FAA: No evidence of violations made by pilot flying over Ravenel bridge

FAA: No evidence of violations made by pilot flying over Ravenel bridge

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Federal Aviation Administration says a plane that flew over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge last month did not violate any flight regulations.

Several motorists and pedestrians on the bridge had reported and shot video and pictures of a plane flying closely over the bridge on April 17.

In a statement released on Wednesday, officials with the FAA say a review of the flight found no evidence that federal aviation regulations were violated.

According to the FAA,"The mosquito sprayer changed his route of flight to help alleviate public concerns.  He has flown this spray route once since the change,  and has received no complaints from the public."

At the time of the incident, the pilot, Tommy Phillips, said he followed all safety protocols as he flew over the bridge during a mosquito control. Phillips said he has been hired by Charleston County Government to spray the area around Drum Island for the past seven years.

"It wasn't very low to me and it wasn't very close and there wasn't any danger," he says.  "I'd be an idiot to travel at 150 miles per hour and take chances."

Several people reported seeing the plane and calling emergency officials due to the proximity of the craft to the bridge.

"We have a crazy plane flying over the Ravenel Bridge," a woman can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher."I don't know anything about planes, but I'm not kidding you when I say he barely missed part of the bridge."

Garrick Klaybor was running on the bridge when he also spotted the plane.

"It surprised me and it was a little exhilarating," said Klaybor who reported that the plane flew over the bridge at least five times before heading towards Sullivan's Island. "It was kind of cool to see, but a little too close for comfort."

Phillips says he stays at least 100 feet above ground during the aerial spraying.

"I want people to know we take them into consideration," he says.  "We're there to prevent mosquitoes and West Nile virus."

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