Crew Behaving Badly

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PHXPhlyer
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Re: Crew Behaving Badly

#21 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Jan 05, 2024 4:13 pm

Pilot accused of threatening to shoot airline captain midflight calls it a misunderstanding
Jonathan J. Dunn acknowledged threatening the captain but said his remarks were intended as a joke, according to new court documents.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pi ... rcna132426

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys clashed Thursday in a Utah courtroom over opposing characterizations of a fight between two commercial airline pilots in which the co-pilot allegedly threatened to shoot the captain for suggesting they divert the flight for a passenger’s medical emergency.

Former Delta Air Lines pilot Jonathan J. Dunn, 42, made his first federal court appearance Thursday in Salt Lake City after he was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 18, 2023, and charged with interfering with a flight crew. His lawyer, John W. Huber, who was once Utah’s top federal prosecutor, tried to characterize the altercation as “a misunderstanding,” while prosecutors described it as a “grave offense.”

The heated argument had erupted in the cockpit of a 2022 flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, on which Dunn was the first officer, or co-pilot.

The captain, who is not named in court documents, had proposed diverting their commercial flight to Grand Junction, Colorado, if the passenger’s condition worsened, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges. Dunn objected and threatened multiple times to shoot the captain, whom he accused of “going crazy,” the documents state.

If convicted, Dunn could face up to 20 years in prison. Judge Jared C. Bennett set his trial date for March 12.

Dunn acknowledged threatening the captain but said his remarks were intended as a joke, according to new court documents detailing the altercation. The captain did not perceive the threats as a joke and told authorities that he was concerned Dunn would use his firearm to “relieve” him of command of the aircraft.

Huber, Dunn’s attorney, argued Thursday that he should not be considered dangerous, reminding the judge that his client has no criminal history.

The new court documents reveal that Dunn seemed to recognize the gravity of his actions, telling Delta officials, “This could have been much worse. In hindsight if I had been threatened, I would not be able to operate.”

Dunn, of Rapid City, South Dakota, had been authorized by the Transportation Security Administration to carry a firearm on board. The TSA has since revoked that authority, and Delta says Dunn no longer works for the airline.

The program authorizing some pilots to carry guns on domestic flights emerged as an security measure after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, said Ross Aimer, an aviation expert and the CEO of Aero Consulting Experts. After the government realized it would be too expensive to have an air marshal on every flight, it allowed pilots such as Dunn to volunteer for a training program to become federal flight deck officers.

Participating pilots must be vetted and attend a training course at a federal law enforcement center in New Mexico before they’re authorized to carry a gun on board, according to the TSA. And all pilots undergo regular medical exams in which they’re required to disclose whether they have depression or anxiety, as well as their use of medications, drugs and alcohol.

“There are extensive protocols attached to how you carry this weapon,” Aimer said of the officers’ training. “You’re not supposed to take it out of the cockpit, or even out of the holster, unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

All commercial pilots receive training on how to calmly settle disagreements and are required to immediately report if a colleague is showing signs of any concerning behavior, he said.

The altercation occurred on the last leg of a three-day cross-country rotation that Dunn and the captain completed together. The captain reported having problems with Dunn questioning his decisions throughout the entire rotation and attempting to be, what he called a “right-seat captain.”

Dunn is an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel who was demoted from his previous position for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. The Air Force suspended his access to sensitive information and to the air operations center because of the midflight altercation, a spokesperson said.

His indictment came a few days before an off-duty Alaska Airlines pilot riding in a cockpit jump seat tried, midflight, to shut off the engine of a Horizon Air jet. Joseph David Emerson, who told police he was suffering from depression and had taken psychedelic mushrooms, was subdued by the captain and co-pilot and arrested after the plane diverted to Portland, Oregon. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder in an Oregon state court.

The judge outlined conditions that would allow Dunn to return home before the trial — prompting him to turn and smile at his wife and four young children. His two daughters shared nervous glances throughout the hearing while his youngest son squirmed on his mom’s lap.

Bennett instructed Dunn to remain at his current residence — he has been living at his in-laws’ house in South Dakota — and to surrender his passport as well as any firearms. He cannot access guns before the trial or contact any witnesses in the case.

PP

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Re: Crew Behaving Badly

#22 Post by PHXPhlyer » Fri Jan 19, 2024 2:35 am

Flight attendant accused of recording girl in plane lavatory is arrested
The family of the 14-year-old victim filed a lawsuit after she discovered an iPhone in the bathroom of an American Airlines flight last year.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fl ... rcna134627

A former American Airlines flight attendant was criminally charged Thursday and accused of using a phone to secretly record a young girl in a plane lavatory, federal prosecutors said.

