Published February 26, 2017
Part 5 of 9
This is part five of a nine part series will illuminating the FAA’s complacency and the role the FAA’s concession played in the violence against Water Protectors.
Arnold Johnson Jr. of Mina, South Dakota owns a yellow Bell Ranger 206B helicopter employed to fly over the camps. Ultimately, Johnson is responsible for the activities of the aircraft because can refuse assignments at anytime. In spite of FAA regulations to the contrary, Johnson decided the public had no right to know he was the owner of the aircraft buzzing the camps.
In order to obscure his ownership, Johnson changed the tail number on his aircraft.
A yellow Bell Ranger 206B was easily photographed while flying low over the camps on September 8 – 9, 2016 flying with the tail number N10767.
Checking the FAA tail number registry showed N10767 is the number of a Piper fixed wing, single engine airplane; not a helicopter. The Piper airplane was registered to Kansa Development Corporation Inc, in Junction City, Kansas.
“…a person shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both, if the person – (3) knowingly and willfully displays or causes to be displayed on an aircraft a mark that is false or misleading about the nationality or registration of the aircraft”
A complaint was filed with the FAA. The FAA determined the further action was warranted and confirmed that compliance action had been taken.
Johnson justified his choice to falsify his tail number to investigators when he said, “this was due to threats made against registered owners of aircraft being flown supporting law enforcement during the oil pipeline protests near Bismarck, North Dakota.”
Johnson’s helicopter’s tail number is N16757 and it has been seen over the camps at all hours of the day and night for the months since the “compliance action.”
LaRae Meadows is a freelance writer, who has been embedded at Standing Rock.
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