FAA Goes After "Hero"...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Crime And Punishment

No good deed goes unpunished, it seems, although we'd be surprised to see the FAA throw the book at Jeremy Johnson. Johnson, battling high winds and rain, used his private helicopter to help rescue a southern Utah family from a massive flood that washed away their home and most of their possessions last week. Then, he offered rides in his Robinson chopper over the flood-ravaged area for a $100 donation to the family, raising for them $5,000 in the first four hours and $20,000 total over two days. That was after ferrying supplies, taking an explosives expert to a blockage in the river to blow it up and basically flying his tail off for a week to help his neighbors. But while his community is hailing him as a hero, the FAA is alleging he broke a couple of rules in the process. "I'm afraid they're going to suspend my license," Johnson told The Associated Press. One of Johnson's alleged crimes is that he failed to give the FAA seven days' notice before offering rides in the helicopter. FAA officials are also questioning whether his spur-of-the-moment kindness qualified as a bona-fide charity. As for carrying the explosives expert and his explosives to the river jam (at the request of emergency officials), the FAA's Hazardous Materials Division is reviewing that move's legality. FAA spokesman Allen Kantzer confirmed that Johnson could face "as little as a reprimand or as much as a revocation of his license." Regardless of what officialdom thinks of his activities, Renae Ludwig, whose daughters Johnson flew to safety from the flood, has her opinion. "He's my angel wings. I'm just overwhelmed by everything. I can't believe what he's doing."