PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A report about the ‘reckless’ flyover at Gulf Coast Jam on Saturday night revealed the dangerous situation faced by law enforcement officers and the leadership of the concert.
The report also revealed that a sniper with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office was watching the plane and that deputies warned the pilot that they were prepared to “take action” if the incident continued.
Robert Ryan Gore, 40, of Destin, is charged with operation of an aircraft while intoxicated or in a careless, reckless manner.
Deputies wrote that at about 8:30 p.m. Gore flew a seaplane below 500 feet over the crowd which numbered more than 20,000. They added that he made a nose dive maneuver towards the crowd and then made a second pass.
He also dropped koozies onto the crowd that contained a website for his business, flythebeach.com and a phone number.
On it’s website the business offers flights for $99 and promises that if you fall in love with flying they can teach you to become a pilot.
Singer Cole Swindell and his band were set to take the stage but the performance was delayed until law enforcement and Gulf Coast Jam Producer Rendy Lovelady felt the situation was safe, Lovelady said Wednesday.
Deputies contacted Tyndall Air Force Base and Northwest Beaches International Airport and confirmed that no one had permission to fly over the crowd.
Deputies then texted the number on the koozie and had this exchange:
BCSO – This is Bay County Sheriff’s Office you need to cease flying over Frank Brown or we will
Pilot – Enjoy the concert didnt meant to bother anybody do you a little recon for coming over to join
Gore then sent deputies a photo of the plane.
During a follow-up on Sunday, deputies called Gore and he refused to meet with them. Instead, he said he “cleared what he did with his attorney and stated he was legal to do what he did in regards with the throwing of the” koozies.
Gore was charged earlier this week. He turned himself in Thursday. News 13 has reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration for comment.