A retired Southwest Airlines pilot has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to exposing his private part to a female first officer and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight. ― Picture via Facebook/ Southwest Airlines
A retired Southwest Airlines pilot has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to exposing his private part to a female first officer and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight. ― Picture via Facebook/ Southwest Airlines

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 ― A retired Southwest Airlines pilot has been sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to exposing his private parts to a female first officer and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight from Philadelphia to Florida last year.

Wire agency Associated Press reported that Michael Haak, 60, apologised and expressed remorse for his actions before he was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and a US$5,000 (RM20,000) fine.

“It started as a consensual prank between me and the other pilot. I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years,” Haak said during a remote hearing.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that Haak had never met the first officer before that flight bound for Orlando on August 10, 2020.

After the plane reached its cruising altitude, Haak got out of the pilot’s seat, “disrobed” and began watching pornographic material on a laptop computer in the cockpit, prosecutors said.

“As the plane continued its flight, Haak further engaged in inappropriate conduct in the cockpit, as the first officer continued to perform her duties as an assigned aircrew member,” the statement says.

The first officer submitted a statement to the court but didn’t speak during the hearing.

US magistrate judge J. Mark Coulson told Haak that his actions had a traumatic effect on the co-pilot and could have impacted the safety of passengers and other co-workers.

Haak was charged in April with intentionally committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act in a public place, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail.

He was charged in Maryland because it was one of the states that the aircraft passed over that day.

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Haak, a resident of Longwood, Florida, was a Southwest Airlines pilot for 27 years until his retirement on August 31, 2020.



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