Federal authorities are expected to dismiss the case against a Piedmont Airlines pilot accused of bringing a loaded handgun aboard a flight he piloted from the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport in May.
The pilot, Brett Dieter, 52, of Barboursville, is charged with attempting to carry a weapon or explosive on an aircraft. At a July 12 hearing in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, N.Y., federal authorities indicated their intent to drop their case.
According to a report from The Buffalo News, at last week’s hearing, the prosecution and the defense indicated that the Transportation Security Administration might handle the matter instead through unspecified administrative sanctions. Dieter is not a member of the federal flight deck officer program, which allows pilots to carry firearms aboard aircraft.
Court records show Judge Hugh B. Scott has ordered the case to be dismissed on Aug. 13 if no indictment is filed by that date.
On Tuesday, Dieter’s attorney, Kevin Spitler, declined to comment for this story. Prosecutor Michael McCabe could not be reached for comment. TSA spokesman Kawika Riley said the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
In court documents, authorities gave the following account of the circumstances that led to the charge against Dieter:
“On May 18, a TSA agent at Buffalo Niagara International Airport noticed a handgun in Dieter’s carry on baggage during an X-ray screening. Upon further questioning, Dieter acknowledged the gun, a .357 magnum Smith & Wesson revolver, was his, and told authorities that he left it in his bag after a personal trip. Authorities say that Dieter made seven flights over two days with the gun in his bag, including one on May 16 that departed from CHO.”
Dieter was freed on bond following his initial court appearance. It was not clear on Tuesday if he still works for Piedmont Airlines. A phone call for comment to US Airways, Piedmont’s parent company, was not returned.