FAA looking into dangerous stunt at Texas airport

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by MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 10:06 AM

LANCASTER, Texas -- A dangerous stunt on a North Texas runway was no accident.

It is 19 seconds of adrenaline; 19 seconds that have caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The online video that shows a biplane maneuvering at a high rate of speed past a man on an all-terrain vehicle and a second person holding the camera has gone viral, with more than 19,000 views on YouTube.

According to some social media sites and blogs, the stunt was a practice session for an upcoming show shot at the Lancaster Municipal Airport.

The city did not know about the video, but after receiving calls from the media, it checked its files and the man who they believe was in the pilot’s seat. WFAA is not naming the pilot; he has not responded to any of their calls or e-mails.

Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin Robertson said the pilot leases hangar space from a tenant who has a rental agreement with the airport.

“He does have an FAA aerobatic waiver,” Robertson said. “We are required to keep a copy the waiver on file. We do have a copy of that waiver, and have verified it's currently valid.”

The FAA, however, has not been able to find that document.

In a statement to WFAA, the agency said “it could not immediately locate a waiver tied to the pilot, the airport, or the plane seen in the stunt.”

It's the close call that worries investigators who are looking into the incident. FAA documents online indicate that even with a waiver, the agency has the right to cancel or delay any activities if the safety of a person, or property on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy.

Waiver or not, the FAA is planning to follow up with the city, and those behind this daring stunt.

“The city will be fully cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration in reviewing the activities of that pilot,” Robertson said.

WFAA spoke to an aviation judge and pilot who knows the pilot flying the aircraft featured in the video. The person did not want to be identified, but said the pilot has a good reputation and is serious about safety.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com


Watch the YouTube video of the "200 mph fly-by":

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