2002-09-07 / Community

Renegade Pilots Plead Guilty

Renegade Pilots Plead Guilty

The two pilots who flew low over Rockaway on July 4, causing terrorist alerts all over the city as well as fear on Rockaway beaches, pled guilty in Queens Supreme Court this week to "operating their aircraft in a careless or reckless manner, endangering the life and property of others."

District Attorney Richard Brown announced that each of the two pilots, Andres Paul Ackbar Morais, 28, of Tamarac, Florida and Danile Oliveria, 31, of Holly Hill Florida, were sentenced to a conditional discharge of one year and a $500 fine.

The District Attorney noted that he would inform the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) of the defendant’s conviction and sentence. Both defendants had their commercial pilot’s license taken by the FAA after the incident. They both face additional administrative hearings before the agency.

According to Brown, the two defendants were flying separate fixed-wing aircraft at about 6:30 p.m. on July 4 when they flew as low as 25 feet over Rockaway’s beaches and Riis Park.

At the time, eyewitnesses told The Wave that the two buzzed the Marine Parkway Bridge as well.

Because of the holiday, officials worried that the two planes were on a terrorist mission to crash into the crowd waiting for the Macy’s fireworks display. The city was in a high terrorist alert at that time.

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