Government Orders Pilot to Give Himself Surprise Drug Tests

job interview Does the government over-regulate much? A helicopter pilot who runs his own one-pilot charter company has been ordered by the FAA to adopt a random drug testing program, with the same requirements as major airlines. In other words, "I'm responsible for periodically surprising myself with a random drug test," says Philip Greenspun, the only official "safety sensitive" employee in his small company.

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Recently, Greenspun wrote to, elaborating on how an FAA inspector took a look at his company's drug testing policy, and found it wanting. In order to comply with government regulations, as an employer Greenspun must undergo training that would enable him to recognize when an employee is on drugs, presumably so he can bust himself.

As an employee, he needs to take another training course so that he'll know about the many ways his employer can surprise him with a random drug test. "So really I'm learning about how I might trap myself," he says.

Doesn't the FAA have anything more important to do than regulate drug testing at a one-man show? Apparently not. Greenspun reports that about five minutes after the FAA inspector left, he received a call, from none other than the FAA, wanting to schedule an audit of his drug testing program. At least he won't have a problem rallying his staff.

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Filed under: Office Humor
Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell


Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want.  Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, and many other media outlets.  Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on

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Yep the single employee random drug testing directive from the FAA is typical of our government at work. They need to get out of sports, Baseball Steroid Grilling of players, ex-players, NCAA Div. 1 Playoff instead of BCS, etc. It they spent time wisely, we might have a budget and cuts and revenue in place to have a new Debt Ceiling. But no, Members of Congress are the experts on everthing except maybe what they are supposed to do.

July 19 2011 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


July 19 2011 at 12:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
hello all

I am so proud that my tax dollars go for this kind of thing. I wonder how we find these people. Who's the agent related to?

July 18 2011 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

geez....this is sad...wtg obamoron

July 18 2011 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The FAA is full of seat-warming jerks, who thrive on the bit of power they are given. Most FAA employees don't have the intelligence or motor skills needed to fly a plane, so they love to lord it over their physical and intellectual superiors. They fine small businesses for not packaging shipments according to their ridiculous standards (or having written policies on how to ship things), and don't have a lick of common sense when it comes to applying rules to people like this pilot. "Oh, but the book says we have to....". OSHA is no different - same moronic goons. Hey FAA 'workers', try staying awake on duty for a start huh?

July 18 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to majistan's comment

[Most FAA employees don't have the intelligence or motor skills needed to fly a plane, }

The handful of FAA employees I know personally all have pilot certificates, and several have Airline Transport Pilot certificates. Many of the airline inspectors are former pilots for the commercial airlines.

August 30 2011 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It makes sense and is actually quite simple to arrange. Let the government call him when they want a test. Big deal. Next.

July 18 2011 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

bwahahahaha...thats da funniest friggin thing ive heard in my life!!!

July 18 2011 at 7:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

government and government workers are a waste...

July 18 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is not surprising,after 25 years in the military and 18 years as a state employee,this just the normal idiot mentality that runs amok in goverment.It drove me bananas on many ocassions and caused me a couple of promotions for being very vocal about things like this

July 18 2011 at 7:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

This is the reason that people believe that our government is overblown, overpaid and pathetically stupid!

July 18 2011 at 7:27 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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