Rule No. 1 of wearing a microphone: Always assume it's a hot one. A Southwest Airlines pilot found that out the hard way after his rant against liberals and a certain car manufacturer got picked up by air traffic control. Per travel site One Mile at a Time, the audio from March 13 was first flagged by private pilot Will Lawton, who often listens in on ATC communications out of San Jose International Airport. He tweeted that a "very unprofessional pilot" was suffering from "stuck mic" while taxiing for takeoff and shared the clip. In the audio (starting at around 20:52 in Live ATC's archived version), the pilot announces the flight is "ready to go" before launching into some less-routine wording: "F--- this place, goddamn liberal f---s. ... F---ing weirdos, probably driving around in f---ing Hyundais."
The pilot then adds that "you don't have balls unless you're f---ing rolling coal, man," which HuffPost notes refers to the act of spitting out black exhaust from one's vehicle—what some proudly call a "Prius repellant." After one final expletive, the audio then shifts to more standard conversation related to flight operations. ABC7 notes that the pilot's diatribe wasn't heard by the plane's passengers, but locals say the recording is concerning. "I would be very scared to hear a pilot saying that. Especially with everything that's been going on," one tells the outlet. A Federal Aviation Administration rep says in a statement that pilots aren't permitted to chat about things not related to handling the airplane while taxiing. Lawton pegged the flight in question as a Southwest plane based on other audio, and Southwest verified that to SFGate, noting the pilot's remarks were "inconsistent" with the professionalism it expects from its employees, and that it's "fully addressing the situation internally." (Read more Southwest Airlines stories.)