Drunk Pilot Pleads Guilty to Being a Drunk Pilot

The Sunwing pilot was apparently three times over the legal limit when he got on a plane that was set to fly from Calgary to Regina.

by Mack Lamoureux
Mar 21 2017, 10:05pm

Illustration: Adam Waito

The story behind the Sunwing pilot who was too drunk to fly on New Year's of 2016 became a little clearer Tuesday morning after he plead guilty to having care and control of an aircraft with a blood alcohol level over .08 (he was apparently three times over the legal limit).

Thanks to the proceedings, we now know the details of just how Miroslav Gronych got to that point.

According to an agreed statements of fact reported by the CBC, Gronych had polished off a 26er in his hotel room before he even made his way to the plane. When the man finally got into the cockpit of the Sunwing plane set to fly to Regina, his co-workers had already contacted his first officer about how he was stumbling about and slurring his words.

Read more: An Illustrated Guide to Sunwing Very Bad Month

Once inside the cockpit, it apparently took him 30 seconds to hang his coat—which is fine if you've just come home from, say, a St. Paddy's Day party but not when you're about to take control of an aircraft with 105 people in it. The foreign national, originally from Slovakia, was confronted by his first officer and was told he was in no state to be on the plane.

"OK, if that's what you feel," Gronych responded nonchalantly.

However, when the co-pilot was making a call to update his superiors on what had happened, Gronych returned and passed out in the pilot's chair, his face smushed up against the window. He was woken up and again ordered off the plane. This time Gronych finally complied and was promptly arrested once in the boarding area. Sunwing, for their part, told their passengers that the pilot was ill—the plane eventually took off an hour and a half after it was scheduled with a new pilot.

During the court case, Gronych said that he was planning on calling in sick for work but when he woke up he polished off his vodka, headed for the airport and cannot explain why. The Calgary Herald reported that the crown's lawyer is none too happy with Gronych.

"He put the lives of 105 people in jeopardy," Rose Greenwood told provincial court Judge Anne Brown. "This was a crime of dramatic proportion."

Even though Gronych plead guilty, the case is proving to be a little difficult for those involved, it is an exceedingly rare scenario and no one really knows what Gronych should get as a punishment. The prosecutor is asking for the judge to sentence Gronych to one year of prison time, while his defence lawyer is asking for a three to five month sentence.

Gronych's lawyer said that the man is an alcoholic and that he is actively seeking treatment for the condition.

Lead illustration by Adam Waito.

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