French EasyJet Pilot Convicted of Flying While on Ecstasy

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A 49-year-old French pilot was convicted by the nation’s Créteil criminal court on Friday, after confessing to landing a plane in Paris in May under duress due to being high on ecstasy. He was handed a 12-month prison sentence and has been banned from flying.

The pilot, a father of three, was caught after police tapped into phone conversations between him and a Paris drug-ring member.

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"I had the sweats, I wasn't feeling well. I was just doing any old thing as we came in to land," the pilot said in phone conversations obtained by police.

The pilot admitted to taking a third of an ecstasy pill.

He stated in court that his actions were an "inexcusable error" and that he had been "confident that the side effects of the drug would disappear after two hours."

The pilot also admitted to having used cocaine and cannabis, but that he usually gave himself two to three days after taking illicit substances so that he could detox before flying. The prosecutor stated that the man appeared to be suffering from a drug addiction. "You were not in the same physical shape as a pilot who had not consumed anything," the prosecutor said. 

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EasyJet released a statement stating that the pilot had been banned from service during the police investigation. "The safety of passengers and the crew of EasyJet is our number one priority and we have a zero tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol," the airline said.

"As a first officer he would always have flown under the command of an experienced EasyJet Captain and had any Captain he flew with seen behavior suggesting drug use or any other safety breaches on this pilot's flights we would have taken immediate action and stood the first officer down from duty."

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