The Transportation Ministry on Thursday said that Japan Airlines (JAL) has put a 51-year-old pilot on a 45-day disciplinary leave after discovering that he allowed his 34-year-old female co-pilot to sit in the captain's seat for a photo during a 2009 cargo flight. The co-pilot will serve a 20-day leave, the ministry said.
According to a statement from the ministry, the photo was taken with the pilot's digital camera while the plane was en route from Hong Kong to Narita Airport. The picture shows the co-pilot sitting in the captain's seat and looking over her shoulder at the camera. The pilot told officials that he took the photo to encourage his co-pilot, who was seeking a promotion to flight captain.
The ministry says the photo is evidence that the pilots violated regulations which require at least one pilot to be observing the control panel and cockpit window at all times. The pilot later sent the photo to the co-pilot via his cell phone.
According to a report on Fuji TV, a third party apparently discovered the photograph and alerted JAL management in June of 2011. On top of the suspensions, the pilot will be restricted from flying for six months, and his co-pilot for 30 days.© Japan Today