U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging William Hugh Weygandt, 63, of Granite Bay, Calif., for conspiracy to commit fraud involving aircraft parts. Weygandt is the former owner and president of Weco Aerospace Systems, an FAA-certified repair station based in Lincoln, Calif., that was purchased in 2007 by Gulfstream Aerospace.
Yesterday, Brazil’s Regional Federal Tribunal shortened the sentences of U.S. pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, who survived the midair of their Embraer Legacy 600 with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon in September 2006. In May last year they were acquitted in absentia on all but one of six charges.
During the appeals hearing, the Legacy pilots’ sentences were reduced from four years and four months to three years, one month and 10 days. The judges also struck down the suspension of Lepore’s and Paladino’s pilot certificates.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to know how a male U.S. citizen boarded and flew aboard an Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, all the way to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with a smoke grenade in his checked baggage.
The man, whose journey originated in Japan, was arrested at LAX wearing a bulletproof vest and flame-retardant pants as he tried to check in for a domestic flight to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).
In another example of the government’s pushback against laser threats to aviation, a federal grand jury in Jacksonville, Fla., indicted John Tyler Pennywitt on October 5. He was accused of shining a handheld laser pointer at a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office helicopter on the night of June 3, 2012. Pennywitt was indicted under a section of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 that makes it a federal crime to aim a laser at an aircraft, or even into the path of an aircraft.
On Monday, a Brazilian court will hear the appeal of U.S. pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, who survived the midair of their Embraer Legacy 600 with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon in September 2006. After being detained in Brazil for more than two months after the accident, they returned home and, in May 2011, were acquitted in absentia on all but one of six charges.
Judging by the positive press from AOPA and EAA, one would think the pilot’s bill of rights is going to do wonders for pilots fighting FAA enforcement actions, especially the unfair kinds of action that many of us have criticized.
The saga involving a Gulfstream GV and its crew detained in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo and attempted gold smuggling has finally come to a close. A jury in Dallas County, Texas, awarded the owner of the GV, Southlake Aviation, $32.4 million in damages to be paid by Camac International, subsidiary Camac Aviation and Camac vice president of African operations Mickey Lawal, according to a Southlake Aviation statement.
A shop supervisor for Aircraft Transparencies Repair (ATR) and Transparencies Engineering Group (TEG) is the latest employee convicted in a trial stemming from an aircraft parts conspiracy. Dennis Romero was convicted in U.S. District Court, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for his participation in the conspiracy. The same jury acquitted three lower-level ATR mechanics and a salesperson. A separate mechanic, Hermes Reyes, pleaded guilty before the start of the trial.
A federal grand jury in Philadelphia indicted Joseph Picklo on August 23, charging him with possession of an explosive in an airport and carrying an explosive on to an aircraft. Federal investigators said that on March 29 this year Picklo attempted to pass through security screening with explosives in his backpack at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Airport security officials searched the backpack and confiscated two M80-style fireworks, flash-powder in a concealed container, a lighting wick and a flammable lighter.
New data published by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) appears to confirm the widespread view among executive charter operators that few people are prosecuted for illegally flying for hire in Britain. Between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012, the CAA pursued 16 prosecutions for various breaches of UK aviation rules, only one of which was for illegally conducting a public-transport flight without holding an air operator certificate (AOC).