Flybe Crew On An International Flight Had A 'Massive Breakdown'
Two pilots flying for British budget carrier Flybe have been let go by the airline after they became engaged in a heated argument during a flight last May. Captain Stephen Bird and First Officer Stephen Akers have both lost their flying jobs.
The argument reportedly began just before takeoff on the flight from Exeter in the UK to Malaga in Spain, when Bird said he had not completed some pre-flight paperwork "cos you're my b**ch," according to a report in the UK newspaper The Times. Later, the argument became more heated when the pilot refused to fly around some weather as the airplane encountered turbulence. Akers reportedly then called Bird a "control freak" and told him to "*bleep* off."
The situation got worse, and both men (in their 50s) wound up filing grievances against each other after the return flight, which took place mostly in stony silence. Akers reportedly read a newspaper on the return flight. A tribunal investigating the incident concluded that a "massive breakdown" had occurred in the cockpit which had resulted in a potential safety risk to the passengers and other crew. The U.K. newspaper The Mail reports that the tribunal had to rely on the testimony of the two pilots, as the argument happened on the outbound flight, and that audio on the CVR was overwritten on the return flight to Exeter.
Both Bird and Akers have appealed their firing. The tribunal hearing is ongoing.