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FAA investigating Rockies charter flight for unauthorized personnel in cockpit, airline ‘deeply disturbed’

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United Airlines have opened an investigation after a video surfaced on social media showing unauthorized personnel in the cockpit during a flight chartered by the Colorado Rockies to Toronto, according to CNN.

“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 Airlines told CNN in a statement. United also confirmed that they’ve reported the incident to the FAA. Both pilots have been sidelined.

“The FAA is investigating this event,” a spokesperson told Denver’s KDVR FOX affiliate. “Federal regulations restrict flight deck access to specific individuals. We do not comment on the details of open investigations.”

A video originally posted on Instagram that appears to match the description provided by United Airlines has since been shared on social media. CBS Sports has been unable to confirm its authenticity, but it shows a Rockies coach in the pilot seat, next to one of the pilots and with the flight in the air. Later, another individual makes their way into the flight deck. The caption on the since-deleted Instagram post reads: “Had some fun in the cockpit on our flight from Denver to Toronto. Thanks to the captain and the first officer of our United charter that allowed me this great experience.”

It’s perhaps notable that the violation took place just weeks after the FAA announced it would increase its oversight of United Airlines’ compliance with safety regulations. One must reason that this is not the kind of activity that will help reduced the FAA’s scrutiny of United’s operations.

The Rockies have opened this season with a 4-15 mark, placing them in last place in the National League West. They flew back to Denver from Philadelphia earlier this week and start a homestand against the Mariners on Friday night.

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