A pilot has explained to a court why he watched porn on a laptop and exposed his genitalia to the female first officer in the cockpit.

By Jackie Salo, New York Post

A pilot who watched porn and exposed his genitalia to a female officer on a flight to Florida has been sentenced to one year of probation.

Southwest Airlines pilot Michael Haak, 60, apologized before Judge J. Mark Coulson ordered him to serve probation and pay a $5,000 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 the virtual hearing.

The incident occurred on a flight that he was piloting from Philadelphia to Orlando on August 10, 2020, federal prosecutors said.

Southwest Pilot Michael Haak Accused Of Exposing Genitals In Flight

When the plane reached cruising altitude, Haak got out of the pilot’s seat and “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,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecuting lawyer Michael Cunningham blasted the pilot, saying that he “had a duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner”.

The pilot is charged with violating 49 U.S. 46506(2) which addresses how criminal law is applied on aircraft, specifying application of “District of Columbia…section 9 of the Act of July 29, 1892 (D.C. Code § 22-1112).”

“This is not the kind of aberrant behavior that anyone should accept,” he added.

Haak, who retired shortly after the incident, was charged in April with intentionally committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act in a public place. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

His lawyer Michael Salnick had said in a court filing that Haak accepted responsibility for his behavior and “offers no excuses”.

But he argued his client deserved a lenient sentence given his “lifetime of hard work and kindness”.

“The embarrassment and resulting publicity of this incident has in and of itself been humbling to Michael Haak and has served as punishment in many ways,” he wrote.

Southwest spokesperson Chris Mainz said in a statement the airline “does not tolerate behavior of this nature and will take prompt action if such conduct is substantiated”.

“Nonetheless, Southwest did investigate the matter and as a result, ceased paying Mr Haak any benefits he was entitled to receive as a result of his separation from (the airline),” the statement said.

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