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When is one too old to pilot a jet?

Mexico Singers Plane _Nost
Age is relative, I guess, depending on one’s chosen field of work. It’s become a cliché to say 65 is the new 50, and so on.

But the stories about the fiery aircraft accident that killed singer Jenni Rivera certainly bring this issue to the fore. The pilot of the LearJet 25 was 78 years old, within weeks of his 79th birthday.

Mexic Jenni Rivera_NostWas he capable of flying the small executive jet? Probably. Should he have been carrying passengers? That’s where questions arise. In the United States, 65 would be the cutoff age.

Papers found amid the wreckage of the craft showed that pilot Miguel Perez Soto was born on Jan. 21, 1934, and had a restricted license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority that allowed him only to fly by day and not by instruments.

“Not valid for the carriage of persons or property for corporation or hire or for agricultural aircraft,” the FAA document says (AP photo above).

Turns out that Perez Soto also had a Mexican license that did permit him to fly at night and carry passengers. The LearJet 25 crashed around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, heading into a nosedived from an altitude of 28,000 feet and hitting a 9,000-foot-high mountain in Nuevo Leon state.

The pilot’s age is not the only controversy surrounding the flight. The LearJet 25 is registered to Starwood Management LLC of Las Vegas, which it turns out is controlled by Christian Eduardo Esquino Nunez, who was indicted for cocaine smuggling in 1993 in Florida and has been accused of doctoring flight records in the sale of aircraft.

Esquino Nunez was also implicated in a plot to bring Moammar Ghaddafy’s son to Mexico last year.


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Pink Schnoid

I knew it was only a matter of time before some smuggling connectyion was made between the plane and drugs, especially bcause the plane was so old, it probably ferried lots of blow back in the day...

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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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