Pilot watched adult material mid-flight and exposed himself to colleague

A retired pilot has admitted to watching porn on a laptop during a flight.

Michael Haak, 60, who worked for Southwest Airlines, also exposed himself to a female first officer during the journey from Philadelphia to Florida in the US.

He admitted committing a "lewd, indecent or obscene act" and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and a $5,000 (£3,500) fine.

Haak, who was the captain of the flight on August 10 last year, was assisted by a female first officer who he had never met before.

Prosecutors said that after the plane reached its cruising altitude, he got out of the pilot’s seat.

While he was still in the cockpit of the plane, Haak "intentionally disrobed" and watched porn on a laptop, they added.

The US Department of Justice said Haak further engaged in "inappropriate conduct" in the cockpit, while the first officer continued to perform her duties.

Haak was told by the judge that his actions had a traumatic effect on the co-pilot, local media reported.

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The judge said it could also have impacted the safety of passengers and other colleagues, according to CBS Miami.

Assistant US Attorney Michael Cunningham said the ex-pilot had a "duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner".

He added: "This is not the kind of aberrant behaviour that anyone should accept."

During the remote court hearing, Haak said: "It started as a consensual prank between me and the other pilot.

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"I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years."

Haak, of Longwood, Florida, was charged in April with intentionally committing a lewd, indecent, or obscene act in a public place.

He was charged in Maryland as it was one of the states that the jet, which was travelling from Philadelphia International Airport to Orlando International Airport, flew over on the day.

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Defence attorney Michael Salnick said: "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."

Haak worked as a pilot for Southwest Airlines pilot for 27 years until his retirement.

His last flight was on August 31 last year – three weeks after the incident.

Chris Mainz, a spokesman for the airline, said the company "does not tolerate behaviour of this nature".

In a statement, he said the airline only learned of Haak’s behavior after he voluntarily left.

Southwest Airlines investigated the matter and stopped paying him any benefits he was entitled to receive as a result of his separation from the firm, he added.

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