Flying Drunk: The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight, Three Drunk Pilots, and One Man's Fight for Redemption [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...
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Flying Drunk: The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight, Three Drunk Pilots, and One Man's Fight for Redemption

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Overview

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 Joe's life's savings and federal prison nearly broke him. Flying Drunk is Joe's 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 15,000 hours of flight experience. He has a Master's 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Balzer was part of the infamous three-man crew that in 1990 piloted a Northwest Airlines commercial flight from Fargo, ND, to Minneapolis while intoxicated. All three lost their jobs and flying licenses and served time in federal prison. Driven by his faith in God and the support of his family and friends, Balzer struggled to overcome his addiction. Today, sober for nearly two decades, he flies for American Airlines. Listeners will be captivated by his tale of redemption, which he engagingly reads. Recommended for those dealing with their own or a loved one's addiction issues.—Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg
From the Publisher

“In 1998, a man came to my office looking for a job as a pilot for American Airlines. I had 50,000 applications for only 80 jobs per month. The story he told me nearly caused me to fall out of my chair. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I asked myself, ‘Do people like this deserve second chances?’ What would the reaction be of the corporation in this very sensitive business? Or the FAA and his fellow pilots—very conservative groups to say the least? I prayed, and was almost immediately reminded that “Jesus never fails.” He hasn’t, and today Joe Balzer is a 10-year pilot with American Airlines. In my 50-year aviation career, his hiring was my greatest success.”
— Captain C. D. Ewell, American Airlines, Vice President–Flight and Chief Pilot (Ret.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611210484
  • Publisher: Savas Beatie
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 296,113
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Joseph Balzer is a pilot for American Airlines with more than 15,000 hours of flight experience. He has a Master’s 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.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 21, 2010

    If you think the consequences of a DUI are bad, you should read this book.

    There was a three man crew on that flight back in 1990; a Captain, a First Officer, and a Flight Engineer, sometimes called a Second Officer. I have heard the CD that was made at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting by the Captain, and now have read this book written by the Flight Engineer; I have found nothing in audio or in print by the First Officer. What I have found between the Captain's CD, and the Flight Engineer's book was a lot of finger pointing, "It's the Captain's fault" and "It's the Flight Engineer's fault" so in that respect between the two different accounts of the events, it's a matter of who you choose to believe as to who's fault it is. What they both agree on is that it was the worst times of their lives; lives that were changed forever once they got off the airplane in Minneapolis and were met by the Federal Aviation Administration and law enforcement.

    As an airline pilot myself, I read with interest the Flight Engineer's side of the story, just as I had listened with interest to the Captain's side of the story. Who was right; who was wrong; who was to blame? That is something the reader needs to decide, once they read the book. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would, to both pilots and non-pilots alike. On March 8th, 1990, those three men put the lives of 91 passengers in danger, and the passengers never had any idea of what could have happened.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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