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Rockies coach’s social media post leads to FAA investigation

A Colorado Rockies hat

Aug 4, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; General view of the hat and glove of Colorado Rockies shortstop Pat Valaika (4) (not pictured) in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The FAA and United Airlines have launched an investigation into a pilot, and it all stems from a Colorado Rockies coach’s social media post.

The FAA confirmed it is investigating after Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens posted a video of himself seemingly sitting in the cockpit of the team plane while in flight from Denver to Toronto for a recent series against the Blue Jays. The since-deleted post was captioned: “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.”

United Airlines said in a statement that it was “deeply disturbed” by the video, and it appeared to depict a “clear violation” of safety policy. The FAA refused to comment, but confirmed that an investigation had been opened.

“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, via Pete Muntean of CNN. “As a clear violation of our safety and operational policies, we’ve reported the incident to the FAA and have withheld the pilots from service while we conduct an investigation.”

Meulens has been a coach for over a decade, most notably serving as the San Francisco Giants’ hitting coach from 2010 to 2019. He was reportedly one of the finalists for the New York Yankees’ managerial job that ultimately went to Aaron Boone in 2017. He is in his second season as the Rockies’ hitting coach.

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