An airline pilot has been jailed after failing a breath test before flying 177 people to the United States.
Glendon Gulliver had spent the previous night drinking whiskey before enlisting for service at Glasgow Airport.
The 63-year-old was scheduled to take control of a United Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft to Newark, New Jersey.
But the Gulf War veteran was intercepted and asked to take a breath test after a concerned member of the public contacted the airport.
Gulliver from Denver, Colorado, was found to be more than four times over the legal limit.
The healing alcoholic was yesterday jailed for 10 months at Paisley Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Gillian Craig told him: “I have a hard time imagining a more responsible role than the pilot’s role in a commercial aircraft – these people put their lives in your hands.
“People are right to expect the flight crew to be fit and able to carry out their duties.
“They expect the pilots to be sober.
“There were 177 men, women and children.
“I dread thinking about what the consequences might have been.”
The court heard that Gulliver had spent his stay in Glasgow drinking whiskey at a pub in August 2019.
The sheriff was told he was not used to drinking liquor and ended up so drunk that he fell over outside as he left the bar around 6 p.m.
The former U.S. Navy fighter pilot was to fly 166 passengers and 11 crew members to New Jersey the following morning at 6 p.m. 9.05.
However, airport staff were made aware of the former lieutenant commander’s condition when a member of the public contacted them on Twitter.
They said: “Hi. A United Airlines pilot has just walked out of a pub in Glasgow and fell over drunk around 9pm.
“Can he become a breathalyzer before the plane to New York on Saturday morning?”
Gulliver had previously pleaded guilty to attempting to perform an aviation function while it was more than four times the limit, in violation of section 93 (1) of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.
Prosecutor David McDonald said: “Around 10pm on Friday, August 2, 2019, a tweet was sent to Glasgow Airport’s Twitter account.
At 9.05am on Saturday 3 August 2019, United Airlines Boeing 757 flight number UA162 was scheduled to depart from Glasgow Airport for Newark Airport.
“The aircraft was to be manned by three pilots in the cockpit and five cabin crew.
“Around 7am on Saturday, August 3, 2019, Mark Scott, the chief of security at Glasgow Airport, was alerted to the tweet and contacted police.
“Police officers were encouraged to attend and conduct investigations.”
Gulliver failed a breath test and was arrested with a blood test taken after 6 p.m. 10, more than an hour after he should have taken off.
The results showed that he was four times the limit.
Gulliver’s lawyer Iain Cahill said the father realized he had an alcohol problem and sought help for his addiction.
He said his client had undergone a 60-day rehabilitation at the Cumberland Heights Treatment Center in Nashville.
Gulliver had also attended 1,200 Alcohol Meetings anonymously since being arrested, the court was told.
The court heard that Gulliver had enjoyed “a prominent career” and that he had had the highest level of approval available to anyone in the U.S. Navy.
He had also received medals for his service, including one for bravery and was a “respected and recognized as a very experienced military pilot”.
Sir. Cahill added: “Because of the seriousness of the offense and the shame, it caused him to retire.”
The lawyer asked that Gulliver be spared in jail for the offense.
But Sheriff Craig jailed him for 10 months, reduced from 15 when he pleaded guilty.
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