German authorities confirm they have been conducting random breathalyzer tests during ramp checks since as far back as Jan 2017, despite this not being part of the official EU SAFA ramp inspection guidelines.
In Dec 2016, following the accident of the Germanwings Flight 9525, EASA published a proposal to the European Commission to better support pilot mental fitness. One of their recommendations was to introduce random alcohol screening as a part of ramp checks within the EU.
Although that proposal has still not been adopted yet, local authorities in Germany say they can still perform these tests on the basis of German national law alone.
Have you had a recent ramp check anywhere with any surprise items not part of the standard checklist? Comment below…
- Official SAFA/SACA site at EASA
- Our advice on how to make a ramp check painless
- Opsgroup’s SAFA ramp inspection checklist
More on the topic:
- More: Ops to Mexico? Prepare to get ramp checked!
- More: Germany don’t like it if you’re late
- More: SAFA Ramp Checks: The Top 5 Offenders
- More: EU delays alcohol testing on ramp checks to 2021
- More: Making a Ramp Check painless (with checklist)
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This is a good measure and I strongly recommend that it should be a common practice all over the world and should become a standard practice among all civil aviation authorities in the world.
Without revealing my source of information, this case occurred on a private air charter where the pilot was seen bumping into objects and falling down due to his intoxication and had to be removed from the aircraft by the airport security ; The airline management wasn’t even aware of the event until later; He could have made it to the airplane and God knows the outcome. This is a serious issue especially in countries where alcohol level is not checked for driving.
For what it’s worth, we had a ‘SAFA’ check carried out against us in Doula / Cameroon on 9th March 2018. The FltOps inspector had a what looked to be the normal / official European SAFA checklist form (with all the same elements), albeit that his version also included the words Cameroon CAA in the title. I’m pleased to report zero findings against us, in spite of the Ops Inspectors painful endeavours to find something.
On March 20th, one of our crews was breathalyzer and drug tested at EDVE. The drug test was preformed by taking a tongue scraping. We had seen our first alcohol test in January in Berlin.