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Pilot Pleads Guilty To Trying To Fly Plane While Drunk

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(credit: Airport Police Department)

(credit: Airport Police Department)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A former American Eagle pilot has pleaded guilty to trying to fly a plane from Minneapolis to New York City last year while he was twice over the legal alcohol limit for pilots.

Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen, 48, was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Jan. 4, 2013 after airport police and a Transportation Security Administration officer said they smelled alcohol as they walked past a group of four pilots.

Authorities said a preliminary test revealed Kristiansen’s blood-alcohol content was 0.107, and a subsequent blood test revealed Kristiansen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.09. Both readings are more than double the legal limit for pilots.

While federal law criminalizes the operation of an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol, state statutes make it a crime if a person also makes an “attempt” to operate an aircraft while under the influence.

On Friday, Kristiansen pleaded guilty in the incident. Kristiansen was charged with three gross misdemeanors, but other charges were dismissed.

He was sentenced to one year in prison with 305 of those days stayed. He must go through Alcoholics Anonymous and complete 240 hours of community service.

American Airlines, which uses American Eagle to operate shorter connecting flights, confirmed that Kristiansen is no longer employed with the company.

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