MRU Aviation chair suggests random drug tests for pilots

The chair of Mount Royal University’s Aviation program is pushing for random drug and alcohol testing of pilots.

Leon Cygman believes the practice could boost public confidence, following a disturbing incident at Calgary’s airport on New Year’s Eve.

Slovakian pilot Miroslav Gronych was sentenced to eight months in jail earlier this week after he showed up for a Sunwing flight drunk and appeared to pass out in the cockpit before takeoff at YYC.

Cygman said while cases like these are extremely rare, random drug tests would be a good idea.

“The issue is making sure they understand the seriousness of the job that they do, and assuring the public there is a watchdog in place,” he said.

He said pilots in the U.S. are sometimes tested.

“To my knowledge, all the pilots I have known that have been randomly tested showed up negative, of course,” he said.

Current rules in Canada says pilots cannot consume any alcohol within eight hours of a flight.

It would be up to Transport Canada to implement random testing.

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