An airline pilot flying as a passenger from Charlotte, North Carolina to Tampa, Florida reportedly was caught texting on his cellphone while the plane was taking off, in violation of federal regulations.
The Charlotte Observer reports passenger Chad Tillman used his own cellphone to capture footage of the unidentified pilot as he was texting in his seat. Both men were on an American Airlines flight, but a spokesman for American told the newspaper the pilot works for a different airline.
As soon as the plane landed in Florida, Tillman wrote a letter to American Airlines CEO Doug Parker to tell him about what he saw, according to the Observer.
“I’m sure he is a good pilot, but even a small lapse of judgment in his profession could get people killed, and it bothers me that he can so casually disregard FAA regulations in public view,” Tillman wrote.
American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Huguely told the newspaper she knows the other airline “addressed the issue with the pilot.” She didn’t disclose the pilot's identity or which airline he worked for.
Though the FAA has eased the rules governing electronic devices on planes, passengers are still not allowed to text or make calls during takeoff and in-flight. They are still allowed to access their phones, as long as they are set to airplane mode.
Tillman, a Charlotte patent attorney, told the Observer his phone was in airplane mode while taking the video during takeoff. He told the paper he was disturbed to see a pilot ignoring the rules.