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Air France pilot in white-knuckle near miss

Showing off to boy, shaken passengers claim

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Air France is investigating a pilot who provoked a near miss at 33,000ft after allegedly "showing off" his control of the aircraft to a boy in the cockpit, the Times reports.

Shaun Robinson, 40, an IT manager from Lancashire and one of 143 passengers aboard the Manchester-Paris flight on Saturday, recounted: “The pilot made a sharp turn to the left, without warning, and then back again, obviously showing the French boy how he flew his plane. I could see the boy. He shook hands with the pilot. He had a big smile on his face when he came out. Moments later the pilot threw his plane into a steep climb.

“We could hear alarms sounding. The two crew members sitting in front of me had terror written across their faces and were gripping their chairs. The pilot told us he was far too close to the plane in front, and air traffic control urgently asked him to climb, climb.”

Robinson said he'd spoken to other passengers who confirmed the pilot "had been showing off”.

The airline told the Times: “Air France takes these allegations extremely seriously. We are investigating.”

While the Air France flyboy's stunt is likely to land him in hot water, it's a fairly tame effort compared to that of the senior Cathay Pacific pilot who earlier this year decided to wow the crowd with a low-level, wheels-up flypast at Seattle's Everett Airport.

During the white-knuckle ride, he took his charge to just 30ft above the runway, something which duly "stunned into silence" his passengers - including company chairman Christopher Pratt. The Top Gun was subsequently sacked from his £250,000 a year post. ®

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