Alaska Airlines pilot faces alcohol charges

LOS ANGELES — A California airline pilot has been charged with piloting an Alaska Airlines jet full of passengers while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arntson, 60, of Newport Beach was arrested last week and appeared in federal court in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 10.

Arntson had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent in random tests conducted 15 minutes apart June 20, 2014, according to an affidavit by an investigator with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s office of inspector general.

The tests were performed by an Alaska Airlines technician at a restroom inside a terminal at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, according to the affidavit. That day, Arntson had piloted two Alaska Airlines flights: one from San Diego to Portland, Ore., and the other from Portland to John Wayne, according to the affidavit.

The technician was waiting for Arntson when the plane approached the gate. His co-pilot told investigators that when Arntson saw the drug tester at the gate, he said, “I bet it’s for me.”

Arntson, who had worked for Alaska Airlines since 1982, was removed from “safety-sensitive duties” that day, according to the airline. He later retired.

In an interview this fall at his Newport Beach home, Arntson told investigators that he didn’t have problems with alcohol or substance abuse and that the night before the flight, he had ordered a beer for dinner and sipped it.

He tried to have his own blood test conducted after learning of the positive breath-test result. He said a blood test the following morning showed he had no alcohol in his body, according to the affidavit.

Arntson is being prosecuted under federal law, which considers commercial airline pilots intoxicated if their blood-alcohol concentration is 0.10 percent or higher.

If convicted, Arntson could face up to 15 years in federal prison.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

More in News

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore docks in Juneau in October, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the Week of June 4

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Monday, June 5, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Water and wastewater rates in the City and Borough of Juneau will increase 2% starting July 1. (Clarise Larson/ Juneau Empire File)
Water, wastewater rates to increase starting July 1

The 2% increase is to match inflationary costs, city says.

A progress pride flag flies in the wind below an U.S. flag outside of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building on Monday evening. Last week the flag was raised for the first time by members of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and will remain up through the month of June. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
LGBTQ+ pride flag raised at federal building sparks backlash, support

Varying reactions to the flag that was raised for the first time outside the building.

Cars and people move past the City and Borough of Juneau current City Hall downtown on Monday. The Assembly Committee of the Whole unanimously OK’d an ordinance Monday night that, if passed by the full Assembly, would again ask Juneau voters during the upcoming municipal election whether to approve $27 million in bond debt to fund the construction of a new City Hall. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Voters could see proposal for a new City Hall back on the ballot this fall

City signals support for $27 million initiative, after $35M bond last year fails.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Sunday, June 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, June 3, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Courtesy Photo / Chris Blake
The <strong>Hōkūleʻa</strong>, a double-hulled and wind-powered traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, navigates throughout Southeast Alaska in May. On Saturday the canoe and crew members will be welcomed to Juneau in preparation for the canoes launch days later for its four-year-long global canoe voyage called the <strong>Moananuiākea</strong>.
Celebration of four-year Polynesian canoe voyage to kick off Saturday at Auke Bay

Voyage set to circumnavigate 43,000 nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean beginning in Juneau.

Most Read