Drunk pilot who appeared to pass out in cockpit sentenced to 8 months
Judge also barred Miroslav Gronych from flying for 1 year after he's released from jail
A pilot who pleaded guilty to being impaired while in control of a Sunwing Airlines jet has been sentenced in Calgary to eight months in jail, minus time served, and barred from flying for a year after his release.
Miroslav Gronych's sentence works out to 219 days in custody.
Provincial court Judge Anne Brown also imposed on the Slovakian national a one-year prohibition from flying an aircraft.
Gronych pleaded guilty last month to having care and control of an aircraft while intoxicated. He had a blood alcohol level that would have been three times the legal limit for driving a vehicle.
He was escorted off a Sunwing Airlines plane in Calgary on Dec. 31 that was supposed to fly to Regina and Winnipeg before continuing to Cancun, Mexico.
Crown prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood said she's satisfied with the outcome.
"I think eight months sends a pretty clear message that [the judge] agrees denunciation and deterrence are really important here," she said. "Don't fly drunk. It's pretty simple."
The defence had asked for a three- to six-month sentence, while the Crown sought one year in jail.
The court heard that when Gronych got on the plane, he struggled to hang up his coat, was slurring his words and was staggering.
The court was also told the co-pilot suggested Gronych should leave the plane, but he eventually returned to the cockpit, sat down and appeared to pass out with his face resting on the window.
The court heard that Gronych, who keeps a Saskatoon address, is married and has two young children. He has since lost his job.
Brown noted that Gronych is under an Immigration and Citizenship Canada order to leave the country once he has served his sentence.
She said it seems unlikely he will ever be hired again as a pilot, given the notoriety of his case.
Members of a flight crew are prohibited under Canadian aviation regulations from working within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol.
Sunwing has said it has a zero tolerance policy on crew members consuming alcohol within 12 hours of going on duty.
With files from CBC News