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Massachusetts Jury Convicts Repeat Offender Of Unlawful Helicopter Flights

On April 5, 2022, Antonio Santonastaso was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts of serving as an airman without an airman’s certificate, making false statements to FAA, and attempting to tamper with a witness. In 2000, Santonastaso’s airman’s certificate was revoked for the theft of a helicopter from Norwood Airport. Despite not possessing a valid airman’s certificate, Santonastaso purchased a Robinson R-22 helicopter and made approximately 50 flights between April and November 2018. Santonastaso was indicted in May 2019. Santonastaso also made false statements to FAA inspectors regarding eligibility to pilot the helicopter. Additionally, Santonastaso attempted to hinder, delay, and prevent an airport manager from reporting Santonastaso's illegal helicopter flights.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with assistance from FAA.