The Greenwood Commonwealth reports the FAA requires pilots to have a valid medical license to fly, but 72-year-old pilot Walter J. Mitchell says he’s exempt because he flies recreationally. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says all pilots must have valid medical certificates to fly unless provided a “special issuance” certificate.
Mitchell was flying a plane with three passengers, including two children, this month when it crashed yards from an airstrip near Vaiden.
Online records say Mitchell is a Tennessee resident most recently certified to fly in January 2006 with a medical certificate that expired in 2002. Mitchell is running for Carroll County’s District 5 supervisor and previously lived in Tennessee.