A flight instructor from Howard Beach that was involved in a forced sea landing in 2016 was arrested for providing flying instructions to student pilots last year without the required certification, officials announced on Wednesday.
Nelson Gomez, 39, was charged in a criminal complaint on Sept. 12 for allegedly instructing flight lessons at Republic National Airport in Farmingdale.
According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 20, 2016, Gomez was the instructor pilot on a flight with three passengers, including 23-year-old Gerson Salmon-Negron of Elmhurst, that made a forced landing in the Setauket Harbor after running out of fuel.
Gomez and two other passengers were rescued from the water following the landing. Salmon-Negron’s body was found two months later, NBC New York reported.
Following the incident, Gomez surrendered his Federal Aviation Administration-issued Certified Flight Instructor certification on May 13, 2016. The certification ultimately expired on June 30, 2016, barring Gomez from conducting student instructions.
The charges say that in 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received a request for a certified flight instructor to provide flight lessons to one of Gomez’s students. Investigator’s reviewed the student’s logbook and found that Gomez had submitted endorsements to provide lessons for this student and another student after he had already surrendered his certification.
Upon reviewing their log books, the FAA discovered that Gomez had allegedly given 30 flight lessons to the two students at Republic Airport between May 9, 2016, and June 24, 2017, without having the proper certification.
Gomez was interviewed by FFA investigators on June 29, 2017 and allegedly admitted to giving the flight lessons without his certification.
Gomez has since been released on a $200,000 bond.