Pilot of 'Third Plane' in Cerritos Disaster Surrenders License
May. 21, 1987
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A pilot who distracted a controller minutes before an Aeromexico jet collided with another plane over Cerritos last year has surrendered his license for a 90-day suspension, federal officials said.
Roland P. Furman, 56, of Buena Park, agreed to the suspension as part of a settlement with the Federal Aviation Administration, agency spokesman Russ Park said Wednesday.
In exchange, the FAA agreed to drop its investigation of Furman, ending a dispute over his involvement in the Aug. 31 collision between the Aeromexico DC-9 and a single-engine plane in which 82 people died.
Aviation officials, who sought a 120-day license suspension, have determined Furman was not a factor in the collision, but they allege he flew into restricted airspace without authorization and was flying in a ''careless or reckless'' manner.
''Mr. Furman continues to adamantly deny that these violations occurred and makes no admissions of any violations of the federal aviation regulations,'' his attorney, George H. Savord, said in a letter to the FAA.
Furman, an engineer for Hughes Aircraft, has declined to comment publicly on the incident.
FAA investigators contend Furman entered the restricted Terminal Control Area around Los Angeles International Airport shortly before the collision and a few miles away.
After a preliminary inquiry, members of the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the crash, said Furman's plane appeared unexpectedly on radar in the control area.
The controller cleared Furman to fly through the control area before his attention returned to Aeromexico Flight 498, which by then had collided with the smaller plane.
The NTSB's final report on the accident is expected to be released this summer.