Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Piper PA-12, N3703M: Incident occurred June 24, 2018 in Cape May, New Jersey

James P. Dahlen Jr.

James Dahlen Jr., 51, of Court House was indicted for third-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal trespass. The indictment states that Dahlen landed a plane on a restricted beach that is part of the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May in June.

Police reports stated that Dahlen worked as a mechanic at a local air service where he took an unauthorized flight in a Piper PA 12 eventually landing at the base. Dahlen fled the scene and later turned himself into authorities.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia

Aircraft landed on the beach due to unknown circumstances. 

Paramount Air Service Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N3703M

Date: 25-JUN-18
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N3703M
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 12
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

The pilot who landed a banner towing plane on a stretch of U.S. Coast Guard beach in Cape May on Sunday night after taking the aircraft without permission is the stepson of the aerial advertising company's owner. 

Jimmy Dahlen Jr., 50 of Cape May is still being sought by authorities as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Mary Ellen Kelly, the office manager at Paramount Air Services, confirmed to NJ Advance Media that Dahlen, a mechanic at the Middle Township business, is the person who was flying the plane.

Kelly said that Barbara Tomalino, the company's owner, was not available to comment.

Tomalino told PressofAtlanticCity.com Dahlen Jr. is a student pilot who was acting normally when he worked his shift Sunday. 

The bizarre incident unfolded Sunday evening when a red Piper PA12 that witnesses earlier saw flying erratically over Wildwood landed on a secured beach on the southeast side of the Coast Guard training facility at 7:52 p.m. Coast Guard officials learned the plane landed after viewing surveillance footage

The pilot fled on foot, leading Coast Guard officials to place the training center under "heightened security" for several hours while authorities looked for him.

One photo by a witness showed the plane appeared to stop nose down. It was later removed on Monday afternoon.

Tomalino issued a statement Monday morning saying she didn't know why the plane was taken. 

"Paramount Air Service has no knowledge of the pilot's motivation for the incident or his whereabouts after the incident," she said.

The plane is normally used to tow banners that advertise local businesses. 

The Cape May Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday they are not the lead on the investigation. 

Cape May police declined to comment when reached by NJ Advance Media on Tuesday morning, saying the Coast Guard is the lead agency. The Coast Guard previously deferred comment to Cape May Police.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it did not plan to provide any updates on the incident. 

Story and video ➤ https://www.nj.com

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