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Balloon Pilot Who Killed 16 Was on Drugs and Had Five DWI Raps

The pilot of a hot-air balloon that crashed last summer in Texas, killing himself and 15 sight-seeing passengers, had taken a cocktail of prohibited drugs including the opiate pain-killer oxycodone, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. ( More...

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Jamar Jackson 6
He was a proven poor decision maker that could care less about rules. It was only a matter of time before he would bury himself. Sad part is he took 16 with him.
bbabis 5
This was just a matter of an accident looking for a place to happen.
How this guy could have a license to drive or fly anything is infuriating- immediate suspension on the first DWI, and then canceled done on the second one forever - Uber or sit in the back of the balloon.
The idiots that kill people on daily basis from preventable accidents have no excuse.
Don't get me started on the failure of 1/2 of the drivers EVERYWHERE who refuse to use blinkers but can post on Facebook, drink coffee and merge all the way form the on ramp to the fast lane @ 50 MPH
joel wiley 1
Ineffective regulations:
- NTSB oversees appeals of FAA enforcement cases, and its rules prohibit the FAA from taking certain actions on infractions more than six months FAA special agent investigating the violations notified Nichols in 2013 that the agency wouldn’t pursue any penalty or license suspension related to his convictions. The most recent conviction was in 2010.

- While pilots are prohibited from flying after taking those drugs, balloon pilots are exempt from having to receive the periodic medical checkups required for other commercial flight crews...Nichols had one such medical exam in 1996 and he didn’t reveal the first of his driving violations, a 1985 infraction in Missouri.

Compliance depends on pilot self reporting. If you have a seizure in Calif, your doctor is required to notify the DMV. You get a DUI, the court notifies the DMV.

Is there something wrong with the court notifying the FAA?
ToddBaldwin3 2
I heard on the news this morning that weather conditions were marginal, he launched with a ceiling of 700 feet.
jmilleratp 4
Great that the FAA allows drunks and drug addicts to fly, but stops people who have legitimate medical conditions from flying.
Dan Anderson 1
No, John, the FAA does NOT allow drunks and drug addicts to fly. That is the same thing as saying that a drunk driver who kills people by slamming into them is caused by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The FAA is quite liberal when it comes to allowing people with legitimate medical conditions, AS LONG AS THAT CONDITION DOES NOT CAUSE AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE SAFETY OF THE OPERATOR, PASSENGERS OR PEOPLE ON THE GROUND.


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