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Low-flying US Airways plane causes stir in Maryland

WUSA 9 recently reported on a low-flying US Airways craft that caused a stir in Maryland in late December of 2012. While no one was harmed, the Federal Aviation Administration investigated the incident. The ordeal shows the contrast between mainstream commercial pilots, even of small aircraft, and those at the helm of charter airplanes.

What the FAA found, according to the source, was that the pilot of Flight 4343 was deliberately bringing the plane in for an early descent, moving quicker than usual and endangering the lives of the 24 passengers onboard. The aircraft was en route to Salisbury and passed over a busy shopping mall.

As a result of behavior that they deemed "reckless," the FAA revoked the certificate of the pilot, Edmund Draper, last summer, although he gained it back this February. The co-pilot for the 2012 incident, First Officer Christopher Quillen, spoke about Draper's known tendency to fly low over his house during flight, a maneuver nicknamed the "Draper One Arrival." 

"Ed has a house right off Highway 13 and he likes to fly over his house on the way into Salisbury," he said in an interview quoted by WUSA. "I hear he usually does it at 1500' but I hear that on the 21st he did it at around 400'."

Twenty-four passengers isn't an extremely crowded plane, but US Airways is a well-known brand and this mishap will likely stay associated with them, at least for Maryland residents. When it comes to private planes in the Maryland area, however, travelers have the option of pilots who will act professionally and not endanger anyone onboard.