Federal officials investigating cockpit visit by Rockies coach during United flight

Apr 20, 2024, 7:43 PM

FILE - Colorado Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens chats with players as they warm up before a b...

FILE - Colorado Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens chats with players as they warm up before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Denver. Federal aviation official said Friday, April 19, 2024, that they are investigating a video that appears to show Meulens sitting in the cockpit of a United Airlines charter flight while it was en route from Denver to Toronto on April 10. Unauthorized persons are not allowed onto aircraft flight decks under federal regulations. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (AP) — Federal transportation officials are investigating an unauthorized inflight cockpit visit by a coach for the Colorado Rockies during a United Airlines charter flight last week from Denver to Toronto.

Video surfaced this week that appears to show Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens sitting in a pilot’s seat while the April 10 flight was at cruising altitude. It is against federal regulations for unauthorized people to be on the flight deck.

He can be seen and heard on the video joking with other people in the cockpit — including a person in a pilot’s uniform and at least one other person who does not appear to be an airline employee — and says the plane is at 35,000 feet (10,670 meters).

“Flying the plane, here to Toronto,” Meulens says as he gestures toward the person in uniform sitting next to him.

“I’m going to land the plane tonight. So relax,” he says. He then reaches toward the flight controls and pretends to take hold, saying, “I just press this button … and it goes down.”

Meulens posted the video on social media and later deleted it, but it had already gone viral and was repostedThe Denver Post reported. He was not available for comment in the Rockies’ clubhouse on Friday, but manager Bud Black said Meulens was contrite and his job was not in jeopardy.

“Bam-Bam, he apologized,” Black said. “I can’t comment really any further because of what is being called an investigation of the matter. As far as Bam-Bam goes, he apologized to the Rockies, apologized to United, apologized to the team.”

United has suffered a series of problems in recent weeks including a piece of aluminum skin falling off a plane, a tire dropping off another during takeoff, and an engine fire. The Federal Aviation Administration has stepped up its oversight of the carrier, and the airline’s CEO has sought to reassure travelers the airline is safe.

A United spokesperson said the airline was conducting its own investigation of the April 10 flight. The airline said the cockpit visit was “a clear violation of our safety and operational policies” and was reported to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We’re deeply disturbed by what we see in that video, which appears to show an unauthorized person in the flight deck at cruise altitude while the autopilot was engaged,” United spokesperson Russell Carlton said.

The pilots on the flight have been withheld from service while the airline investigates, Carlton said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Chris Mullooly said the agency was investigating but provided no further details because it’s an open investigation.

“Federal regulations restrict flight deck access to specific individuals,” he said.

The cockpit visit was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Major League Baseball said it was aware and monitoring the Federal Aviation Administration probe.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - In this image taken from San Francisco Police Department body-camera video, the husband of f...

Olga R. Rodriguez, Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

12 hours ago

This photo provided by Vermont State University shows Max the Cat stands in front of Woodruff Hall ...

Associated Press

A college puts the ‘cat’ into ‘education’ by giving Max an honorary ‘doctor of litter-ature’ degree

A Vermont university has bestowed the honorary degree of “doctor of litter-ature” on a cat named Max who has become a beloved member of its community.

13 hours ago

RCMP Superintendent serious crimes branch David Hall speaks about Alberta RCMP linking four histori...

Rob Gillies, Associated Press

Dead US serial sex offender linked to 4 slain Canadian young women

Canadian police say they have linked the deaths of four young women nearly 50 years ago to a now deceased U.S. fugitive who hid in Canada from the mid 1970s to the late 1990s.

14 hours ago

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04:  Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe and Cookie M...

Emma Benson

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. In January, Elmo asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

16 hours ago

Airplane overhead lockers are designed to accomodate luggage -- not people.
Mandatory Credit:	coffe...

Francesca Street, CNN

An airplane passenger was spotted in an overhead bin. This was the reaction

Last week, a video was posted on TikTok appearing to depict a traveler peering out from inside an overhead locker. The airline said they're looking into it.

16 hours ago

FILE - This undated photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sho...

Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer

We’ve crawled into tick season. Tips to protect yourself

Tick season is starting across the U.S., and experts are warning the bloodsuckers may be as plentiful as ever. That's because of a another mild U.S. winter.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Federal officials investigating cockpit visit by Rockies coach during United flight