Philadelphia Pilot Faces More Charges

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We told you Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 about the case of the allegedly drunk pilot who raised havoc over Philadelphia and southern New Jersey a couple of weeks back, but the story keeps getting better (worse). Authorities now say John Salamone was also taking Valium when he took his Cherokee on a four-hour tear and they've also added the charge of "risking a catastrophe" by allegedly coming within 900 feet of a Boeing 747 loaded with passengers. Meanwhile a local television station has obtained a tape of tower conversations recorded during the ordeal (see below). In one exchange, the controller warns a Learjet that "there's no rhyme or reason to what his flight direction is going to be and his altitude's changing constantly." The Lear pilot responds, suggesting that the aircraft he saw appeared to be practicing aerobatics. Salamone is also alleged to have almost hit a police helicopter escorting him back to his home airport of Limerick, where he was convinced to land after being reminded that he would soon run out of fuel. All the usual authorities are continuing their investigations and Salamone has been grounded.

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