East Brookfield Man Arrested for Flying Helicopter from Backyard

East Brookfield Man Arrested for Flying Helicopter from Backyard

WORCESTER – An East Brookfield man was arrested on Thursday and charged in federal court in Worcester for flying a helicopter in and out of his backyard more than 50 times last year.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Antonio Santonastaso, 59, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of serving as an airman without an airman certificate and one count of making false statements to federal agents.

Santonastaso operated a Robinson R-22 helicopter [pictured above] – taking off and landing from his backyard – more than 50 times between April 28, 2018 and Nov. 11, 2018.

Santonastaso will appear back in federal court in Worcester on Thursday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revoked Santonastaso’s license to pilot an aircraft in 2000, after he participated in the theft of a helicopter from Norwood Memorial Airport.

FAA inspectors reviewed the path Santonastaso used when taking off and landing from his backyard, and concluded that it was extremely hazardous.

Santonastaso lied to the FAA and federal agents regarding his eligibility to pilot the helicopter and falsely claimed to have not have known that his license was revoked. Additionally, he made false statements regarding his applications for a medical certificate, which is required in order to operate an aircraft.    

Santonastaso faces a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. 

Follow us on The016.com, the social network for Worcester and you!

Recent Headlines

42-year-old Worcester Man Victim of Fatal Stabbing

WORCESTER - A 42-year-old Worcester man was the victim of a fatal stabbing early Friday morning.According to the Worcester Police Department [WPD], a 32-year-old Worcester woman was arrested at the scene. Police have yet to identify both the victim and...

School Committee Member Brian O’Connell Dies at Age 70

WORCESTER - Brian O’Connell, the dean of the Worcester School Committee, died Friday morning. He was 70.O’Connell, a Worcester native and graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, was first elected to the School Committee in 1983 and was seeking his 19th...

Worcester Police Department Seeking Assistance in Auto Theft

WORCESTER – The Worcester Police Department [WPD] is seeking the public’s help in identifying the individual pictured above.According to the WPD this person is a suspect in a motor vehicle theft. If anyone knows him, please send an anonymous text to 274637 TIPWPD +...

Facebook Comments


  • East Brookfield Man Arrested for Flying Helicopter from Backyard 1

    Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Over the past two years, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Previous to that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He is the owner of Sargent Media, LLC and can be contacted at [email protected] or 774-232-1223.