Retired Southwest pilot sentenced for exposing himself on flight

A retired Southwest Airlines pilot was sentenced to probation Friday over a 2020 incident during which he engaged in inappropriate behavior, including exposing himself.

Michael Haak pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to a female co-worker and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight from Philadelphia to Florida last year, The Associated Press reported.

He removed himself from the pilot's seat after the plane reached its cruising altitude and "disrobed," prosecutors alleged.

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Haak pleaded guilty to the accusations brought against him after being charged in April with intentionally committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act in a public place. He was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson to unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine.

During the sentencing, prosecutors and the judge condemned Haak for his behavior, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham saying Haak had "a duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner."

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

Haak apologized for his actions, saying it "started as a consensual prank" between him and his co-pilot.

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

Southwest Airlines told The Hill that Haak retired before they were notified of the incident.

"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, a company spokesman said.