A now-retired Alaska Airlines captain has been charged with twice piloting an airliner while under the influence of alcohol.
David Hans Arnston, 60, of Newport Beach, California, was arraigned in federal court on Wednesday on one felony count.
He was freed on $25,000 bond and ordered to return February 10 for a hearing.
According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Arntson piloted two Alaska Airlines flights on June 20, 2014.
David Hans Arnston, 60, who is now retired, allegedly flew two Alaskan Airlines flights from California to Oregon and back with blood alcohol readings of 0.134 and 0.142 on June 24, 2014
The incident and charges were not made public until Thursday, January 21, 2015, when Arntson appeared in court for the first time.
The first trip, Flight 573, left San Diego International Airport for Portland, Oregon, and the second, Flight 580, traveled from Portland to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.
Upon arriving in Orange County, he was asked to submit to a random drug and alcohol test.
After posting blood-alcohol readings of 0.134 and 0.142 percent, he was removed from what the airline calls safety-sensitive duties. He was then subsequently retired.
The U.S. attorney’s office said in the criminal complaint that upon seeing the drug and alcohol tester, Arnston commented to his co-pilot, ‘I bet it’s for me’.
Arnston could not be contacted for comment on Thursday.
A phone number listed for him had been disconnected.
He was a captain of 31 years and first worked with Jet America.
Arnston retired due to ‘medical reasons’.
If convicted, he could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.
‘Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible,’ U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.
‘We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives.’