Pilot fired for buzzing Paine Field in new Boeing 777

EVERETT — A Cathay Pacific Airways pilot buzzed Paine Field, flying as low as 28 to 30 feet off the ground after taking delivery of a new Boeing 777-300ER passenger jet, and has been fired, airline officials said.

Co-pilot Ray Middleton was suspended, and he and the pilot, Capt. Ian Wilkinson, have appealed the disciplinary actions, according to reports in The Times of London, the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong and Flight International, an industry publication. Flight International described Wilkinson as the airline’s senior 777 pilot

The celebratory flyby with landing gear retracted on Jan. 30 surprised Cathay Pacific Chairman Christopher Pratt and other senior airline officials who were among the 50 to 60 people on the plane, the South China Morning Post reported. The Times reported the speed of the plane at 322 mph.

After the low-level pass the plane ascended to a normal altitude for the flight to Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific has an approval process for flybys but the pilot and co-pilot did not follow it and they were disciplined after a meeting last week, an airline representative told Flight International.

Images of the stunt were posted on YouTube and on the Web site of a Seattle-area plane spotter, Matt Cawby.

The 777-300ER — ER stands for extended range — is 242 feet long and 61 feet 5 inches high at the tail, weighs about 350 tons and is listed at $264 million, although discounts are typical.

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