YouTube stunt lands a stunt pilot into FAA trouble

Stunt pilot Jason Newburg who was filmed performing a practice stunt has landed into trouble with the FAA for having an aerobatics waiver that had expired in November. The video of the stunt in which he flew at 200 miles an hour comes within feet of a man on a runway and another on a bike, was posted on YouTube and had attracted considerable attention – including that of the FAA:

ABC News first reported on the stunt which apparently took place at a North Texas airport and may have been a practice run for an upcoming show being filmed in the area. A local city manager stated:

He does have an FAA aerobatic waiver. We are required to keep a copy of the waiver on file. We do have a copy of that waiver and have verified it’s currently valid.

However, the FAA stated that it could not “immediately locate a waiver tied to the pilot, the airport or the plane seen in the stunt” and it was later reported that the waiver to perform aerobatics had expired in November.

Apparently, Jason often performs with motorcycle showmen known as the Dallas Stunt Riderz who do maneuvers beneath his aircraft. Moreover, Newburg’s company was involved in a helicopter crash in 2008 when an unlicensed helicopter pilot took off with rather than against the wind, causing a hard landing.

Most comments on the later report seemed to criticize the FAA, including posts like:

“FAA told ABC to get the attention off the Boeing’s lithium battery problem…”

and:

“It was a slow day at headquarters.”

I guess one could say that the stunt was reasonably “safe” – so long as the participants knew not to move and there was no sudden burst of wind. However, Jason should have gotten his expired waiver renewed and he should not have posted a video on the Internet to remind the FAA to do their job!

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