According to a report by KSL.com, on 10 September 2007, Dell Schanze, former owner/operator of Totally Awesome Computers flew his powered paraglider across the bow — within feet — of a tour boat on the Great Salt Lake.
The Island Serenade is a tour boat that sails in the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake around sunset. The cruises are billed as “peaceful and beautiful.” On Friday night the cruise was disrupted by someone who told KSL he wasn’t breaking any laws — someone who’s been in trouble for “inappropriate” use of his powered paraglider before. (Last summer he pleaded no contest to public nuisance charges for flying his paraglider along I-15 during morning rush hour. The FAA has issued Schanze a warning letter from the paragliding incident last year. See photo to the left.)
According to witness statements, Friday night, just as the Island Serenade set sail with 43 people on board, an “ultralight glider” swooped down in front of the boat.
“This thing would buzz across and bank in front of us, turn and come behind us, and came back from behind,” this boat’s captain, Clint Baty, said. The captain says the ultralight made four or five passes and was gone within a couple of minutes. “I felt like he was endangering the boat and the people in it.” (See photos to the right.)
KSL checked checked court records and found that Schanze’s probation from two misdemeanor cases both expired in the last few weeks.
The next step from the FAA could be a fine or an order keeping Schanze on the ground.
Ultralights are covered under Part 103 of Federal Aviation Regulations.
§103.9 Hazardous operations. (a) No person may operate any ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons or property.
What can you do to help?
If you would like to petition the Utah Attorney General or FAA to keep Dell Schanze on the ground, please use these addresses:
- Office of the Attorney General, PO Box 142320, SLC UT 84114-2320
- Davis County Sherriff, 800 West State St., Farmington UT 84025
- Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20591
- Salt Lake City Flight Standards District Office (FDSO), 1020 North Flyer Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84116-2959