When it comes to making fun of airline employees, pilots are usually off limits. Screw with a flight attendant, and you may not get your drink, screw with the TSA, and you may end up missing your flight. But screwing around with a pilot just doesn’t feel right.
In the past couple of days, some pilots have shown that they really are human, and that they screw up just like the rest of us. So this justifies a lineup of some of the most stupid pilots out there.
1. Pilot drops his pants – asks checkpoint staff to “search this”
Look – we all hate the checkpoint, and I’m sure that pilots hate it even more, as they probably encounter more checkpoints than most of us ever will. But when security staff annoy you, pulling your pants and underpants down and demanding the staff “check this” is probably not a very good idea.
2. Whoops – missed the airport by 150 miles
This one will stay in our minds for quite some time. Two Northwest Airlines pilots overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles. Ignoring all radio contact and text messages from their dispatcher, these guys were “distracted” when they failed to notice they were miles away from their original destination.
As you can see in the photo above (which is the actual track from FlightAware.com), when they realized their error, they turned the plane around and headed back towards MSP. The two are now without a pilots license, and I personally wouldn’t even trust them to drive a bus, let alone a passenger jet.
3. He almost got away with what he got away with
Argentine pilot Juan Alberto Poch had a fantastic job – he flew for Dutch carrier Transavia, doing short flights all around Europe. He’d flown his whole life, and was taking his final flight in the pilots seat, one day before retirement.
This really was a dream job for him, because Mr. Poch had a bit of a sinister past. During the Argentine dirty war, he was responsible for flying planes over the ocean and dumping innocent people out the back door, in an attempt to make them disappear.
On his very last flight, officials arrested him and made preparations for deporting him back to Argentina where he’ll face charges of mass murder.
4. When in doubt, blame the strong German beer
American Airlines pilot Joseph Crites was caught by the breathalyzer at Heathrow airport right before he was scheduled to fly a plane to Chicago.
The test showed he was more than 4 times over the legal limit, and he was removed from the plane and arrested. Apparently, every single person in the world knows that German beer is good strong stuff. Except for Mr. Crites.
5. Drunken flight attendant sex does not end well
When charges against you include indecent exposure, open lewdness, public drunkenness, loitering and prowling at night and disorderly conduct you just know it had to have been one hell of a party. And when the party involves a drunk and naked pilot walking through the woods, you know it isn’t going to end well.
The pilot works/worked for Pinnacle airlines, and he claimed he had walked into the woods with a flight attendant for a little drunken sex. He was not on duty at the time, but the rules are very simple – 8 hours between bottle and throttle.
6. Passengers spot drunk pilot – demand a sober one
If your pilot sounds drunk when he makes his pre-flight announcement, I’d say it is pretty logical for you to demand a sober one.
Aeroflot does not really agree with this, and even though the passenger protests eventually forced authorities to seek a sober flight crew, the airline actually issued a statement claiming that being drunk up front isn’t much of an issue, because “the plane basically flies itself”.
7. Another pilot caught red handed
It takes a pretty dumb pilot to even consider flying when drunk, but it takes a special level of stupid to head to the airport when drunk, get caught, then jump into the bathroom to change into your regular clothes while calling your airline claiming you are sick. This all happened at Port Columbus airport back in January.
8. A stupid mistake with a very lucky ending
October 2009 was a bad month for Delta Airlines – first one of their Northwest planes missed the airport, then one of their own jets landed at Atlanta airport on the taxiway. Read that again – these pilots actually landed on a part of the airport where they could have potentially plowed right through another aircraft, or even an airport vehicle.
Apparently one of the crew members was ill, and in the confusion, they screwed up. Thankfully nobody was injured as the taxiway was empty at the time.
9. What is this airport thing you speak of?
I’m by no means a pilot, but I am pretty sure that one of the things on your checklist is actually knowing w
here you are heading when you throttle up the engines. Sadly, the pilot of a KLM flight back in 2007 failed that.
The plane was on its way to Shamshabad, the new airport for Hyderabad in India. Apparently nobody at the airline had told them about this new airport, and when air traffic controllers told them to head towards Shamshabad, they replied “what is Shamshabad?”.
The crew then decided it would be much easier to just divert to Mumbai, causing a 1500 mile diversion. In their defense, the airline is probably more to blame than the pilots, as they are responsible for issuing the “notam” alerting pilots to new airports, as well as updating flight computers and maps.
10. Potty mouth pilot thrown off his own plane
First class passengers on a Northwest Airlines flight were treated to quite a show when their pilot stepped aboard swearing away on his phone. His “F this, F that” tirade was enough for the passengers to demand a new pilot.
I’ve actually encountered something similar – I was flying Cathay Pacific “up front” when two deadheading pilots got on board and talked loudly behind me about the “f’ing airline management” and how they hated the company. I politely requested them to shut the hell up. When the purser asked about the incident, they were both removed from the plane.