Unregistered LSA, Fake Pilot
Authorities allege that John Walsh, 46, has been using an unregistered LSA-type aircraft and falsified pilot certificate to fly customers near Key Largo, Fla. Walsh was charged Tuesday with felony operation of the aircraft — an M-Squared Breeze II that would otherwise be an LSA or experimental category aircraft, fitted with pontoons — in a careless and reckless manner and possession of an unregistered aircraft. Authorities say Walsh was in possession of a fake pilot’s license and used Facebook to advertise for customers. They say he was not in possession of a pilot certificate of any kind and an FAA safety inspector reportedly shot video of Walsh flying the unregistered seaplane, exiting the aircraft with a passenger, and soliciting others.
Walsh was released from custody Tuesday after posting a $10,000 bond. His aircraft has been confiscated, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told WPTV news. The sheriff’s director of aviation, Brooks Bateman, told NaplesNews.com that Walsh “didn’t have any pilot certification at all.” He added that the aircraft Walsh flew was “falling apart due to saltwater exposure.” Walsh was allegedly filmed soliciting rides for $20 per passenger in the two-seat open-cockpit aircraft.