Preventing Flying Under the Influence (FUI)
Exclusive Charter Service, Inc. announced an important safety advance. The West Palm Beach, Florida Part 135 operator has added SoberLink as part of its pilot preflight requirements. This advanced medical device should address one of the more difficult problems facing all aviation.
Aviation safety depends on pilots to assure that the aircraft flies right. Whatever is the cause (mental health, medicine, drugs, or alcohol), any interference with the human element in the cockpit increases risks exponentially. Unfortunately, the pilot is not well equipped to judge his/her competence to manipulate the controls; by definition, that opinion is “subjective.” The next point of intervention would be the second occupant of the front of the plane—the P-I-C or S-I-C. Because of the proximity of these two professionals in an individual flight and their careers, this option to stop an inebriated pilot is not as reliable as expected.
SoberLink created an instrument which records and transmits blood alcohol levels to the company’s headquarters. To assure that the individual who was being tested, the GPS location and a photo of the pilot are recorded to positively verify identify that the individual is sober at the plane site. If alcohol is tested positive an alert will be sent via text or email in time for the pilot to be disqualified for the pending flight.
SoberLink incorporates the following elements which contribute to a very high level of reliability (and hopefully deterrence):
- Adaptive Facial Recognition technology
- Tamper detection
- Real-time text message reminders and Alerts
- Customizable scheduling
- Automated reporting
It will be interesting to track the efficacy of SoberLink and then to assess its application to other operators’ pilots. This device may be quite useful in a variety of air carriers.
Exclusive Charter Service should be commended for this initiative. As with other Part 135 on demand operators, the company’s flights originate/terminate around the country/globe; so, the SoberLink’s mobility provides a wide circumference of applicability.