The FAA has barred a wing walking company from conducting flights and revoked the owner’s pilot certificate, deeming the operation unsafe and reckless, according to a report from The Seattle Times.

Mason Wing Walking, based in Sequim, Washington in the summer and Ventura County, California in the winter, gives thrill-seeking amateurs the opportunity to strap themselves atop a 1940s Stearman biplane—fulfilling a bucket-list item for many. However, the business was ordered to cease operations after owner Mike Mason received a March 18 letter from the FAA noting the flights were “careless or reckless so as to endanger the life or property of another.”

The Seattle Times stated that Mason, who has been conducting the flights since 2012, claimed he was assured he was exempt from the regulations that govern commercial air carriers based on rules tailored to flight school, acrobatic, and aerial photography missions.

Nonetheless, the FAA informed Mason that he had advertised or provided passenger-carrying aircraft operations to the public without proper authorization. The agency cited infractions such as conducting acrobatic flight maneuvers without a parachute for the paying passenger.

During the flights, most of which last 25 minutes and cost between $1,000 and $1,400, wing walkers climb out of the cockpit tethered to a cable at an altitude of 3,500 feet while the biplane performs aerobatics. According to its website, Mason Wing Walking says that to its knowledge, it is the only wing walking school in the world, noting that wing riding is available in the U.K.

Mason was instructed to surrender his revoked pilot certificate immediately or face a daily fine of $1,828 until compliance. He will not be eligible to apply for a new certificate for one year.

The post FAA Grounds Wing Walking Company; Owner Faces Heavy Penalties appeared first on AVweb.

Read More