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ADS-B Saves The Day

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) has been around for quite some time, but has become widely used since 2020. It's also become popular with people on social media, using the tracking info to follow private jets owned by people like Elon Musk & Taylor Swift. While it's fun to see who's going where, it can also save your license, as it did for a crop-dusting pilot. The crop dusting operation received a phone call from a local FAA office, investigating a low-flying aircraft report. When the operation asked the investigator for a time/date/location so they could review the accusation, the investigator refused to release that information. A few days after the initial phone call, both the company and pilot received a Letter of Investigation (LOI) from the investigator, leading the operator to get a lawyer involved. Four months after the LOI was delivered, a Notice of Proposed Certificate Action was sent to the accused pilot, stating his certificate would be suspended for 90 days due to low flying and operating an aircraft in a wreckless manner. The lawyer requested the FAA's investigative report, which contained video of an aircraft flying over a house, and ADS-B data. The aircraft in the video shows a dual-cockpit duster, which is odd because the accused pilot flies a single-cockpit duster. The ADS-B data revealed that the accused ag pilot had indeed flown over the house in question once and cleared it by more than 700 ft. It also showed he was working fields far from the house when the owner took the video 3.5 hr. later. ADS-B for the win!

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