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Press Release

Former Pilot Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge in Maryland and is Sentenced to One Year of Probation for Exposing Himself to a Female First Officer While the Plane Was In Flight

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Also Ordered to Pay Fine of $5,000

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson today sentenced Michael Haak, age 60, of Longwood, Florida, to one year of probation, after Haak admitted that he committed a lewd, indecent, or obscene act during a flight in which he was pilot in command. At the time of the crime, Haak was employed as a pilot with Southwest Airlines.  Magistrate Judge Coulson also ordered Haak to pay a fine in the amount of $5,000.

The guilty plea and sentence were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Acting Special Agent in Charge Rachel Byrd of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to Haak’s plea agreement, on August 10, 2020, Haak was the Captain, that is, pilot in command, of a flight traveling from Philadelphia International Airport to Orlando International Airport. Haak was assisted by a female First Officer who Haak had never met prior to that flight.

Haak admitted that, after the aircraft had achieved cruising altitude, Haak got out of the pilot’s seat, and while still in the cockpit of the plane, intentionally disrobed and viewed pornographic media on a laptop computer.  As the plane continued its flight, Haak further engaged in inappropriate conduct in the cockpit, as the First Officer continued to perform her duties as an assigned aircrew member.                    

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and Southwest Airlines for their assistance.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.

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Marcia Murphy
(410) 209-4854

Updated May 28, 2021