Too High To Fly?
- Sheila Wallace
On July 10, 2017, former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Adolphus Busch IV was arrested after police say he tried to fly a helicopter while allegedly intoxicated. Officers reported Busch had "mumbled and slurred" speech to the point "it was difficult to understand" and that he was unable to follow some directions.
Police were first called with a report of a helicopter landing in the parking lot of an office complex. Police notified the FAA who advised they would investigate. Police were notified again because witnesses said the pilot appeared to be too intoxicated to fly.
When officers arrived, Busch was armed with a gun in the front pocket of his pants, at least four other loaded firearms on board the helicopter, and numerous prescription drugs. A county judge granted alcohol and drug testing with a search warrant based on offenses of reckless conduct, unlawful use of a weapon, and intoxicated persons in or about an aircraft.
Is this behavior limited to an entitled former CEO with too much money that professional pilots are immune to? Or is this just another victim of the increasing drug epidemic that is facing our county?
What I can say is that I've seen some very good people torn down by drug and/or alcohol addiction. A few were in the aviation industry. And a few are still in the aviation industry with help that came in the form of the HIMS program or other addiction programs.
Alcohol and drugs (prescription or otherwise) don't mix with flying. If you know of someone who needs help, please guide them to get help.