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Drink driving: Over-the-limit pilot jailed for forgetting flight route

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A US pilot so drunk he did not know which destination he was flying to was jailed for six months and his actions labelled 'potentially catastrophic'.

George La Perle, 49, arrived at Heathrow airport more than four times over the legal limit for pilots.

After boarding his flight, the Delta Airline first officer was approached by airport officials. La Perle thought he was heading for New York when in fact the plane was set to touch down in Detroit.

Judge Phillip Matthews, making the judgement at Isleworth crown court said, quoted in the Metro: "The consequences for the passengers on that plane, if you had piloted for any stage of that journey, which was a distinct possibility bearing in mind that is what you were employed to do, was potentially catastrophic."

La Perle had over 20 years experience as a pilot, yet tests proved he had four times the flying limit of 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood. His level was also about the legal UK road limit.

The pilot who has over 20 years' experience pleaded guilty to the charge of flying over the legal limit. He claimed that he'd just consumed a few beers the previous evening.

La Perle's defending lawyer, Neil Fitzgibbon, said his client had made a 'terrible misjudgement'.

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