Grounded Kenai flier accuses FAA of vendetta; MAVRIK AIRE: Owner says he's a target because his father defied the federal government.

A Kenai air charter owner who lost his aviation licenses last month says the government came after him because he's the son of the imprisoned leader of the Montana Freemen, who held U.S. marshals at bay for 81 days in 1996. Craig Schweitzer...


Hill, the retired FAA inspector, said Schweitzer ignored important safety rules that were developed and "written in blood" when other pilots died.

"You start overloading an aircraft and then it becomes an unstable machine," Hill said. "This has caused a lot of wrecks."

Likewise, he said, the FAA takes potential drinking problems seriously.

Other problems that Hill said he identified were Schweitzer's flying despite his lack of certification, and his failure to schedule flight checks or training for his pilots. "I tried to work with Craig to keep him out of trouble, but every time I turned around there was another problem," he said.

Schweitzer also has problems with his neighbors at a North Kenai air park subdivision. He runs his business from there, and neighbors say he sued the homeowner's association in an attempt to unduly control airplane access to a floatplane basin and restrict them as potential charter competitors.

Schweitzer responded Friday that his property came with an easement allowing his planes use of the area and he's just trying to maintain that right.

Neighbor Bill Woodin, who operates an air taxi service in King Salmon, said he believes Schweitzer uses the specter of costly legal battles to control others or their properties.

"What Craig Schweitzer has done is he tries to bully and intimidate people and rides his father's coattails, and says, 'If you don't follow my way of thinking I'm going to sue you.' "

Regarding the FAA action, Woodin said he and other charter operators who follow the rules thought it long overdue.

The air park case is scheduled for a Kenai trial in October.

Find Brandon Loomis online at adn.com/contact/bloomis.

INSIDE

LEROY SCHWEITZER: The father of the Alaska aviator is serving a 22-year sentence.

Back Page

Leroy Schweitzer and the Montana Freemen

Craig Schweitzer's father is Leroy Schweitzer, right, a former leader in a militia group called the Montana Freemen, which claimed its members were not subject to U.S. courts.

Leroy Schweitzer is serving a 22-year prison sentence for convictions including conspiracy, bank fraud, filing a false federal tax claim and threatening to kidnap and kill a federal judge. His arrest in March 1996 triggered an 81-day standoff at a ranch near Jordan, Mont., between other members of the group and the FBI.

We Recommend