A man whose pilot certificate was revoked 21 years ago for lying on his medical application was the presumed pilot of a Cessna 335 high performance twin that crashed near Palm Beach County Park Airport a week ago, killing him and his wife. Philip Castronova, 70, and his wife Mandy, 39, were on their way home from Key West. Castronova was well known at the local airport and flew frequently but hadn’t held a valid certificate since September of 1997 when it was revoked. The Palm Beach Post reviewed FAA records and also discovered that Castronova had received a 180-day suspension just prior to the revocation for a long list of airmanship violations that culminated with him refusing to cooperate with an FAA inspector.
He could have applied to have the certificate reinstated in 1998 but there is no record that he did. It would appear that no one questioned his formal credentials at least in part because he was regarded as a competent and experienced pilot. “It raises some interesting liability issues but as for his ability to fly the plane, he can fly the plane,” said his hangar partner Glenn Corkins. Even close family members were surprised at his lack of certification. “He’s been flying forever,” said his brother Gary. Castronova was the owner of the aircraft, which was built in 1979, and owned an aircraft brokerage. The plane came down in a park near the airport and was mostly consumed by the post-crash fire. No one on the ground was involved.
An earlier version of this story described the aircraft as pressurized but it is not.