In New Zealand there is no legislated time period after drinking alcohol, where you can rely on being safe for aviation. While having a zero blood alcohol level is essential for aviation safety it is also possible to have such a level and still be unsafe due to the other effects of alcohol, including a hangover.
Civil Aviation Rule Part 19.7 states, “No crew member while acting in his or her official capacity shall be in a state of intoxication or in a state of health in which his or her capacity so to act would be impaired by reason of his or her having consumed or used any intoxicant, sedative, narcotic, or stimulant drug or preparation.”
Some operators attempt to encourage safe alcohol consumption patterns in their aviation personnel by having ‘bottle to throttle’ policies. To consume alcohol and fly safely it is necessary to:
- Drink very moderately at all times
- Not fly under the influence of alcohol, even when you feel fine but still have an elevated blood alcohol level
- Not fly if you are subject to any adverse effects of alcohol, even if your blood alcohol is likely to be at a zero level
If there is any doubt or question at all, concerning your alcohol-related safety, then choose the safe option and don’t fly until you can be entirely confident you are 100% safe.