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Sat, Jan 22, 2005

FAA Charges Good Samaritan With FAR Violations

Does FAA Admninistrator Marion Blakey Approve Prosecution Of Helo Pilot Who Saved Family?

Just a few days ago, Jeremy Johnson, a 29-year-old helicopter pilot, was considered a hero in his neck of the woods. It was reported in the media that after flying numerous rescue and supply missions, he had helped saved a family that had become stranged by flood waters in Washington County (UT).

Rolf and Renae Ludwig and their six children were in great danger after flood waters from the local river had overrun their ranch. Johnson used his helicopter to airlift them to safety.

Now the Associated Press has discovered the FAA is coming after him for alleged FAR violations committed while Johnson was performing a number of other actions to help people affected by the floods.

According to the FAA, Johnson failed to give seven days' notice before offering rides to people over the areas damaged by floods. Johnson offered the rides in order to raise money for the family that he had rescued. In fact, in two days he raised some $20,000 for the Ludwig's.

To top it off, the FAA has even questioned whether or not Johnson is a bonafide charity.

The FAA is also charging him with a violation for carrying explosives in his aircraft. Turns out that he carried an explosives expert with his explosives in order to take him to a location where a blockage was contributing to the flooding and endangering more lives and property.

As it turns out, Johnson, who owns a local Internet company, routinely provides assistance to local law enforcement in his Robinson helicopter (file photo, above) to help with search and rescue ops, and always pays for it out of his own pocket.  During the flood emergency, Johnson flew non-stop. He evacuated people, flew food and medical supplies and even flew hay to feed hungry farm animals.

(ANN would like to hear the other side of the story, and an explanation, from the FAA employees bringing charges against Johnson. You can reach us on the email link below.)

FMI: www.faa.gov, mailto:editor@aero-news.net

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