A woman called dispatchers from Butler County Regional Airport and said the pilot was “buzzing the school” and that witnesses, including an administrator, said the plane was 15 feet above the school, close enough so that they could read the numbers on the tail of the plane. The caller also said she was told the pilot has an ex-girlfriend at the high school but did not mention the word threat.
School administrators monitored the plane and placed a call to the airport. The school on New London Road was not evacuated.
“There was a small plane that was flying around the school and neighborhood area. This plane was flying very low but was never even or below the top of the building. However, with as low as the plane was flying, it did cause us concern,” Badin Principal Brian Pendergest wrote in a letter to parents on Thursday.
According to emergency dispatch logs, dispatchers noted that the plane landed at Butler County Regional Airport about 10:15 a.m.
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The log indicates the pilot exited the plane by 10:23 a.m. He found a lot of officers were waiting for him.
Hamilton Sgt. Brian Robinson said the 18-year-old was very cooperative.
“I don’t think he had any clue what had happened,” Robinson said.
He said there had been a previous complaint about the pilot flying low near the school and another one about a low flying plane in another area of Hamilton.
“It will be up to the FAA to decide if there were any violations,” Robinson said. “I do think this will be a life lesson for him.”
The student had earned his pilot license while a student at the high school, according to school officials.
The teen pilot was released from police custody by Thursday afternoon, according to his attorney, Frank Schiavone IV.
“He did not make any threats and there is no evidence that he made any threats,” Schiavone IV said.
Late Thursday afternoon, Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit sent out a news release that said, in part:
“After an exhaustive investigation, we determined there is no evidence of any threat or plan to attack any person or school. The Hamilton Police Department is working with Federal Aviation Administration officials to determine what, if any, violation of Federal Aviation Regulations occurred.”
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