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California Man Pleads Guilty To Operating as an Airman Without Airman’s Certificate

On September 30, 2019, Arnold Peterson of Big Pine, California, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Fresno, California, to operating a plane without an airman’s certificate.
The investigation revealed that on June 8, 2017, Peterson flew a private aircraft through Class C airspace at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, without contacting air traffic control (ATC). Aircraft are required to communicate with ATC via two-way radio before entering and while flying in Class C airspace. Peterson’s action caused a regional jet to deviate from its flight path. ATC tracked the aircraft until it landed at Portales Municipal Airport in Portales, New Mexico. In addition, Peterson did not have a valid FAA-issued airman’s certificate, which had been revoked on June 17, 2014, and his plane’s registration had expired.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with FAA’s assistance.