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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Rockies Coach’s Team Plane Cockpit Visit Triggers Federal Investigation

  • A video on social media showed the coach seated in the cockpit mid-flight.
  • The FAA and United are investigating the incident, and pilots have been grounded.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens has triggered investigations by the FAA and United Airlines after a since-deleted video on social media showed him in the cockpit of the team’s charter mid-flight.

“I’m gonna land the plane tonight,” Meulens says in the video. “So relax.”

In the video, Meulens is seated in one chair with a pilot in the other one. The incident happened on the team’s April 10 flight from Denver to Toronto. The Rockies played three games against the Blue Jays on April 12, 13, and 14.

“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 said in a statement, adding that it has grounded the pilots involved while its investigation is underway.

The FAA has confirmed an investigation but declined further comment, other than to say “Federal regulations restrict flight deck access to specific individuals.”

In March, the FAA increased its oversight of United after a string of recent incidents that required emergency landings.

The Rockies have started the season 4-15. Meulens is in his second season with the team after a successful tenure that saw three World Series wins in San Francisco, as well as brief posts with both New York teams. Nicknamed “Bam Bam” as a teenager for his power-hitting that resembled the Flintstones baby and his signature club, he played from 1989 to 2000 in the MLB and professional leagues in South Korea and Japan.

The Rockies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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