Strange But True General Aviation News Archive

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, July 26th, 2013

 General aviation as a crime fighting tool. Kevin Weber, owner of  Weber Farms near Quincy, Wash., and a pilot, was a man with a problem — someone had stolen his dump truck and trailer. His solution? After receiving an anonymous tip, he got in his aircraft and flew over an area near Grand Coulee and saw his truck and trailer in the yard of a man who had worked for him four years ago, reports the Yakima Herald. The man was arrested and the equipment was returned.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a drone?  Some pranksters in the San Francisco Bay Area decided to have fun with drivers by posting signs saying “Speed Enforced By Drones,” reports CBS San Francisco. The California Highway Patrol confirmed that the signs are fake, but that they were done very professionally.

Speaking of drones… Florida’s Highway 98 near Panama City was shut down for 24 hours after an Air Force QF-4 drone crashed and exploded, reports Flying magazine . No one was hurt in the explosion.

Put the camera away. National Geographic freelance aerial photographer George Steinmetz was arrested and charged with trespassing after he was caught photographing a feedlot, reports Huffington Post.

Fake pilot, real flying. A man going by the name of Alex Coussirat was arrested by the FBI after it was discovered he was flying helicopters for Mercy Flight Central in the Syracuse area for eight months — without an airman’s certificate, reports Coussirat is actually John M. Dial, a former military pilot unable to get a certificate because of his criminal record.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, July 19th, 2013

It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a metal clipboard! Gus Binos of  Long Island, N.Y., is still reeling from seeing a metal object that fell from the sky and hit the ground a few feet from where he was standing, reports NBC New York. The object turned out to be a metal clipboard that had flight patterns and navigation guidelines for flying through the Hudson River corridor and around the Statue of Liberty, and a runway map of MacArthur Airport.

Can’t we all play nicely. Youths in Australia thought it would be fun to destroy a 100,000-piece Lego helicopter worth $23,000 that was on display at a local mall, reports the New York Post. It took Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught  six weeks to build the helicopter. The youths fled after destroying the model.

Tagged — you’re it. A Learjet valued at $2.3 million was spray painted with gang-related graffiti as it sat at Van Nuys Airport, reports CBS Los Angeles. The damage is estimated to be $100,000.

Flying with Frank Sinatra. Arik Kislin, a businessman in Kings Point, N.Y., has donated a Gulfstream II business jet previously owned by Frank Sinatra to the Western Suffolk BOCES aviation maintenance program, reports Newsday. The students will use the aircraft for training.

Fake monk? No… Last week we reported an item about Thai Buddhist monks flying on a private jet, wearing expensive sunglasses and carrying Louis Vuitton bags.  The monk carrying the Vuitton bad turns out to be a fake monk who is allegedly married and having relationships with seven other women Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations told the Daily Mail.

A sad end. The first aircraft with the Air Force One designation — a 1948 a Lockheed VC-121 Constellation 48-610 used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower – is now decaying away in a field at Marana Regional Airport, reports the Air Force Times. The aircraft’s caretaker is looking for a museum willing to spend $200,000 restore it.

All’s well that ends well. Two skydivers and their pilot managed to escape from their aircraft right before it crashed into some trees in Auckland, New Zealand, reports A pilot and his passenger made a successful landing in a field across the street from New Jersey’s Blairstown Airport, reports Aliosman A. Bilukbash of Sciota, Pa., made an emergency landing in a field near a bank just outside Braden Airpark in Forks Township, Pa., reports the Pocono Record.

We’ll end the week with this YouTube clip of plane spotters at RAF Waddington in England getting quite a scare after a Eurofighter Typhoon came dangerously close the the spectators during a recent air show. Enjoy!

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Let’s fly Con Air! Officials from New Zealand’s Corrections Department spent $6500 to fly some prisoners on a day trip  from Christchurch to Blenheim by private aircraft to appear in a court trial, reports The journey is usually four hours in a truck.

Now landing – the iPad. Pilot Raymond Cody watched as the instrument panel in his cockpit malfunction and his navigation system give out, so what did he do? He called the Transportation Security Administration’s customer service hotline, where an agent was able to walk him through landing at Colorado’s Grand Junction Regional Airport using his iPad, reports Huffington Post.

