Just as there is no fighting in the war room, there’s no being dicks in the cockpit. Two Air France pilots got a firm reminder of this age-old adage when they were suspended following an inflight altercation earlier this summer.
The fight happened in June on a flight from Geneva to Paris, when pilots exchange rude hand gestures (as only the French can) while actively flying an Airbus A320. From CNN:
“The incident was quickly resolved without affecting the conduct or safety of the flight, which continued normally,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.
“The pilots concerned are currently suspended from flying and are awaiting a managerial decision on the outcome/treatment of the incident. Air France reminds that the safety of its customers and crew members is its absolute priority.”
Members of the crew had to intervene and separate the two pilots, the BBC reports. One pilot remained in the cockpit to land the plane safely. The flight was not affected by the row.
The incident only came to light after an investigation into the airline by French-language newspaper Geneva Tribune. The Tribune revealed worrisome issues within Air France via a report from the French version of the Federal Aviation Administration, the The Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (or BEA). The BEA recently made pilot recommendations, not due to the fight, but due to a terrifying fuel leak which force an emergency landing of an Air France plane in December of last year. From CNN:
The BEA report said pilots failed to follow fuel leak procedures that require the affected engine to be shut down to reduce fire risk, resulting in “a substantial reduction in the flight’s safety margin, the fire having been avoided by chance.”
This is not an isolated case, BEA said. “Through a certain number of recent investigations,” they observed “that the crews concerned had not, for various reasons, voluntarily or not, carried out certain procedures in a compliant manner,” the agency said in the same report.
Earlier this year, in a separate incident, an Air France plane arriving at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport experienced technical issues and “instability of flight controls” while landing.
A build up of such incidents is pretty worrisome. It seems like only a matter of time before something tragic happens. So keep your bœufs on the ground where they belong, Air France pilots. Seem like there’s more important things to worry about while up in the air.