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Mon, Apr 13, 2009

Airpark Resident Arrested For Buzzing Neighbors Repairing Runway

Pilot Spends Night In Jail, Faces Prosecution

A pilot accused of taking out his frustrations with fellow airpark residents by buzzing them while they performed runway repairs has been charged with reckless operation of an aircraft and five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to the complaint, last January 3, Edwin G. Brock, 72 was upset by a maintenance-related runway closure at the Melrose Landing Airpark (FD22), located about 20 miles east of Gainesville, FL. The runway was marked with a large yellow "X" and blocked with parked cars while five residents of the fly-in community repaired cracks in the runway's surface.

Brock allegedly harassed the men for closing the runway, and then proceeded to take off in his Citabria anyway, using a grassy area parallel to the runway. He made a low pass about 50 feet over the workers' heads, and returned a half hour later with a lower pass, about 30 feet off the deck.

The complainants said the passes were both reckless and intentional, spurred by friction between Brock and the others. The men have since filed charges with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, and Brock was arrested last Thursday.

One of the men told the Jacksonville Times-Union that Brock has a history of reckless flying and conflicts with his neighbors.

Brock, a former air traffic controller, said he has been flying since he was 16. He denied endangering the others, saying his altitude was consistent with normal takeoff and landing operations. Brock said the real dispute was internal within the airpark's homeowners association.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the incident.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.pcso.us, www.melroselanding.org

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