Real Answers from Real Pilots

Drug/Alcohol Testing for Pilots

Obviously pilots get drug tested, I’m just curious how often this actually happens while both on and off duty.

I heard that that pilots can be subjected to breathelizers for alcohol content, and hair samples can also be taken to test for drugs/alcohol. (But I’m assuming this mostly only happens from reported suspicion by Airport Security/traveling public)

When your ‘airline’ does have you go through a random drug screening, is it generally a ‘urine sample’ or can they get really nosy and go with the notorious hair samples? (Which can trace drug use back as far as 60+ days supposedly)

Thomas,

Drug and alcohol tests are completely random (unless there is cause for suspicion), can happen rather frequently and take various forms.

Bottom line, if you want to be an airline pilot do not do drugs, period. There is no place for them in this industry.

Chris

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Thomas,

Airlines require their pilots to maintain a 1st Class medical. That needs
to be done every 6-12 months (depending on age) and requires a urine sample
each time.

I’ve been flying the line for a month and have already seen someone
randomly selected. Airlines have the authority to perform any method of
drug or alcohol test within the confines of FAA regulations and state and
federal laws. I don’t think suspicion is required for an airline to perform
certain methods. That’s why it’s random?? In my opinion, why even put it to
chance?

Each company provides their employees with guidance on the company’s drug
and alcohol policy.

Tory

Thomas,

As Chris said ALL airlines do random testing. I’ve gone as long as 4yrs without one and also had 1 a month 3 months in a row. You never know and it can be hair, urine, breath or all 3. Not a problem at all if you respect the industry and the profession. I’ve seen pilots get busted and frankly I have ZERO sympathy.

Adam

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