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Pilot Suspended for Broadcasting Crude Rant

Southwest pilot's mic was stuck as he complained about 'gays, grannies'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 23, 2011 2:28 AM CDT | Updated Jun 23, 2011 6:28 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A Southwest Airlines pilot was suspended without pay after he accidentally broadcast a rant about his failure to score with the airline's flight attendants to dozens of air traffic controllers and fellow pilots. The airline hires a "continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes," the man told his co-pilot, complaining that he wasn't getting any in his previous posting to Chicago and had now been relocated to Houston, "which is easily one of the ugliest bases." His cockpit microphone was stuck, causing his rant, filled with expletives and anti-gay slurs, to be broadcast on an air traffic control channel over a wide area, blocking the frequency.

Controllers were able to cut off his microphone after a few minutes, after which other commercial pilots checking in with controllers were keen to let them know that they weren't the ranter. "And they wonder why airline pilots have a bad reputation," one pilot said. Southwest says the pilot is back in the air after receiving diversity training, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The Southwest flight attendants' union is considering complaining to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

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