Pilot at the Helm of Fatal 2016 Long Island Plane Crash Arrested for Allegedly Providing Illegal Lessons - NBC New York

Pilot at the Helm of Fatal 2016 Long Island Plane Crash Arrested for Allegedly Providing Illegal Lessons

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NYC College Student's Body Recovered 2 Months After Small Plane Crash off Long Island

    The body of a Queens man missing since a small plane crash off Long Island in February has been recovered in Setuaket Harbor, investigators say. Marc Santia reports. (Published Monday, April 11, 2016)

    What to Know

    • An pilot, who was at the helm of a fatal LI plane crash in 2016, was arrested for allegedly providing aviation lessons without certification

    • Nelson Gomez, 36, of Queens, was charged in a criminal complaint alleging he was providing flying lessons at Republic National Airport

    • Gomez was involved in a forced water landing that resulted in the death of a passenger in 2016; His certification expired after the accident

    An instructor pilot, who was at the helm of a fatal plane crash off Long Island in 2016, was arrested Wednesday for providing aviation lessons without valid documentation, prosecutors say.

    Nelson Gomez, 36, of Howard Beach, Queens, was charged in a criminal complaint alleging he was providing flying lessons without the necessary certification at Republic National Airport on Long Island.

    On Feb. 20 2016, Gerson Salmon-Negron, 23 of Elmhurst, was a passenger aboard a Piper PA-28 when it lost fuel and crash-landed in the harbor between Port Jefferson and Setauket.

    Gomez, Salmon-Negron, a student pilot, and another man were aboard when the plane ran into engine trouble. All four men exited the plane and were rescued except for Salmon-Negron whose body was found two months later in Setauket Harbor.

    Yesenia D'Alessandro via AP

    Following the “forced aircraft sea landing” crash, Gomez surrendered his Federal Aviation Administration-issued Certified Flight Instructor certification. Subsequently, his certification expired in June 2016, court papers say.

    In 2017, FAA investigators reviewed the pilot logbooks of two flight students, at which point it was discovered that Gomez had provided 30 flight lessons to the students in 2016 and 2017, all while he no longer had FAA certification, prosecutors say.

    In June 2017, Gomez was interviewed by FAA investigators and admitted providing the flight lessons without the required certification, court papers say.

    Gomez appeared in federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon and was released on a $200,000 bond, according to prosecutors.

    James Darrow, attorney for Gomez, had no comment.

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