Dallas

FAA Investigating Complaints of Plane Buzzing Boaters on Fourth of July Holiday

Complaints to the Federal Aviation Administration over a plane dive bombing boaters on Eagle Mountain Lake has led to an investigation.

FAA Spokesperson Lynn Lunsford confirms the agency received multiple complaints of a low flying aircraft on the Fourth of July, not just from Eagle Mountain Lake, but Lake Arlington, as well.

Several people enjoying the lake captured the pilot flying extremely low, making several passes across parts of Eagle Mountain Lake at about 5:30 p.m. before leaving.

Boater Adam Pick says he called 911 thinking at first the plane, with more than one person on board, was having trouble.

"We were worried for him at first," Pick said. "At first when I was on the phone with 911, I said there's a plane in danger. Then you realize he's not in danger, he's having fun and that's when you go from caring to mad."

Pick said he was worried for his family's safety. His two daughters, ages 12 and 10, were behind the boat on a tube at the time.

"The kids started screaming. We started pulling them in from the tube," Pick said. "He came around for a second time. That time he tipped his wing at us and was above us by 10 to 15 feet."

The family felt as if they were being taunted.

"Absolutely, they were so low we could see the expressions on their faces casually with their arms out the window waving and laughing," said Anne Pick.

"You think he was actually going in between the boat docks and the houses," Pick said. "That's a distance of maybe 500 feet and so there is, like, zero margin for error. So if something went wrong, he's going down. He's going to hurt himself and maybe one of the kids or the families, which was really scary."

Pictures and video posted to social media from others detailed similar encounters.

"I thought I was going to see someone die that day or we were going to die," Anne Pick said. "That was scary."

Searches conducted by NBC 5 reveal the plane is owned by a company in Tulsa.

Owner Bill Christiansen tells NBC 5 he leases the plane to a company that uses it to monitor traffic in Dallas.

The company refused comment citing the ongoing investigation.

Lunsford tells NBC 5 several FAA regulations including one regarding reckless operation of an aircraft could be a factor in this instance. (See below)

§ 91.13 Careless or reckless operation

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

(b) Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

And, regulations requiring minimum altitudes could also apply. (See below)

§ 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General

Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

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