Next time, rent an aircraft. Joe Barbera had to be rescued from a tree 40 feet in the air after he tried to fly 268 miles in a lawn chair carried by balloons in an attempt to break a world record, reports Northwest Cable News.

Justin Bieber, monkeying around… Pop sensation Justin Bieber kept a private jet chartered take him from Miami to Burbank, Calif., waiting for eight hours. Why? He had chartered a helicopter earlier in the day to fly him to from Miami to West Palm Beach to search for his pet monkey, reports the New York Daily News.

Don’t monks take a vow of poverty? Photos of three Thai monks — one wearing flashy sunglasses, one wearing headsets and one with a Louis Vuitton bag — sitting on a private jet have gone viral, reports the Global Post.  So much for that vow…

Do the crime, do the time. 48-year-old Michael Paul Gallanter and 31-year-old Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute after being caught with 200 pound of marijuana and other drugs in a Piper PA28 after making a refueling stop at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, reports

This may have been overkill.  Flying magazine has posted a video showing a flight instructor and student in a Robinson R22 helicopter who decided to descend and rescue a P-51 scale model that had crashed into a tree — and filmed the rescue. So now the debate is on — was this a smart thing to do?

All’s well that ends well. A couple walked away after having to make an emergency landing in a corn field near Camas, Wash., after their aircraft lost power, reports Oregon Live. Howard Lowden managed to land his Beechcraft Travel Air, without landing gear, at Georgia’s Rowan County Airport, reports the Rome News-Tribune.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Didn’t it use Jet A fuel? Residents in Lagos, Nigerian suburb Igando came out in droves to take photos of a Aero Commander 1121B jet mysteriously parked at a pump at the Dapsey Oil gas station, reports the Guardian Nigeria. The aircraft was allegedly last owned by Gabriel Oduyemi World Crusade Ministry.

Iron Maiden vocalist’s new venture takes off. Iron Maiden front man and licensed pilot Bruce Davidson has received $8 million to help fund his new venture: an aircraft maintenance business, Cardiff Aviation Limited, reports  Dickinson has also flown the heavy metal band’s tour jet.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a bicycle? The FBike, a proof-of-concept hybrid bicycle/multi-copter, has flown for the first time via radio control, reports AvWeb. The aircraft, which has lithium-polymer batteries powering six electric motors together capable of producing 50 kW of power, was created by Czech engineers and designers.

An amazing helicopter rescue. Two teens stranded on a 8,600-foot-high cliff in California’s Sierra Buttes had to be rescued by a helicopter operated by the California Highway Patrol’s Valley Division Air Operations, reports the Sacramento Bee.

A not-so-amazing helicopter rescue. High winds in Waiehu, Hawaii, stopped a helicopter from completing the salvage of a Piper Cherokee that had landed in the brush, reports the Maui News.  With winds of up to 25 mph, the damaged aircraft was cut from the helicopter’s line and fell into the ocean.

Emergency landings. Pilot Joseph Burch found himself stuck in brush and small trees after he was unable to stop his aircraft after landing at Cavanaugh Bay Airstrip in Coolin, Texas, reports the Bonner County Daily Bee. A small aircraft was forced to do a belly landing at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, causing five airplanes to divert to Bakersfield Municipal Airport, reports the Fresno Bee.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, June 21st, 2013

A simple limousine pales in comparison. High school senior Adam Ventimiglia felt a plain old limousine wasn’t quite good enough as transport for his prom date, Adrianne White.He took her for a pre-prom ride in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, reports the Windsor Star.

Flying and drinking just don’t mix, part one. Pilot Phillip Yves Lavoie is facing up to 15 years in prison after being arrested for flying while intoxicated, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Lavoie was flying a Cessna 210 on a cargo mission for Flight Express from Charleston, S.C., and managed to land at Tampa International Airport.

Flying and drinking just don’t mix, part two. Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee has ruled that the crash of a helicopter that killed three was caused by its pilot, who was drunk, allowing one of his drunken passengers to fly the aircraft, reports the Daily Mail.

You would think they’d find a better place for this.  Some residents in Denton, Texas, are upset with a new business that’s moved into the neighborhood —, reports KEYE-TV. The company allows customers to take 15 minutes to test and challenge their marksmanship skills by flying through various obstacles while shooting from a helicopter.

I guess an axe just didn’t cut it. Power company Entergy Arkansas rented a helicopter air saw, a giant, 10-blade saw connected below a helicopter, to cut trees away from power lines knocked down in storms, reports KARK-TV.

