An Argentinian airline has fired two pilots after they were pictured taking selfies with a Playboy model in the cockpit mid-flight, the airline said.
Model Viky Xipolitakis posted photos to her Twitter account showing her posing between two smiling pilots with the cockpit controls behind them.
In video obtained by Argentinian news program Telenoche, one of the pilots is seen explaining how various controls work to the model, who appears to be the one taking the video.
She has since apologized via social media but that has not helped save either pilot’s job.
Patricio Zocchi Molina and Federico Matias Soaje were fired by Aerolineas Argentinas on June 25, three days after the flight in question, though that may not be the end of their punishment.
“Also criminal proceedings against the above-named and against the passenger involved will be initiated under Article 190 of the penal code for putting the flight’s safety at risk,” the Argentinean airline said in a statement.
For her part, Xipolitakis has not taken down the pictures from her Twitter post on the evening of June 24, but has added several statements in Spanish relating to the incident.
“I sincerely and wholeheartedly did not imagine I could cause this much damage,” she wrote in one of the posts.
|The photos taken on-board. (Twitter: @VXipolitakisOK)|
“With respect to the extraordinary flight, being there was an unforgettable and beautiful experience, I never thought there would be this much fuss,” she wrote in Spanish.
The airline, which referred to her only as “the passenger,” stated that she will be banned from both Aerolineas and Austral flights for the next five years.
The Federal Aviation Administration has no jurisdiction in this matter, since the airline in question is an Argentinian company that handles domestic flights in Argentina, but the agency does have specific rules when it comes to pilots using handheld devices.
Commercial pilots are not allowed to use personal wireless devices “while at their duty station” and it is only allowed if “directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications,” according to the FAA regulations. That said, these rules do not apply to anyone occupying the jumpseat.
“The FAA is unaware of incidents of pilots violating the regulation,” a FAA spokesman said in a statement, referring to carriers over which the agency has jurisdiction.
By Meghan Keneally