FAA: Questions About Aaliyah's Pilot

The Federal Aviation Agency said Wednesday that the pilot of the plane that fatally crashed with Aaliyah and eight others in the Bahamas last Saturday was not authorized to fly the aircraft. The FAA is now investigating why Luis Morales III, 30, who also perished in the tragedy, was at the controls, reports The New York Times. Also on Wednesday, authorities from the Bahamian Department of Civil Aviation, joined by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, were again examining the wreckage of the Cessna 402B, which plummeted into a swamp shortly after takeoff. Several suggestions have been made that the plane was overloaded with heavy video equipment. Questions about Morales’s fitness to fly the plane arose after prosecutors in Florida disclosed that on Aug. 13 he had pleaded no contest to charges of cocaine possession, dealing in stolen property and grand theft, says The Times. He was sentenced to three years probation. Although required to report his sentencing to the FAA within 60 days after it occurred, Morales (who received his pilot’s license in February 2000) had yet to do so, said authorities. As investigators searched for reasons for the crash, plans were being made in New York for a private funeral on Friday for the singer-actress, 22. Manhattan’s Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home and Virgin Records were working out details on Wednesday. A spokesman for Campbell also said that a public memorial for fans would also be held, at a place and time to be announced. The spokesman added that Aaliyah’s family had had a private visitation but there were no plans for a wake.

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