We love a good landing!  A pilot and his passenger managed to walk away from the emergency landing of a Diamond Eclipse while practicing takeoffs and landings out of Ohio’s Bellefontaine Regional Airport, reports WHIO-TV.  The aircraft lost power and performed a soft field emergency landing.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Release the crabs!! The New York Police Department’s aviation unit used a helicopter and night vision goggles to pursue four men trying to take 200 horseshoe crabs out of Sheepshead Bay, reports the New York Times.  The police arrested two of the four suspects.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Two unusual landings. School children at Brevard Elementary School in North Carolina got quite a show when a Cessna 182 made an emergency landing on their soccer field, reports the Rocky Mount Telegram. The children at Chairville Elementary School in Medford, Pa., got a similar thrill when a Marine CH-46E helicopter landed at their school, reports

Good thing no one was home. A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing right at the door of a home in Eatonville, Wash., reports  The pilot said he was trying to avoid a rain squall.

Any landing is a good landing.  The pilot of a Beechcraft BE55 was forced to do a belly landing at John Wayne Airport reports the Newport Beach Patch. The pilot was was uninjured, but the airport was forced to close a runway for about an hour.

Drugs and rock ‘n roll? I’m shocked (not)! The original members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath recently admitted that during their heyday in the 1970s they had cocaine flown to them via private planes, reports The List.

We’ll end the week with this new Embraer video — Legacy 500 – “The Unbelievable” – starring action star and company ambassador Jackie Chan. Enjoy!

Strange But True General Aviation News

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Do the crime, do the time.  Stephen Paul Riley of Olney, Texas, is facing 10 years of hard time for shooting several times at a crop-dusting aircraft that flew over his property, reports WFAA-TV.  Olney had threatened to shoot any aircraft flying over his ranch.

Maybe a catching a ride on a different private jet might have been wise. Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla has found herself in hot water after taking trips to Venezuela and Peru on the private jet of Gabriel Morales Fallon, a Colombian who is suspected to be linked to drug trafficking, reports the Raw Story. She blamed the flight on a “chain of lapses.”

Somebody needs to write a check.  The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says two hoax rescue calls cost $20,000 and wasted resources, reports the Herald Sun.  The first call was about an aircraft crashing off the coast of Perth, while call two was about a pilot crashing into a tree.

Let’s go to the video tape! A botanist who experienced a serious leg injury during research had to be rescued by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s helicopter crew, reports LA Observed. One of the helicopter’s crew recorded the rescue.

It’s always good when you can walk away.  And 84-year-old pilot walked away with minor injuries after an emergency landing of his Cessna 170, reports Livermore Patch.  Another pilot survived after his Tiger Moth biplane crashed just short of the runway at Lyden Airport, reports KBOI-TV.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

I guess that’s one way to get rid of bees.  A helicopter in Pima County, Ariz.’s Search and Rescue Deputies was used to rescue hikers being attacked by bees, reports KVOA-TV.   The helicopter flew down to 50 feet to blow the bees away from the hikers.

Here’s a novel way to save your crops from frost!  Canadian apple farmer Phil Lyall paid a helicopter to fly over his grove of 10,000 trees to keep temperatures above freezing during a recent cold snap, reports the Telegraph.  He told the CBC that he could have lost 10 percent of his harvest if temperatures fell below 32 degrees F.

He went from high to low.  Police in Albuquerque, N.M., arrested Steven Acton at Double Eagle Airport after being caught with 41 lbs of very high-grade marijuana, reports KOB-TV.  The drugs were valued at $205,000.

Bison vs. helicopters. As soon as Montana’s Department of Livestock began its annual bison-hazing operations west of Yellowstone National Park using helicopters, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies asked for a temporary injunction to stop the practice, reports the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

That toy could have done some damage.  The FBI questioned a Chinese student studying in the U.S. after he crashed a radio-controlled airplane near the Public Service Electric & Gas Bridgeport Harbor Generating Station, reports UPI.  After asking to retrieve his plane, a security guard said no and called the FBI.

