WHEATON, Ill. (CN) – A pilot claims Camden Aviation fired him for reporting that his boss tried to copilot a charter flight while smelling of alcohol. The pilot says he reported his boss to the FAA, which yanked the boss’s medical readiness to fly, and the boss fired him.
Plaintiff Terry Williams says he delayed a flight after he smelled alcohol on Mark Racine’s breath. Racine was Camden’s president and director of operations at the time.
Williams claims Racine scheduled himself to copilot the flight from DuPage County Airport to Denver on Feb. 17, 2008, for “a new and very important client.” In his claim in DuPage County Court, William, says Racine arrived an hour and 20 minutes late for the flight, “and Williams detected that Racine appeared to smell of alcohol.”
He says he asked Racine about it, and his boss replied that he had gone out the previous evening “to drink sake and eat sushi.”
Williams says he told Racine “that he had serious concerns about permitting the flight to take off,” and that “Racine responded by reminding Williams that he was ‘fit to fly’ and that he was ‘very disappointed that he (Williams) would question or even think that he (Racine) would fly while under the influence’ and that the client was an important client to Camden and that they were operating under narrow scheduling constraints.”
But Williams says he was “concerned by the detected odor of alcohol and the safety of flight,” so he told his boss “that he would not permit the flight in question to process until he was certain Racine was not under the influence of alcohol and in violation of 14 CFR Section 91.17.”
Williams says Racine got angry at that this, but Williams delayed the flight anyway, and reported his boss to the FAA’s whistleblower hotline.
“(S)hortly after Williams’ anonymous report to the FAA, Racine’s medical certificate to pilot aircraft was suspended,” according to the complaint.
Racine figured out that Williams had reported him, and he fired Williams in June, Williams says. He demands damages for retaliation, wrongful firing, and whistleblower violations. He is represented by Brian Laughlin of Lake in the Hills.