Allegedly Drunk Pilots Were Videotaped

Paris Jackson is supported by her family after speaking about her father during the memorial service for Michael Jackson at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, July 7, 2009. AP

In their first court appearance, two former America West pilots faced the unveiling of a videotape by the prosecution, which says it shows the men in a Coconut Grove bar only a few hours before they were supposed to be on duty, flying.

CBS News Correspondent Bobbi Harley reports prosecutors say the videotape, from security cameras at the bar, show Thomas Cloyd and Christopher Hughes with two unidentified female companions for five and a half hours. The bill the men paid at 4 a.m. is reported to include seven 24 ounce beers, seven 16 ounce beers, a "late night Happy Hour" beer, a martini and a hamburger.

Word of the videotape's existence surfaced Monday as Cloyd and Hughes - accused of planning to fly under the influence - found themselves on the receiving end of stern words from a judge.

"There is no bar from them getting a crop duster and flying anywhere they want to fly, because they know how to use an airplane," said 11th Circuit Judge David Young, as he put a bar in place: an order imposing travel restrictions on the two men.

Young also ordered them not to drink alcohol.

The two pilots - accused of being drunk when they tried to fly from Miami to Phoenix last month - were ordered Monday to either stay in Florida or at their Arizona homes pending future court appearances in Miami.

Cloyd and Hughes had asked Circuit Judge David Young for permission to travel while awaiting their Oct. 31 trial.

Young ordered them to surrender their passports, to go nowhere except home or court, and to report to the state by telephone once a week.

"We have two individuals charged with some very serious crimes," Young told the defense lawyers in a packed courtroom. "They need to understand there are consequences to their actions."

State prosecutors had told the court that the pilots, arrested after they began to taxi out from a gate at Miami International Airport, went home to Arizona without permission after posting bonds of $7,500 each.

Hughes, 41, and Cloyd, 44, pleaded not guilty to charges of operating an aircraft under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence.

Both pilots had blood-alcohol levels above Florida's legal limit of 0.08 after they were ordered to return to the gate, according to court records.

They were fired by America West, which cites a zero tolerance policy. The Federal Aviation Administration revoked their licenses, but can let them reapply after a year if rehabilitation requirements are satisfied.

The pilots were originally were due in court on Aug. 1 to say why they left Florida without permission, but a different judge let them stay in Phoenix to finish a 28-day alcohol rehabilitation program, which ended Aug. 2.

  • Joel Roberts

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