Just carry a current driver’s license! Troubled actress Amanda Bynes was not allowed to fly on a private jet from Teterboro to Los Angeles after not being able to produce identification, reports the New York Daily News.  She allegedly told the pilot to Google her after she tried to show him an expired driver’s license as ID.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, May 24th, 2013

You never know where you’ll find love!  A swan named Whooper has been searching for a new mate for two years after losing his partner, but one must question his new choice. Whooper has fallen in love with a dark grey Eurocopter EC155, reports the Daily Mail.  The swan has had its wings clipped for its own safety after approaching the helicopter every time it lands near the  Les Mielles Golf and Country Club on the Channel Island of Jersey.

Flying car didn’t live up to its name.  Two pilots sustained minor injuries after crashing a Maverick, a powered parachute/car built in Florida, reports AvWeb.  AvWeb Editor Russ Niles was scheduled to fly the craft next.

Wasn’t the accident enough?  It was bad enough when pilot Kelly Thompson had to make an emergency landing on a road adjacent to Cottonwood Municipal Airport. But now, after a joint investigation by the FAA and the Cottonwood Police Department, Thompson is being charged with operating an airplane without a proper license, operating a not-airworthy aircraft, and reckless aircraft operations, reports the Verde Independent.

He’s taking on the FAA.  Pilot Keith George has decided to challenge the FAA’s proposed 180-day suspension to his commercial pilot’s certificate because of an emergency landing he did on Wisconsin’s Interstate 94, reports the Journal Times.  The FAA charged George with four counts related to the incident, including operating his aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of another after he allegedly overshot the runway on a normal landing, turning the event into an emergency.

What was he hiding? Singer/actor Marc Anthony’s private jet was delayed from leaving Mexico’s Veracruz International Airport after he tried to avoid a customs check, reports Latino Daily News. The singer was asked to deplane and go through the airport security checkpoint and refused. His jet was held until he complied.

Eye in the sky. The West Vancouver Police Department and the Squamish Royal Canadian Mounted Police have a new weapon in catching speeders – the RCMP’s regional traffic patrol helicopter, Air One.  The two departments recently teamed together to catch eight speeders posted speed limit on the Sea to Sky Highway, reports the Province.

Justice scales and a helicopter?  A statue of Lady Liberty sitting atop Ohio’s Marion County Courthouse was holding more than a set of scales.  In addition to the scales, Lady Justice is also holding a 9-inch, remote-control helicopter, reports FOX News.  The owner, video producer Terry Cline, has been trying to get the helicopter back, to no avail.

It’s a highway, it’s a runway! A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing on highway U.S. 50 in Delta, Colo., reports the Montrose Press.  The pilot told local police that his single engine aircraft experienced a power failure.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Monday, May 20th, 2013

This was a test. It was only a test.  Police in Loxford, Australia, have stopped their search for the wreckage of an airplane crash after determining it was only helicopter training in the area, reports the Newcastle Herald.

It was a crash party.  Olympia, Wash.-based Aircare Solutions Group celebrated the completion of its eighth full-motion aircraft cabin simulator by simulating several crash landing scenarios, reports the News Tribune.  Company executives, staff and other businesses who helped build the simulator were allowed to test the simulators and held a barbecue lunch after to discuss their experiences.

Unusual landings. A pilot* was not injured after making an emergency landing and having his aircraft flip several times before landing upside down in the grass off the side of the runway at Connecticut’s Meriden-Markham Airport, reports the Record-Journal.   Pilot David Windmiller was forced to land his aerobatic airplane on a Long Island, N.Y., highway after experiencing engine trouble, reports the New York Daily News.
*Correction: AOPA incorrectly identified the pilot who performed the emergency landing at Meriden-Markham Airport as Jeffrey Standel. Standel, who is  a pilot, was not flying the aircraft; he had ridden his bike to the airport and was a bystander mentioned in the article. 

Drones hunt pigs, deliver marriage proposal. Electrical engineers Cy Brown and James Palmer are using camera-mounted drones to hunt and kill feral pigs causing damage to land in Louisiana, reports ARS Technica.  Photographer Jason Muscat used an RC helicopter camera and mounted an engagement ring to propose to his now-fiancee in San Francisco, reports Peta Pixel.

It was the least he could do.  Actor Charlie Sheen sent a private jet to pick up his ex-wife Denise Richards in New York on Mother’s Day so that she could get home to Los Angeles in time to take their daughters to school the next day, reports Richards currently has temporary custody of Sheen’s twin boys with ex-wife Brooke Mueller.