VIDEO: Passenger Films Pilot Texting During American Airlines Takeoff

American Airlines Pilot Texting Before Takeoff
Photo Courtesy: UPI

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 7 (UPI) — A North Carolina man on a flight from Charlotte to Tampa, Fla., captured video of an airline pilot using his cellphone to text during take-off.

Chad Tillman of Charlotte said he was flying Aug. 14 from Charlotte to Tampa on an American Airlines flight when he noticed a pilot using his phone for text messaging.

The Federal Aviation Administration allows crew members and passengers to use their cellphones during takeoff and flights, but only if they are set in airplane mode, which disables calling and texting.

“The concern is that anything that emits a signal may interfere with the avionic/electrical systems in the cockpit,” an FAA representative told the Charlotte Observer.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said the pilot in the video was an employee of another airline being transported as part of a partnership agreement and was not part of the team flying the plane Aug. 14.

“I do know the other airline addressed the issue with the pilot,” AA spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said. Tillman said his own phone was set in airplane mode when he shot the video.

“I started thinking, ‘They’ve got these rules in place for a reason,'” Tillman said. “The pilots, more than anyone, should know those rules and obey them.”

Tillman said he wrote a letter to AA chief executive officer Doug Parker shortly after landing in Florida.

“I am sure he is a good pilot, but even a small lapse in judgment in his profession can get people killed, and it bothers me that he can so casually disregard FAA regulations in the public view,” Tillman wrote. “I fear what he may be doing in the cockpit that could jeopardize passenger safety.”


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