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Pilot had been disciplined for dangerous flying years before Southern California crash

Matthew Ormseth and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- Years before his plane plunged into an Orange County suburb, killing him and four others on the ground, Antonio Pastini was disciplined twice by federal regulators for flying in dangerous conditions and lying about his credentials, records show.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that Pastini had twice submitted name changes to the agency, changing his name first in 1991 from Jordan Albert Isaacson to Jordan Ike Aaron, then in 2008 to Antonio Peter Pastini.

His license was suspended twice by the FAA when he was named Jordan Isaacson, according to records kept by the Library of Congress. In 1977, records show, he lost his license for 120 days after flying from Las Vegas to Long Beach, Calif., in cloudy, icy conditions and lying to an air traffic controller about his credentials.

He falsely told the controller he had an "IFR clearance," an administrative law judge wrote, meaning he had both the instruments and training to fly in low-visibility conditions.

"In short," wrote the judge, Jerrell R. Davis, "he allowed his motivation to reach Long Beach to dictate that the flight should be made and continued."

The disregard for airspace rules posed "a potential threat to himself, his passenger and other users of the system," Davis said.

 

Three years later, his license was suspended for 30 days after Davis, who again was adjudicating his case, found his plane was behind on inspections, carried only an expired temporary registration and was leaking hydraulic fluid from a brake, records show.

The leaking brake and other technical problems made the plane "unairworthy," Davis said.

The FAA confirmed to the Times that the pilot in the two incidents was Pastini, adding that the agency was not aware of other disciplinary actions against him.

Sunday afternoon, Pastini took off from Fullerton Municipal Airport in his Cessna 414. About 10 minutes later, his plane broke apart and showered a Yorba Linda neighborhood with burning wreckage. Pastini, 75, was killed, along with four people in a home that was struck and set on fire by the debris.

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