…And Action The Pilots May Face


The next round of speculation centers on the penalty the pilot(s) will face. Although some media outlets are reporting that the pilot’s certificate will be revoked, FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said that decision hasn’t been made. “The seriousness of the incident merits the most thorough and careful examination possible of all pertinent information related to this incident. Once that has been completed, we will take all appropriate steps with respect to enforcement action,” he told AOPA. AOPA says the consensus of members e-mailing their reaction is that he should face the highest penalty, which would be emergency revocation. He would then have to go at least a year without flying and then pass the written and flight exams again. It’s been reported that his passenger, a student pilot, actually took over the controls after the intercept and got the plane to Frederick, and that may bode well for his future treatment by the FAA. In any case, since he doesn’t have a certificate, there’s not much the agency can do to punish him, according to the reports.

After initially dealing with media inquiries, both pilots have now gone silent. One has left his home in Lititz, Pa., and the other has a note on his door asking reporters to go away. But it’s not just the media that wants to talk to the pair. In addition to whatever awaits them from officialdom, there’s the matter of what to do about the plane. John Henderson, acting secretary of the Vintage Aero Club, which owns the plane (the pilots are members and 10-percent owners) said retrieving the 150 from Frederick isn’t going to be easy. “The Secret Service ripped it apart and it’s up to us to get someone to put it back together,” he told the Intelligencer Journal. Henderson hasn’t been able to get hold of the pilots but he noted the next meeting of the club is June 7. “I hope [they] attend. We’ve got a lot to talk about,” Henderson said.