A pilot at British Airways has spoken of the disgust felt among flight crews at the airline over the behaviour of Mike Beaton.
Beaton, a first officer, was sacked after he bragged to colleagues about snorting cocaine off a woman’s bare breasts in South Africa before trying to fly a packed plane back to the UK.
A BA captain, speaking anonymously, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Talking to pilot colleagues, we feel hugely let down by this individual.’
When asked how common it was for a pilot to be affected by alcohol in the cockpit, he replied: ‘It’s beyond rare. Unthinkable.’
British Airways has told its staff to report any concerns they have about senior colleagues taking drugs after Beaton’s wrongdoing, according to The Sun.
First Officer Mike Beaton was sacked by British Airways after a night of debauchery in South Africa
Beaton was reported to management at BA after he sent text messages to a stewardess bragging about how he had been ‘very, very naughty’ with two women and two men in Johannesburg.
The father-of-one told how the group ‘did shots, polished off a bottle of vodka’, then how he ‘snorted cocaine off a topless woman’s t***’ and then ‘s*****d for ages’ before trying to fly a plane back to London.
‘[I] was so f****d I couldn’t even lift my head until gone 2,’ Beaton wrote.
It is a remarkable fall from grace for Beaton, who lives in an idyllic £750,000 home in Devon with his Polish wife and their five-year-old daughter.
The bragging text messages sent by Mr Beaton to a stewardess about his sordid evening in Johannesburg
They run a luxury treehouse retreat business together called Happy Owls, which featured in The Times top 12 treehouse hotels this year.
Beaton’s mother served as an officer in the RAF and has sat as a magistrate in Peterborough since 2005.
She lives with the disgraced pilot’s stepfather, an RAF pilot who flew every member of the Royal Family in a career that saw him invested as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order.
Instances of pilots being drunk before taking the controls are extremely rare, as our pilot source stated.
One serious incident involving BA crew took place in 2000, when a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary caught a captain, Chris Salmon, and a first officer, James Sharples, drinking heavily in Barcelona before a flight to Gatwick.
Salmon was alleged to have drunk seven bottles of beer and more than a bottle of wine the night before the flight, reported The Times, while Sharples, it was claimed, drunk ‘at least eight pints of beer’.
Salmon was heard saying ‘I can’t believe I’ve got to take an aircraft back’.
After the expose, The Times notes, Salmon resigned and Sharples was sacked.
British Airways told MailOnline after Beaton was fired: ‘Safety is always our top priority. The matter was referred to the CAA and this individual no longer works for us.’