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Former Commercial Pilot Jailed for Operating an Aircraft While Intoxicated

On March 10, Scott Marvin Russell, a former pilot for Sky King Airlines of Sacramento, CA, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Scranton, PA to six months in prison, two years supervised release, and fined $2,000 for operating a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol. He pled guilty to the felony charge in October 2005.

On May 12, 2004, Russell was scheduled to copilot a Boeing 737 charter flight departing Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport bound for Myrtle Beach, SC with 57 passengers. While Russell and the pilot taxied from the commuter terminal to the passenger terminal, an FAA inspector smelled alcohol on Russell’s breath. A test administered about three hours after the scheduled departure time indicated that Russell's blood alcohol level was 0.083. (A level of 0.04 is the limit under FAA regulations for anyone piloting an aircraft.) Russell removed himself from the flight before take-off and resigned from Sky King Airlines the same day. FAA issued an emergency revocation of Russell’s pilot’s license in July 2004. FAA assisted with this investigation.