A United Airlines flight bound for Newark was in the process of boarding at Scotland's Glasgow Airport on Saturday when both the pilot and copilot were arrested on suspicion of being drunk. Carlos Licona, 45, and Paul (Brady) Grebenc, 35, are expected to be arraigned today in Glasgow for violating Britain's transport safety laws.
The flight was delayed for ten hours as United scrambled to replace the pilots. It finally departed Saturday night and made the trip to New Jersey without further incident.
The pilots, both American, have military backgrounds. Licona reportedly worked in Military Intelligence for the National Guard and has been a flight instructor, while Grebenc's Linked In page notes Air Force and Air Force Reserve experience. The page also boasts "3200+ hours of Accident and Incident-free flying in high-performance fixed-wing aircraft," which will probably have to be updated now.
Three years ago, Licona received an award for "setting a positive example" to other pilots.
It's unclear how authorities became aware of the pilots' alleged intoxication. The Daily Mail reports that "concerns over Carlos Roberto Licona and Brady Grebenc's sobriety were said to have been raised before" the flight.
"The two pilots have been removed from service and their flying duties," United said in a statement. "We are co-operating with the authorities and will conduct our own investigation as well. The safety of our customers and crew is our highest priority."
The arrest comes a month after two drunk Canadian pilots were arrested at Glasgow airport before a passenger flight to Toronto.