Two Marine Corps pilots grounded during investigation of obscene flight pattern

An image of the T-34C's path over the Salton Sea, from the Twitter account of Aircraft Spots, @aircraftSpots.


By ALEJANDRA REYES-VELARDE | Los Angeles Times | Published: November 6, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Tribune News Service) — Two military aviators have been banned from flying during an investigation into a phallic-shaped flight pattern they made last month in Southern California, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.

Officials learned the T-34C aircraft flew over the Salton Sea in a pattern resembling the shape of a penis after a Twitter post from Aircraft Spots, which tracks flight patterns, outlined the flight path on Oct. 23.

Although the pilots are grounded, they are still assisting with other duties in their squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, according to Josef Patterson, a Marines spokesman.

Any potential disciplinary action will be determined following the investigation, he said.

“The Marines and Sailors of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing will perform at the highest levels expected of professional warfighters, and uphold our core values of honor, courage and commitment,” Patterson said in a statement.

This is the second time a military jet has been involved in obscene flight patterns in the past year.

In November, the U.S. Navy apologized after a military jet crew drew a similar phallic image over Washington state. That air crew also was grounded during an investigation.

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