An airline pilot has been jailed after he failed a breath test before he was due to fly 177 people to the United States.
Glendon Gulliver had spent the previous night drinking whisky before he reported for duty at Glasgow Airport.
The 63-year-old was scheduled to take the controls of a United Airlines Boeing 757 flight to Newark, New Jersey.
But the Gulf War veteran was intercepted and asked to take a breath test after a concerned member of the public contacted the airport.
Gulliver, of Denver, Colorado, was found to be more than four times over the legal limit.
The recovering alcoholic was yesterday jailed for 10 months at Paisley Sheriff Court.
Sheriff Gillian Craig told him: “I find it hard to envisage a more responsible role than that of a pilot in a commercial aircraft – these people placed their lives in your hands.
“People are right to expect the air crew are fit and able to perform their duties.
“They expect the pilots to be sober.
“There were 177 men, women and children.
“I dread to think what the consequences could’ve been.”
The court heard that Gulliver had spent his stopover in Glasgow drinking whisky in a pub in August 2019.
The sheriff was told he wasn’t used to drinking the spirit and ended up so drunk that he fell over outside when he left the bar at around 9pm.
The ex US Navy fighter pilot was due to fly 166 passengers and 11 crew members to New Jersey the following morning at 9.05am.
However airport staff were alerted to the former Lieutenant Commander’s condition when a member of the public contacted them on Twitter.
They said: “Hi. A United Airlines pilot just walked out of a pub in Glasgow and fell over drunk about 21:00.
“Can he be breathalysed before the flight to New York on Saturday morning?”
Gulliver had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to perform an aviation function while more than four times the limit, in breach of Section 93(1) of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.
Prosecutor David McDonald said: “About 10pm on Friday, August 2, 2019, a tweet was sent to the Glasgow Airport Twitter account.
“At 9.05am on Saturday, August 3, 2019, United Airlines Boeing 757 flight number UA162 was scheduled to depart Glasgow Airport destined for Newark Airport.
“The flight was to be crewed by three pilots in the flight deck and five cabin crew.
“About 7am on Saturday, August 3, 2019, Mark Scott, the duty manager at Glasgow Airport, was made aware of the tweet and contacted police.
” Police officers were actioned to attend and make enquiries.”
Gulliver failed a breath test and was arrested, with a blood sample taken after 10am, more than an hour after he was due to have taken off.
Results showed he was four-times the limit.
Gulliver’s solicitor Iain Cahill said the dad realised he had a drinking problem and sought help for his addiction.
He said his client had undergone a 60-day rehabilitation at the Cumberland Heights Treatment Centre, in Nashville.
Gulliver had also attended 1,200 Alcohol Anonymous meetings since he was arrested, the court was told.
The court heard Gulliver had enjoyed “a distinguished career” and that he had held the highest level of clearance available to anyone in the US Navy.
He had also received medals for his service including one for valor and was a “respected and recognised as a highly experienced military aircraft pilot”.
Mr Cahill added: “Due to the severity of the offence and the shame, it caused him to retire.”
The lawyer asked for Gulliver to be spared prison over the offence.
But Sheriff Craig jailed him for 10 months, reduced from 15 as he admitted his guilt.
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