An American pilot today admitted turning up to fly out of Heathrow Airport while over the alcohol limit.
Erwin Washington, 51, of Lakewood, Colorado, had been due to captain a Boeing 767 bound for Chicago with 124 passengers on board and 11 crew members when a colleague smelled alcohol on his breath.
He pleaded guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court to being above the alcohol limit for flying a plane.
The United Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow on November 9 last year.
The Boeing 767 departure to Chicago was "imminent" when police arrived.
Washington will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on February 5. He was released on unconditional bail.
A breath test showed Washington was more than three times the limit allowed to fly a plane.
He recorded a reading of 31 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being nine micrograms.
Kevin Christie, prosecuting, told the court two policemen attended the airport to tell Washington of the allegation after suspicions were raised.
They performed a breath test especially designed for aviation staff, which he failed.
Mr Christie said: "Mr Washington was arrested as it was believed he had reported for work and had intended to fly the aircraft in the role of captain."
When arrested, Washington, who has a military record, replied: "Okay, fine."
A blood test revealed he had 50 milligrams in 100ml of blood. The limit for pilots is 20 milligrams. In comparison, the legal limit for driving a car is 80 milligrams.
Chris Humphreys, defending, said Washington was "remorseful for events".Reuse content