The girl discovered the iPhone affixed to a toilet seat, with a large sticker about the seat being broken to partially conceal it, on the Sept. 2, 2023, flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston, officials said.

Estes Carter Thompson III, 36, was arrested Thursday by the FBI and is charged with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children and one count of possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said in a statement.

Prosecutors said investigators also discovered videos of four other minor girls also using the facilities on planes where Thompson worked.

Thompson was immediately withheld from service after the incident and has not worked since, American Airlines said.

“We take these allegations very seriously. They do not reflect our airline or our core mission of caring for people,” the airline said in a statement Thursday. It added it has been fully cooperating with investigators.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy called the alleged conduct "deeply disturbing" and one no traveler should have to face or be concerned about.

"Mr. Thompson allegedly used his position to prey on and surreptitiously record innocent children, including unaccompanied minors, while in a vulnerable state aboard flights he was working," Levy said in a statement.

The family of the 14-year-old victim on the September flight filed a lawsuit against the airline in December.

In Thompson’s iCloud account, investigators found videos of four other young girls in plane lavatories, ages 7, 9, 11 and 14 years old, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. They were made last year between Jan. 26 and Aug. 23, according to an FBI affidavit.

Online federal court records did not appear to list an attorney for Thompson.

He is being held pending an initial appearance in West Virginia, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The charge of attempted sexual exploitation of children carries at least 15 and up to 30 years in prison, if convicted, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, and the other charge carries at least five years and up to 20 years in prison.

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Re: Crew Behaving Badly

#23 Post by PHXPhlyer » Wed Feb 07, 2024 4:56 pm

Sloppy & Childish American Airlines Pilot Gets Aggressive

https://onemileatatime.com/news/sloppy- ... ggressive/

As an aviation geek, I love listening to air traffic control audio, and always enjoy the VASAviation YouTube channel, which does a great job covering noteworthy air traffic control interactions. The channel has just uploaded a video involving an interaction between a Phoenix air traffic controller and an American Airlines pilot.

Often when I share these clips, there’s not one party that’s completely in the right or wrong. Well, in this case the fault 100% lies with the pilot, and he definitely needs a talking to, as he seems to have a serious anger issue when being called out over his unsafe communication.

In this post:

American pilot struggles to communicate properly
What’s this American Airlines pilot’s deal?
Bottom line
American pilot struggles to communicate properly
This incident involves a recent American Airlines flight from El Paso (ELP) to Phoenix (PHX), with the flight number AA1479. Before we get into the details, let me emphasize the key thing to listen for here, for those who may not be familiar with air traffic control communications.

When pilots are given instructions by air traffic controllers, it’s very important that they read them back accurately. This includes reading back the callsign of the aircraft, as well as the specific instructions (altitude, runway, heading, etc.). After all, we’ve seen a lot of close calls lately, and many of those can be avoided when everyone is on the same page.

With that in mind, here’s how the communication starts between the pilot and air traffic controller:

Pilot: “Phoenix approach, good evening, American 1479, with you.”
Controller: “American 1479, Phoenix approach, expect 25L.”
Pilot: “25L.”
Controller: “American 1479, 26 available tonight, if you’d like.”
Pilot: “We will take 26!”
Controller: “American 1479, verify that’s you.”
Pilot: “That is American 1479, sorry. We will take 26.”
Controller: “American 1479, expect 26, fly present heading, maintain 5,000.”
Pilot: “Present heading, 5,000, expect 26.”
Controller: “American 1479, if you could fill the callsign again. Fly present heading, maintain 5,000.”

I just want to point out how ridiculous this is, because in three interactions in a row, the pilot fails to read back the callsign. Like, you learn to read back your callsign or tail number on your first day of getting your private pilot license, so the pilot of a commercial airliner shouldn’t make a mistake like that.

Interestingly at this point, the other pilot takes over communications briefly, as you hear a different voice, and he’s much calmer and more competent. Then the first pilot takes over with communications again, and unfortunately it goes even further downhill:

Controller: “American 1479, cleared visual approach runway 26.”
Pilot: “Cleared for the visual approach, American 1479.”
Controller: “American 1479, cleared visual approach runway 26.”
Pilot: “Uh, we got a communication problem. Are you hearing this radio clear? Because I’m saying what I need to say but something’s not happening.”
Controller: “American 1479, you said ‘cleared for the approach,’ I need the runway assignment, which is runway 26, not 25L or 25R. You’re cleared visual approach runway 26, and you’re not reading that back correctly.”
Pilot: “Cleared for the visual approach to runway 26, American 1479.”
Controller: “American 1479, if you need a phone number, you can call in and we can talk about the case, but you misread the last three transmissions without a callsign and without a runway assignment. You need a phone number?”
Pilot: “I am not gonna waste my time.”

