FAA Probes Unauthorized Cockpit Entry on Rockies Charter Flight

By Ivan PetrenkoApr 20, 2024 12:30 PMNews
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White united plane on park
White united plane on park. Source: unsplash

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an investigation into a serious breach of aviation safety protocols involving a member of the Colorado Rockies baseball team's coaching staff. The incident, which occurred during a United Airlines charter flight from Denver to Toronto on April 10, involved the team's hitting coach, Hensley Meulens, who was filmed sitting in the captain's seat of the aircraft while it was in flight.

The video, originally shared on Instagram by Meulens but later deleted, depicted him in the cockpit alongside the first officer, with the cockpit door conspicuously open—a clear violation of stringent FAA regulations designed to ensure cockpit security. Further complicating the matter, the video captured another unauthorized individual entering the cockpit, and dialogues suggesting a casual disregard for the gravity of the situation.

United Airlines has responded by removing the involved pilots from duty and initiating an internal investigation, in addition to reporting the incident to the FAA. This comes at a time when the airline is already under enhanced scrutiny by the FAA for multiple safety-related incidents, highlighting ongoing concerns about operational safety practices.

This incident raises significant questions about the oversight and enforcement of safety protocols on charter flights, especially those carrying sports teams, which are often perceived as more relaxed in terms of interaction between crew and passengers. The FAA's investigation will likely focus on the adherence to safety standards and the actions of both the crew and passengers involved.

As the aviation community awaits further developments, this incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of rigorous enforcement of safety protocols to prevent breaches that could potentially compromise passenger safety.

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