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FAA Investigates Pilot Breath Test

July 29, 2002

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether a pilot for a Delta Air Lines regional carrier failed a breath test before boarding his Atlanta-bound flight.

The 28 passengers aboard were removed at around 6:40 a.m. Sunday, nearly a half-hour after scheduled departure from the Wilmington International Airport, said Airport Director John Rosborough. All passengers were diverted to other flights.

Rosborough couldn’t confirm whether the co-pilot of the twin-engine plane failed the test. FAA spokesman Christopher White said his agency was investigating ``the alleged violation of an alcohol-related regulation regarding ASA Flight 4240.″ ASA stands for Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

The pilot was not identified.

FAA guidelines say crew members may not have more than a 0.04 blood alcohol level and may not drink alcohol within eight hours before duty. Violations can lead to license revocation.

Rosborough said the crew member was stopped from boarding the plane at around 6 a.m. by a security officer with the Transportation Security Administration. It was not immediately clear why the pilot was stopped.

Delta officials said they were also investigating. Spokeswoman Katie Connell said the flight was delayed because of a crew-related issue, but would not elaborate.

ASA is a Delta Connection carrier that operates eight 50-seat jet aircraft to Atlanta from Wilmington each day.

The investigation comes less than a month after two America West Pilots allegedly tried to fly a jetliner while they were drunk. They were arrested in Miami before the plane took off.

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