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 In addition, Peterson did not have a valid FAA-issued airman’s certificate, which had been revoked on June 17, 2014, and his plane’s registration had expired.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.