FAA: Airline Pilot Intentionally Buzzed Mall

Documents show low flight was not an accident.

US Airways Piedmont Dash-8

US Airways Piedmont Dash-8

FAA documents obtained by a local news source in Salisbury, Maryland, indicate that an airline pilot who was flying a Bombardier Dash 8 carrying 24 passengers and three crewmembers intentionally flew at a very low altitude at high speed over his house and a local mall. The incident occurred during the Christmas season in 2012, when the mall was packed with shoppers.

US Airways Flight 4343 was operated by Piedmont Airlines. The pilot, identified in the FAA documents as Edmund C. Draper, flew the twin-turboprop below 500 feet agl above The Centre at Salisbury Mall, which was down the street from his home, at speeds of about 245 knots. The pilot then pitched up to 1,000 feet and configured the airplane for landing at the Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico airport. The document stated that the pilot "operated the aircraft with reckless disregard for safety at a dangerously low altitude and high rate of speed without any operational necessity."

Other FAA documents and a transcript from an interview with a Piedmont first officer indicate that pilots of Piedmont Airlines were well aware of Draper's behavior and it had become a regular enough occurrence that they had even started referring to the flight path as the Draper One Arrival.

Draper lost his job at Piedmont and the FAA revoked his license for one year. He has since regained his ATP certificate.

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