"Embarrassing" Airport Transgression By Patty Wagstaff Has
Resulted In Charges
While the aero-rumor
mill continues unabated, ANN has confirmed that airshow pilot Patty
Wagstaff's issues with law enforcement revolve around her alleged
refusal to consent to a "breathalyzer" (or equivalent) test after
an airshow security transgression spun out of control. At the very
least, this has created a difficult, if not embarrassing, set of
circumstances for the veteran performer.
Let's Review The Previous ANN Report
As previously detailed by ANN, and repeated in
a number of other venues, accomplished aerobatic performance pilot
and air show veteran Patty Wagstaff told ANN well over a week ago
she had an altercation at Oshkosh 2008 while attempting to get back
from the "Gathering of Eagles" dinner Thursday evening, July 31st,
while enroute to the nearby Hilton, using interior airport access.
It was late at night, somewhere North of 2230, and Patty (in the
company of at least three other persons) apparently got off-kilter
on the grounds of Wittman Field and got the rapt attention of
Oshkosh airport/airshow security.
The situation went downhill from there -- during a week in which
the tenor of some aspects of the security apparatus at Wittman
Field has been characterized as "less than friendly."
Patty freely admits that she was "in the wrong place at the
wrong time" and is horribly embarrassed at what transpired.
Security "busted" her for being in an unauthorized area on the
airport grounds, and the matter somehow escalated into an
"uncomfortable" situation which required the attention of the
Winnebago County Sheriff to resolve... and some three hours of
their collective time.
Wagstaff spoke to ANN, the following Saturday, and explained
that she was "horribly upset at the misunderstanding that
occurred," but also added that she was pretty unhappy with the
escalation from local airshow security to the Sheriff. Once again,
though, she noted that she certainly regretted any "implications in
which EAA people or anyone else did anything less than
Since the matter will be reviewed by local authorities, Wagstaff
was constrained from specific comment about particular issues, but
assured ANN that she remained "terribly sorry about what happened,"
pointedly adding that she was "absolutely not impaired."
The Wisconsin Court Reporting system confirms that Wagstaff
currently faces two charges, with hearings currently scheduled for
September 2nd. The first is a violation of WI 346.63(1), described
as "Operating While under Influence (1st)." This charge is levied
against those suspected of a first time OUI (Operating Under the
influence) infraction. The second is WI 343.305, described as
"Refuse to Take Test for Intoxication." According to legal experts,
Wagstaff's refusal to consent to a breathalyzer (or other form of
chemical measurement of potential intoxication) pretty much makes
the first charge an automatic issue. When one refuses to submit to
such testing, it is taken by the courts as an admission of guilt...
and is charged that way... so long as the request for such testing,
on the part of Law Enforcement, was issued lawfully and according
to established guidelines (including, we assume, the necessary
probable cause to suggest that the test may have been
Under most circumstances, the matter would be difficult to
contest... but details emerging from this matter suggest that this
may not be so. ANN has had extensive discussions with persons close
to Wagstaff and with those who were in her company within minutes
of the alleged infractions. None of them, including some credible
industry personnel (speaking on background), saw any evidence of
impairment or intoxication and are vehement in that opinion.
Further; a number of these same persons indicate that both the
security personnel and the Sheriff's officers acted 'aggressively'
and in a manner in which Wagstaff has admitted to "some fear" of
the situation she found herself in on the grounds of Wittman Field,
in the late hours of July 31st.
ANN has received a number of detailed reports concerning
aggressive behavior by local law enforcement and some security
personnel while this year's Oshkosh event was underway. Persons
close to the Wagstaff matter have indicated that the "aggressive"
performance and behavior of the Winnebago County Sheriff should
have been examined carefully in this matter before any charges were
More info to follow...