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Former Alaska Airlines Pilot Sentenced for Piloting Passenger Aircraft Under the Influence of Alcohol

On July 25, 2018, David Arntson was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Santa Ana, California, to 12 months and 1 day of incarceration, 3 years’ supervised release, a $10,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment fee. On February 26, 2018, he pleaded guilty to operating a common carrier while under the influence.
Arntson was a captain for Alaska Airlines, Inc. (Alaska) for over 20 years. On June 20, 2014, he performed safety sensitive functions on Alaska flights 580 and 573 while under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, he piloted flight 573 from San Diego, California, to Portland, Oregon, and flight 580 from Portland to Santa Ana, California. He was selected for a random drug-and-alcohol screening, which took place after flight 580 landed at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. The first test measured Arntson’s breath alcohol concentration as 0.134 percent. A second test was administered 15 minutes later, and his breath alcohol concentration was 0.142 percent. The maximum breath alcohol concentration permitted for pilots operating an aircraft is 0.04 percent.
Arntson’s sentence also prohibits him from piloting an aircraft or applying for an airman’s certificate from FAA.
He is scheduled to surrender to begin his jail term on September 5, 2018.
DOT-OIG conducted the investigation with FAA’s assistance.