Flying Drunk: The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight Three Drunk Pilots and One Man's Fight for Redemption
The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight, Three Drunk Pilots, and One Man's Fight for Redemption
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March 8 1990: An intoxicated three-man crew including Flight Engineer Joseph Balzer fly a Northwest Airlines Boeing 727 with 91 passengers aboard from Fargo North Dakota to Minneapolis Minnesota. July 25 1990: All three pilots stand trial for flying a commercial airliner while under the influence of alcohol; all three are convicted and sent to federal prison. July 26 1990 present: Joe Balzer fights for redemption and to regain all that he has lost. Flying Drunk is his story. Since he was a young boy Joe Balzer dreamed of flying. He pursued his goal with a vigorous passion and earned his pilot licenses piling up hours of flight time with a wide variety of planes and jets with one overarching goal: to one day fly for a major airline. But Joe had a problem. He was an alcoholic and refused to admit to himself that he had a problem. His alcoholism caught up with him in March 1990 when Joe was arrested with two other pilots for flying a commercial airliner while under the influence of alcohol. His world began crumbling around him and his new marriage faced the ultimate test. He lost his promising career and his dignity. Every major media outlet including The New York Times Newsweek and Time Magazine covered the shocking story for the stunned American flying public. The trial that followed drained Joes lifes savings and federal prison nearly broke him. Flying Drunk is Joes bittersweet and thoroughly chilling memoir of his twisted journey to a Federal courtroom his time in the notorious Federal penitentiary system in Atlanta and his struggle to recapture all that he held dear. Today Joe is a recovering alcoholic celebrating more than nineteen years of sobriety. The long road back from perdition led him to American Airlines where good people and a great organization recognized a talented pilot who had cleaned up his act and was ready to fly again safely. Flying Drunk is an incredible journey of the human spirit from childhood to hell and back again. Everyone should read and heed its message of hope and redemption. No one who does will ever forget it. About the Author: Joe Balzer is a pilot for American Airlines with more than 15000 hours of flight experience. He has a Masters Degree in Aerospace Education and is also an inspirational speaker traveling around the country speaking to pilots and other groups on the dangers of alcohol and other addictions bringing his audience to laughter and tears with his powerful message of hope. Joe lives in Tennessee with his wife Deborah and their two children. Flying Drunk is his first book.
- Savas Beatie, July 2009
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