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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 18:13 GMT
Jury clears drink-accused pilot
James Yates
James Yates had denied the charge
An airline pilot accused of turning up for work while six times over the limit to fly has been cleared.

American Airlines pilot James Yates, 46, from Ohio, was alleged to have arrived at Manchester Airport drunk, smelling of alcohol and unsteady.

Although he was over the limit, Mr Yates never intended to fly, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

He was found not guilty of carrying out an activity ancillary to an aviation function while over the drink limit.

Drinking session

Earlier, the court heard he was to be one of three pilots on the American Airlines flight to Chicago on 11 February last year.

The jury heard he had been out for a drinking session in Manchester the night before he was due for work.

He was stopped when he could not find his pass at a security gate at the airport and was said to be dishevelled, red-faced and appeared drunk, the court heard.

But Mr Yates told police he turned up at the airport to tell the captain he was unfit for work and it was not his intention to be part of the crew.

My opinion is, if James says he's telling the truth, he's telling the truth
Brigadier General Thomas Botchie

He did not board the Boeing 767 aircraft, which had 181 passengers on board.

Mr Yates was arrested after a postive breath test and taken to Altrincham Police Station where a doctor took a blood sample.

This gave a result of 129 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit for flying an aircraft is 20 milligrams.

Earlier, the court was read a statement from Brigadier General Thomas Botchie, a senior commander in the Ohio National Guard, who had known Mr Yates since they were both fighter pilots in the 1980s.

"I have always found him to be a person of high morals and trustworthy," he said.

"My opinion is, if James says he's telling the truth, he's telling the truth."

Drink-accused pilot 'trustworthy'
21 Mar 07 |  Manchester
Pilot was 'six times over limit'
19 Mar 07 |  Manchester
Pilot in court on 'unfit' charge
28 Sep 06 |  Manchester
Pilot denies pre-flight drinking
15 Jun 06 |  Manchester

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