At this point the American flight is handed over to the tower, and the same pilot comes in with even more of an attitude:

Pilot: “Phoenix tower, American 1479, visual runway 26.” (he reads the callsign intentionally very slowly and with an attitude)
Controller: “American 1479, Phoenix tower, runway 26, cleared to land.”
Pilot: “Cleared to land runway 26, American 1479.”
Controller: “Are you okay? You seem very hostile.”

Below you can hear the interaction. You absolutely should listen, so you can understand just how hostile the pilot’s tone was, all while the air traffic controllers are surprisingly patient.



Hey, maybe this guy was just having an off day. The thing is, sometimes pilots don’t perform at their best, but they’re usually sheepish about it. What’s bizarre about this pilot is that he’s both not performing his job correctly, and has a God complex at the same time, thinking he can do no wrong.

If you ask any pilot or air traffic controller whether you have to read back your callsign or a runway assignment, they’d say “of course you do.” Yet somehow this guy makes mistake after mistake, but accepts no responsibility for it.

I don’t get it. He claims he’s “saying what [he] needs to say.” So does he really not think it’s necessary to read back runway assignments or callsigns? If so, I think it might be time for him to go to recurrent training, so he can brush up on the basics.

Then there’s the completely bizarre aggression with which he approaches a second air traffic controller, which makes you wonder what this guy’s deal is. The controller immediately wonders if the guy is okay and why he’s so hostile.

Honestly, this guy doesn’t sound like someone who you’d want at the controls of a plane when there’s an emergency, in terms of his ability to logically analyze a situation and stay calm.

Also, I can’t help but wonder what the dynamic was like in the cockpit during all of this. It’s interesting how they just keep switching the communications back and forth between the two pilots. I assume at first they switched communications because one pilot was calmer than the other, but then they go back to the original guy, and he’s just as angry?

Bottom line
An American Airlines pilot seemed to struggle with air traffic control communication. He didn’t read back the callsign or runway assignments, which are absolute necessities. When he was called out on it, he claimed he did nothing wrong, and that he’s not looking to waste his time. But then he gets super aggressive with the remainder of his communication.

We all have bad days, but this guy needs some retraining. It’s one thing to have a sloppy day, it’s another thing to claim you’re doing nothing wrong, get aggressive, and shift blame.

What do you make of this interaction between an American pilot and air traffic controller?

PP

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Re: Crew Behaving Badly

#24 Post by PHXPhlyer » Thu May 09, 2024 12:21 am

4 flight attendants arrested, accused of taking millions in drug money to Dominican Republic
The defendants abused "their privileges as airline employees" to smuggle "millions of dollars of drug money," the U.S. attorney said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/4- ... rcna151312

Four flight attendants abused “their privileges as airline employees” and smuggled “millions of dollars of drug money” out of New York City to the Dominican Republic, federal authorities said Wednesday.

The suspects had access to the "Known Crewmember (KCM)" lane at John F. Kennedy International Airport, giving them fast and X-ray-free passage through security, authorities said.

"In effect, given these loosened security procedures, KCM privileges allow flight attendants to bypass airport security with large quantities of cash without that cash being seized," a Homeland Security Investigations special agent wrote in a complaint.

Charlie Hernandez, 42; Sarah Valerio Pujols, 24; Emmanuel Torres, 34; and Jarol Fabio, 35, all face various charges connected to "unlicensed money transmission," prosecutors said. They were arrested Tuesday, a Homeland Security Investigations spokesperson said.

Hernandez lives in West New York, New Jersey, while the other three defendants live in New York City, officials said.

They are accused of smuggling about $8 million in total in "bulk cash" to the Dominican Republic, prosecutors said.

"As alleged, these flight attendants smuggled millions of dollars of drug money and law enforcement funds that they thought was drug money from the United States to the Dominican Republic over many years by abusing their privileges as airline employees," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

An informant gave Hernandez $121,215 — funds "derived from narcotics trafficking" — and he then gave Pujols $61,215 of it for them to take to the Dominican Republic in December 2019, according to the complaint.

Torres is accused of smuggling at least $1.5 million in drug money to the Dominican Republic from 2015 to 2022, the complaint says. Fabio sneaked out $1.5 million from 2015 to 2023, federal authorities alleged.

Delta Airlines confirmed that two of the defendants work for it.

“Delta has cooperated fully with law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to do so," it said in a statement.

An attorney for Pujols said her client is no longer in custody but would not comment further.

A lawyer for Fabio could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. No attorneys were immediately listed in court records for Hernandez and Torres.

PP

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