Chinese pilot grounded for life after photo of woman sitting in cockpit posted on social media

Woman sitting in cockpit

A Chinese pilot had his wings clipped after a photo was shared online showing a woman sitting in the cockpit of the aircraft he was flying.

Passengers and colleagues were outraged at the massive breach of aviation safety rules after the image was shared on Chinese social media site, Weibo.

The woman, who was making a peace sign with her fingers made the post thanking the pilot.

"[I am] super thankful to the pilot! I am really so excited," the post read.

The airline was identified as Air Guilin by an aviation blogger and the airline has since confirmed it was one of their pilots.

Air Guilin is based in the Chinese city of Guangxi.

The airline said the pilot has been suspended from flying duties "for life" for violating strict civil aviation rules.

The woman was identified as a student taking a flight attendant course at the Guilin Tourism University, according to the state-run People's Daily. It is unclear whether she is personally connected to the pilot.

It's not the first time pilots have been disciplined for breaking the rules around who can enter a cockpit.

Last year a pilot from Donghai Airlines was suspended after bosses discovered his wife had joined him in the cockpit three times in just one flight.

In 1994, the result of a cockpit distraction had even worse consequences.

A relief pilot flying an Aeroflot aircraft brought his teenage children into the cockpit while on duty.

The aircraft crashed into a mountain killing all 75 people onboard.

Rules around cockpit entry have been escalated and strictly enforced after the incidents on September 11, 2001.

The woman in the Weibo photo has since deleted the post.