Two United Airlines pilots, accused of being too drunk to fly their plane, caused a 10-hour delay for passengers boarding a transcontinental flight over the weekend.
Both pilots, 35-year-old Paul Grebenc and 45-year-old Carlos Licona, are American and reportedly have ties to the USAF.
They were taken into custody Saturday morning in Glasgow, just as their Boeing 757 was due to take off –with 141 passengers on board– bound for Newark, NJ.
ABC reported that a more senior pilot was not arrested and the flight– which was originally scheduled to depart Glasgow at 9am– finally took off at 715 pm.
The FAA randomly conducts spot-checks on air crews, mechanics and pilots, looking for people who might be drunk on the job. Grebenc and Licona have been suspended by the airline and they’re set to appear in court today, to face the charges.
Grebenc joined the airline in April 2015 from the Air Force Reserve. While in the Air Force he was T-6 instructor pilot for around five-and-a-half years, four-and-a-half of that as a reservist.
Licona joined United in Jan. 2014 after a 10-year stint with Colgan Air, the Daily Mail reported. According to his LinkedIn profile, Licona has been with the U.S. Air National Guard for almost three decades where he’s also worked in military intelligence.
Grebenc describes himself on his Linkedin page as an instructor pilot with the United States Air Force and United States Air Force Reserve. He also boasts on LinkedIn that he has “3200+ hours of accident and incident-free flying in high-performance fixed-wing aircraft”.
If they are found guilty, the pilots could face up to two years in prison, a fine– or both.
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