A 31-year-old man from Virginia will be in prison for over a year after prosecutors say he joyrides on an unfinished plane.
Ryan Guy Parker was sentenced on Friday 1 year and 2 months with credit for the time provided, Said the Federal Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia. He pleaded guilty to flying without a license in January and has been in jail since court filings show.
“On September 27, 2018, ground witnesses expressed concern while filming a defendant flying an aircraft that was literally duct-taped and assembled with incorrect parts,” the prosecution said. The official said in a court document. “Before attempting to land, he flew an unsuitable aircraft for this flight in dangerous weather conditions, even among other buildings, without the permission of the fuel depot.”
One witness reportedly told investigators that if Parker collided with a fuel tank, “it would be like a bomb exploding at an airport.”
The public defender appointed to represent Parker did not immediately respond to McClutch News’ request for comment on Friday. However, citing the history of substance abuse and mental health problems, he stated in court filings that Parker should be sentenced to imprisonment.
Parker took out a T-Bird plane in front of at least five witnesses at Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the middle of the afternoon, according to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal accusation.
Parker was reportedly running an airplane cleaning business called “Outlaw Aviation” from the airport and was hired by the owner to assemble the airplane, but it wasn’t completed.
“At the time of flight, the plane had rear casters, a plastic bicycle water bottle for radiator overflow, and duct tape on the main parts of the aircraft,” the prosecutor said.
One witness described it as a “bucket of bolts”.
According to the affidavit, Parker flew the plane for 10 to 15 minutes, flew 50 feet low, and dangerously approached a tank containing 18,000 gallons of fuel. The prosecution also said it was raining with thick clouds. Parker reportedly lost control of the plane when he finally landed.
“The aircraft bounced off touching the ground before turning 180 degrees, as it would be expected for an unlicensed pilot to land an aircraft held together with duct tape and caster wheels,” the prosecutor said. Said in the document. “In essence, the defendant was flying like an outlaw.”
Parker then lied about testing the T-Bird in a taxi when the fuel throttle got stuck and was “forced to take off.”
Court documents indicate that the prosecutor filed a criminal complaint against Parker in February 2020. He was arrested and released more than a month later. Parker’s lawyer said he was largely in compliance with the terms of release while living in a group home and was returned to jail only after catching a smoking pot.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have been sentenced to five felony charges for Parker, “demonstrating that he bravely did what he wanted to do, despite door locks, aircraft locks, federal law, and court orders. He said he had “history” and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison.
The judge finally ruled 14 months with more than 4 months of credit that Parker had already served. He also ordered Parker to be released under surveillance for a year and to participate in substance abuse and mental health treatments.
Parker was not permitted at the airport “for any reason” without the permission of the parole, and must not be employed at the airport or worked in aviation, the judge said.