Pilots often sit with drinking problems for years. Alcoholism at first hides in plain sight for almost everybody with the problem, and pilots are no exception. You may fear that getting help for an alcohol problem, or even just asking questions, will end your career. You worry about gossip and and how rumors might follow you. So, you wait and, then, something happens and your career suddenly feels in jeopardy. HIMS allows for early intervention and can preserve your career and reputation. Don’t wait to get help.
Professional pilots have lots of resources, many confidential if you are a member of a union. You could:
- talk to your union representative
- if your company has a HIMS program, talk to your company’s HIMS Chairman or Co-Chairman
- if a fellow pilot has ever talked about being in the HIMS program, or has told you that she or he used to drink a lot but quit, then talk to that person
- talk to your EAP
- talk to your Chief Pilot
- talk to your AME
- consult with an aviation psychiatrist
I'm a pilot. I got arrested for an alcohol traffic offense, but the charge was dropped. Do I report that?
If you get arrested for a DUI or any other traffic offense, as a commercial aviator you should alert somebody on the resource list above as soon as possible . Do this before you fly again. There is no way around having your case scrutinized and your arrest will be discovered eventually when your medical certificate is renewed. Protect your passengers, health, and career by following the procedures and getting started on any requirements, whatever they might be, as soon as you can.
Rule 14 CFR 61.15 does NOT require that you get convicted of a DUI or DWAI to meet the mandatory reporting requirement.
If you suffer any of these actions below, then you must notify the Securities and Investigation Division at OKC within sixty days of the offense:
- failing any chemical test in a DUI/DWAI stop
- refusing any chemical test in a DUI/DWAI stop
- an administrative license revocation (in other words, if your license is revoked, for any reason, during a DUI/DWAI stop )
- any other civil revocation of your license
- an express-consent violation
I'm a pilot. I had a DUI conviction. What am I supposed to do? What about other convictions like a DWAI?
Your first step should be to contact somebody to get expert advice about what to do. This could be your union, an EAP, a lawyer, or the Chief Pilot’s office. Hopefully,you have already done this.
The legal definition of your conviction is irrelevant. Whether it is a DUI, DWAI, or other status designated by your state, if you had a conviction of any sort (including a plea agreement) for an alcohol or drug-related traffic violation, then you must report the conviction.
Rule 14 CFR 61.15 requires that you notify Securities and Investigation at OKC within sixty days of a conviction or any administrative action. The rule says that you need to report EITHER an administrative action OR a conviction.
As it usually takes more than sixty days from the traffic stop to adjudication, if you wait until the final legal outcome of your case you are probably going to be in violation of the sixty-day rule.
If there is more than sixty days between an arrest or some administrative action and the conviction and you aren’t sure what to do, you should first report the administrative action and later report the conviction.