when he overslept the next morning, “he drank the rest of the bottle of vodka and left for the flight”. The pilot, who has since lost his job, was jailed for eight months and also banned from flying for one year after his release.