Saturday, May 01, 2021

Cessna 182Q Skylane, N4868N: 'Reckless' Pilot Can't Fly For 90 Days; East Hampton Town Implements Two Measures To Ensure Airport Safety

159 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, New York 11937

April 30, 2021


The Town of East Hampton Implements Two Key Measures to Ensure Safe Operations at the East Hampton Airport (KHTO)

Aircraft Pilot Faces 90-Day Suspension from East Hampton Airport

Effective April 28, 2021, local pilot David Wisner, has been prohibited by Airport Manager Jim Brundige from operating any aircraft at East Hampton Airport for a period of 90 days. Mr. Wisner’s suspension resulted from the careless and reckless operation of his single-engine Cessna during an April 13 flight that alarmed the community. According to data from the East Hampton Airport’s flight tracking system, Mr. Wisner dangerously overflew populated areas at altitudes as low as 25 feet.

In addition to the 90-day suspension, Mr. Wisner recently turned himself in to Sag Harbor Village Police to face a criminal charge for reckless endangerment. The FAA is also investigating whether Mr. Wisner’s pilot’s license should be suspended or revoked. The Town of East Hampton is assisting Sag Harbor Village Police and the FAA with their investigations. 

Ban on “Special VFR” Practice

As the summer season approaches, the East Hampton Airport Air Traffic Control Tower will no longer allow helicopter and seaplane pilots to request special handling in marginal weather conditions with poor visibility. The practice, known as Special VFR, allows unqualified aircraft and pilots to fly in bad weather if a special permission is requested before arriving or departing the East Hampton Airport.

The East Hampton Town Board and the Airport Manager have been opposed to the practice as it increasingly became standard operating procedure when the weather is overcast on the East End, resulting in flights at very low altitudes. Mr. Brundige’s notice to the FAA of the Town’s Special VFR ban raised several safety concerns with the procedure and concluded “after careful consideration of these and other safety factors, our contract Air Traffic Control Tower has been advised to deny any requests for Special VFR clearances.”

According to East Hampton Town Councilman Jeff Bragman, the airport liaison, these recent actions “demonstrate the Town Board’s commitment to taking swift action against anyone who uses the East Hampton Airport in an unsafe manner.” “The safety of the residents of East Hampton Town and other communities under the flight paths cannot be compromised by East Hampton Airport users,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. “While the Town continues to seek ways to mitigate the airport’s noise impacts, within difficult Federal Aviation Administration constraints, there is no question that we must act decisively to address any and all aviation safety issues.”

David Wisner's April 13 flyby of Sag Harbor Village was promptly reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the village police chief, Austin J. McGuire. 

David Wisner, the 48-year-old Sag Harbor resident who flew his single-engine airplane in what local police have called "a dangerous and reckless manner over Sag Harbor Village," turned himself in to police there on Friday and was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Wisner has since been suspended for 90 days from using East Hampton Town Airport, Town Councilman Jeff Bragman said yesterday. Mr. Bragman is the board's liaison to the airport.

On April 13, people out and about and even indoors reported being frightened when Mr. Wisner, the owner of Springs Auto Collision on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton, buzzed over the village at altitudes as low as 50 feet above houses and businesses. He was to have been arraigned in Sag Harbor Justice Court on Friday following his booking at police headquarters, but the arraignment was postponed to May 7 because of a scheduling issue.

The April 13 flyby was promptly reported to the Federal Aviation Administration. Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Austin J. McGuire said Tuesday that he had no updates on the FAA proceedings. "I'm sure it moves a lot slower than we do. He probably has the rights to hearings," the chief said.

The charge of reckless endangerment in the second degree is levied when a person is alleged to have engaged in "conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person," which indeed was the worry of police and bystanders on April 13.

At the time, Chief McGuire, recalling that "9/11 was only 20 years ago," cited the "tremendous fallout" for "people who were really scared by this man." A bystander posted a video to Facebook of the plane swooping over the rooftops, which Mr. Bragman described as "startling" and "shocking."

It is unlikely Mr. Wisner will be able to fly during his 90-day airport suspension, because his plane, a single-engine Cessna 182, is parked at the airport.

Colin Asterita, his attorney, had no comment on the case this week. East Hampton Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said the board would likely discuss the incident further at its meeting on Tuesday.


  1. Should jerk his license permanently and give him 3 months in jail to think about it. Very stupid banking that tight, that low, over a neighborhood.

  2. That’s one bold pilot there!

    Remember that name folks I’m sure we’ll see it again!

    Horses A ss

  3. New PPL December 2020. He shows very poor decision making. I'd vote to yank his cert permanently. I don't want to be flying anywhere near him.

  4. Also, this is not the first time he has flown low. If his cert is not pulled, he has a good chance of ending on here again one last time.