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No formal charges filed against helicopter pilot accused of buzzing cars

Thomas Vorstman arrested in August


OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Formal charges will not be filed against a helicopter pilot who was arrested in August after deputies said they spotted him flying just a few feet above cars traveling in the area of West U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.

Deputies said Thomas Vorstman was so close to the cars that if a passenger van or semitruck were traveling in the same direction, there would have been a collision with the helicopter.

State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s office earlier this month, however, filed a “no information” in the case against Vorstman, 

In August, Osceola County deputies waited for Vorstman at the helicopter air pad, but when he returned he refused to exit the aircraft. Deputies said due to safety concerns, they were not able to approach him.

Vorstman reportedly took off in the helicopter but returned five minutes later and met with deputies.

Vorstman told deputies he'd "had a heavy load," which was why he was flying so low over traffic, but the owner of the company, Orlando HeliTours, told deputies their pilots have procedures that contradicted Vorstman's actions.

Vorstman was arrested and charged with operating an aircraft in a reckless manner without violence and was booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Vorstman was also terminated from the company.

John Mollica, a manager of the Fallen Sparrow tattoo shop next door, has taken a tour in the same helicopter and says he's never a close call like that one.

"I wouldn't go on it again," he said. "It's just carelessness. We hear it, we see it. We just have never seen it that low before."

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office said it notified the FAA of the incident.

It's not know if Vorstman still has his commercial pilot's certificate, which was issued in April.


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