COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A retired Southwest Airlines pilot was sentenced to probation Friday after pleading guilty to exposing his genitals to a female first officer and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight from Philadelphia to Florida last year.

Michael Haak, 60, apologized and expressed remorse for his actions before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson sentenced him to one year of unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine.

“It started as a consensual prank between me and the other pilot. I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years,” Haak said during a remote hearing.

Federal prosecutors said in a news release that Haak had never met the first officer before that flight bound for Orlando on Aug. 10, 2020. After the plane reached its cruising altitude, Haak got out of the pilot’s seat, “disrobed” and began watching pornographic material on a laptop computer in the cockpit, prosecutors said.

“As the plane continued its flight, Haak further engaged in inappropriate conduct in the cockpit, as the first officer continued to perform her duties as an assigned aircrew member,” the statement says.

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The first officer submitted a statement to the court but didn’t speak during Friday’s hearing. The judge told Haak that his actions had a traumatic effect on the co-pilot and could have impacted the safety of passengers and other co-workers.

Haak “had a duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham said.

“This is not the kind of aberrant behavior that anyone should accept,” the prosecutor added.

Cunningham said the first officer “unfortunately suffered some consequences” as a result of the incident that Haak “didn’t have anything to do with,” but he didn’t elaborate.

“She had a right not to be subjected to this kind of behavior, regardless of what may have motivated it or prompted it,” the prosecutor said.

Haak was charged in April with intentionally committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act in a public place, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail. He was charged in Maryland because it was one of the states that the aircraft passed over that day.

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