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.
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.