A pilot arrested Wednesday after crashing into a piece of equipment at Melbourne International Airport faces charges of operating an airplane while intoxicated and endangering his passenger, his young son.
Christopher John Hall never made it off the ground Wednesday, thanks in part to air traffic controllers who noticed something was wrong well before the plane could take off.
Hall, 57, walked out of the Brevard County Jail after posting a $4,000 bond Thursday morning. He said very little as he was rushed to his car.
Airport police arrested Hall on charges of reckless operation of an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol, as well as child abuse, because his preteen son was with him on his two-engine Cessna Skymaster.
Investigators said Hall and his son were preparing to fly Wednesday afternoon, but according to air traffic recordings, Hall wasn't listening to instructions.
"OK, 32 Mike, where are you going, sir?" the air traffic control tower asked Hall, referring to his plane's registration number. "Skymaster 32 Mike, is everything all right, sir? I didn't tell you to move."
Eventually, the air traffic controller became concerned, noting Hall's speech was slurred when he responded.
"Skymaster 32 Mike, I haven't given you any instructions of any kind, sir. Hold your position," the controller said. "Refile your IFR flight plan, and call me when you're ready for it and ready to taxi."
Finally, the controller told Hall to kill his engines.
Hall's plane ended up clipping a communications equipment building at the northwest corner of the airport, near a fence. Neither Hall, nor his son were injured.
Airport police said Hall refused to take a breath test, but noted his breath smelled of alcohol.
An airport official said air traffic was not shut down Wednesday, since the incident did not take place on a main runway.
The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate the incident.
The Cessna was listed as registered to Hall's home address under a company name Wireless Systems Engineering Inc., expiring in 2018.