- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

MIAMI (AP) Two America West pilots on a Phoenix-bound jetliner were ordered to return to the airport terminal moments before takeoff yesterday and were arrested on charges of being legally drunk, police said.
The pilots were charged with a felony count of operating an aircraft under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence, police said.
Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes have been suspended with pay pending an investigation by the airline, said Patty Nowack, an America West spokeswoman.
Miami-Dade police Detective Juan DelCastillo said security screeners at Miami International Airport smelled alcohol on the men when the pilots tried to bring cups of coffee through the checkpoint.
The screeners alerted police, but by the time officers arrived, the plane had left the gate. The airport tower ordered the plane back to the terminal, and Mr. Cloyd and Mr. Hughes were given a cursory sobriety test, the detective said.
The men were then asked to take a breath test and they agreed. Both registered blood alcohol levels above .08, Florida's legal limit for operating machinery, Detective DelCastillo said.
The pilots couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. They were being held by police pending processing. It wasn't immediately clear whether they had obtained attorneys. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.
Mr. Cloyd has worked for America West since 1990. Mr. Hughes joined the airline in January 1999, Miss Nowack said. Both pilots have good working records, she said.


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