A PILOT sacked for letting Premier League star Robbie Savage sit in his flight deck has urged Blackburn Rovers fans to help him get his job back.
Captain Pablo Mason was dismissed from his job with Rossendale-based MyTravel Airways for breaching anti-terrorism rules that prevent anyone other than authorised personnel from accessing the cockpit.
Capt Mason, a former RAF pilot who was involved in bombing missions in the first Gulf war, had let the Blackburn midfielder onto the flight deck to allay his fears of flying.
Rovers had been travelling back from their 1-0 UEFA Cup victory over MyPa-47 in Finland on a privately chartered plane.
"Robbie Savage may be a terror on the pitch, but he is certainly no terrorist," said Capt Mason.
"I am an armchair Birmingham fan and Robbie used to play for them.
"I know who he is and he was not a danger to the other passengers.
"In the olden days before the threat of terrorism became public it was common place to take flight deck visits.
"It was lovely to see the children's smiling faces - and the adults - as they came in."
Capt Mason, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, added: "It is a marvellous palliative for someone who feels nervous about flying because you get to meet the anonymous voice behind the curtain and see what they are doing."
The 57-year-old admitted that he broke a rule, but said he was using common sense.
He said: "All the passengers knew each other and were travelling together.
"They were the same passengers going out as coming back and had been through security at both ends.
"I would not have done it on a public charter, but this was private."
Robbie Savage has written to Capt Mason to express his regret at what happened and called him 'the nicest pilot I have had the pleasure of flying with.'
"It was not his fault at all," said Capt Mason. "We talked about our cars and houses - except his are all ten times better than mine.
"It was a pleasure and a privilege to have him in there with me."
Capt Mason plans to appeal the decision and is urging Rovers fans, or anyone who may have travelled on a flight with him, to get in touch with MyTravel.
"I would be absolutely devastated if I lost my job altogether," he said. "I have eight years left on my flying licence and intend to make the most of them."
A spokesman for MyTravel said: "We can confirm Captain Mason has been dismissed from MyTravel Airways for a breach of the strict policies required by the regulatory authorities for all flight deck and cabin crew personnel.
"We have a zero tolerance policy towards any actions which could endanger the safety of our passengers and employees."
A Blackburn Rovers spokesman said: "Both Robbie Savage and the chair have written letters supporting the actions of Capt Mason."