- Jury Weighs Drunken Flying Charge
- In the first drunken-flying conviction of professional pilots, a Federal jury today found three former Northwest Airlines pilots guilty of flying a jetliner under the influence of alcohol
- Now on Tap: Crackdown on Alcohol Abuse by Pilots
Joseph Wesley Balzer: 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.
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. 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.
Joe Balzer fights for redemption and to regain all that he has lost, is his story. 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, 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 , , and 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. 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.
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 is an incredible journey of the human spirit, from childhood to hell, and back again.
A message of hope and redemption, about 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.
Books by Joseph Wesley Balzer
- Flying Drunk: The True Story of a Northwest Airlines Flight, Three Drunk Pilots and One Man’s Fight for Redemption