Pilot flew while intoxicated

SPOKANE — A Federal Way pilot who overshot the Spokane airport by some 50 miles and later lined up on the wrong runway during approach has been convicted in federal court of flying while intoxicated.

A jury convicted 48-year-old Paul R. Roessler under the federal statute of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol last week, the Spokesman Review reported Tuesday.

Roessler was flying a twin-engine Piper PA-34 Seneca for Seattle-based Airpac Airlines last April when air traffic controllers could not reach him via radio as he went past his arrival time. Controllers enlisted nearby pilots to radio him, but he was not responding.

Eventually, Roessler contacted the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center at 8:09 p.m. and said he had accidentally shut off his communication system.

Air controllers “informed the defendant that he has overflown Spokane by approximately 50 miles and asked if he was going to return to Spokane,” court records say. Roessler said he would. “My mistake, my apologies,” he said.

As Roessler approached Spokane International Airport, he was told by controllers that he was cleared to land on Runway 25. But “during the approach the defendant lined up to land on the wrong runway,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Lister wrote in court records.

Air traffic controllers asked him which runway he intended to use and he shifted course and landed on the correct runway.

Once he landed, emergency and law enforcement personnel checked up on Roessler as he unloaded his aircraft and could smell alcohol in his breath.

Officials tested Roessler’s blood-alcohol level. It registered at .108 percent. The legal limit under federal aviation regulations is .04 percent.

Later, during an interview, Roessler admitted he’d been drinking whiskey mixers that morning.

“The Defendant indicated he thought he was alright because there was an eight hour break from `bottle to throttle,” Lister wrote.

Roessler will be sentenced in July. He faces up to 15 years in prison, although he’s likely to get far less time. His commercial pilot’s license has been revoked.


Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

More in Local News

Army nurse from Everett has vivid memories of ‘forgotten war’

Barbara Jean Nichols, 95, served near the front lines in Korea and Vietnam, and in Germany.

In county overdose crisis, nasal spray has saved 100 lives

About 900 local law enforcement officers have been trained to use naloxone to revive opioid users.

Second former student files abuse claim against teacher

The woman says Cascade High School’s Craig Verver had sexual contact with her on campus.

Man arrested after allegedly threatening people near EvCC

The community college was briefly on lockdown Thursday morning.

Edmonds to add bike lanes in two areas

Crews will begin the first phase of work Thursday and Friday, weather permitting.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Woman injured after losing control of her pickup

A 50-year-old woman was injured Tuesday after her pickup lost… Continue reading

Freshwater invertebrates found in local water bodies

Bryozoans are tiny invertebrates that live in jelly-like masses, and their presence is a good thing.

Front Porch

EVENTS Sk8 Fest returns to Arlington The Centennial Sk8 Festival celebrating longboards… Continue reading

Most Read