Drunk Pilot May Have Crashed Intentionally

A drunk cargo pilot may have intentionally crashed the Carson Air Metroliner he was flying in 2015 and that has prompted a call for government oversight of substance abuse programs.

The Transportation Safety Board released its investigative report on the April 13, 2015 crash of the Metro in the mountains north of Vancouver. It killed Capt. Robert Brandt, 34, and his first officer Andrew Wang, 32. Radar tracks show the aircraft climbed normally on its way to Prince George after a 7 a.m. takeoff, suddenly went into a vertical dive six minutes into the flight and broke apart in the air.

Brandt had a blood alcohol level of .24 but Wang was clear of intoxicating substances.

In a news release accompanying the report, TSB Chair Kathy Fox said the government should invoke its Charter of Rights powers to overrule privacy concerns and introduce mandatory testing and monitoring of aviation workers for substance abuse.

“In Canada, regulations and company rules prohibit flying while impaired, but they rely heavily on self-policing,” said Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB. “What is needed is a comprehensive substance abuse program that would include mandatory testing as well as complementary initiatives such as education, employee assistance, rehabilitation and peer support.”

Brandt’s body showed indications of long-term alcohol abuse and colleagues had suspected he had a drinking problem. One had reported smelling alcohol on his breath but a supervisor couldn’t detect it so he was allowed to continue flying.