Pilot Facing Reckless Endangerment Charge for Buzzing Sag Harbor

This low-flying airplane was spotted over Sag Harbor on Tuesday, April13, 2021. (Photo by Carl Dickinson)

A pilot who flew his single-engine airplane at dangerously low altitudes over downtown Sag Harbor on Tuesday will be charged with reckless endangerment, Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Austin McGuire told Dan’s Papers.

David Wisner of Sag Harbor flew his Cessna 182 at speeds of 160 mph less than 100 feet over Bay Street and as low as 25 feet over the water at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, McGuire said. When reached for comment, the pilot hung up on a reporter and declined to disclose the name of the attorney McGuire said Wisner hired.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said McGuire, who had just started driving home after his shift when the low-flying airplane passed over his car. “I thought he was going in the water because why would he be that low?”

Sag Harbor police officers on patrol also saw the plane looping around and making several passes over the village as concerned members of the community called 911 to report the incident, authorities said.

“I heard it three times going into town and I was like, ‘That’s not right, something’s going on,'” recalled Carl Dickinson, 60, of Wainscott, who was among those who sent cell phone videos of the incident to police.

An air traffic controller with the Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities (TRACON) filed a report with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is also investigating the incident, according to police and a spokeswoman for the agency. East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said town phones also “lit up” with complaints concerning the incident, which he called “incredibly reckless.”

Wisner took off out of East Hampton Airport and investigators tracked him down after he landed, police said. McGuire said Wisner will be charged with reckless endangerment as a felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, if he’s convicted. He will face the charge at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court.

The pilot told The Sag Harbor Express, which first reported the incident, that it was a “bad decision” and blamed faulty equipment for not knowing how low he was flying.

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