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Drunk Pilot Claims Sleep-Drinking

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American Airlines Pilot James Yates showed up at the Manchester, England airport for the Manchester- to-Chicago flight. Yes he was a little late, and DRUNK! Almost 8 times the legal limit.

It seems that Mr. Yates had been out drinking with his two co-pilots the night before. He visited at least 4 pubs before returning to his hotel. He then took a sedative around midnight. He was awakened at 9:00 a.m. the next morning by his captain’s banging on the door. But what about that bottle of Irish whiskey he had purchased the day before? One-third of it was gone! Mr. Yates said he had no memory of drinking it.

When he arrived at the airport, Yates could not find his security pass. He smelled strongly of alcohol and had a red face. Hmmmmm. He was charged with carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while over the drink limit.

HIs trial lasted three days. Testifying for Mr. Yates were senior American Airlines executives, and Brigadier General Thomas Botchie, who was a fighter pilot with Mr. Yates. The defense theory was a good one – he never intended to fly. He went to the airport (in full uniform) to tell his captain that he was unable to fly. Did the jury believe him?

You bet your Irish whiskey they did. It took them only 90 minutes to acquit Mr. Yates, who then slapped his colleagues on the back and simply smiled, but did not comment.

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