Strange But True General Aviation News Archive

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Let’s go to the video tape! A pilot with GoPro cameras on the exterior of his Bradley BA100 light sport aircraft had no idea what he was about to film his own emergency landing, reports Flying magazine. The engine of his BA100 lost power after taking off from Skylark Airport in Killeen, Texas, hitting a tree 20 feet in the air, but the pilot was not injured.

I’ll take a runway and a jumbo Coke, please. Jerome Orlando was forced to make an emergency landing next to a Wawa convenience store in Fredericksburg, Va., after his piston aircraft ran low on fuel, reports WTVR-TV. He landed about a half a mile away from Shannon Airport.

It was a sea plane rescue. A pilot was rescued by two seaplane pilots headed to Miami after being forced to ditch his Cessna 150 into the Atlantic Ocean due to engine trouble, reports

Survived a lake landing. Four people aboard a Cessna 172B managed to swim away after their engine lost power and the pilot made an emergency landing into Oregon’s Marion Lake in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, reports KVAL-TV.

It was a wheels-up landing. A Beechcraft Bonanza carrying a pilot and a passenger was forced to make an emergency landing at  Pennsylvania’s Bedford County Airport after having trouble with the nose gear, reports the Tribune-Democrat.

A simple skydive just wasn’t enough. Daredevil Anthony Martin’s latest stunt was to free himself from shackles and a locked casket — as he was dropped from an aircraft, reports Houston’s ABC13. He escaped and landed in a field in Northern Illinois.

Strange but true aviation news

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A human photographer might have been the better choice. This Gizmodo video shows what happens when a bridal couple chose a quadcopter and a GoPro video camera to shoot a scene at their wedding.

Speaking of drones… The Washington Post offers this story about how drones have become part of the movie making process. Films including “Skyfall,” “Oblivion,” “Man of Steel,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” and “The Hunger Games” have used footage filmed by drones.

Interesting stunt. WGN9 News took footage of a stuntman who jumped from an aircraft — while locked in a coffin.  The full story is here.

This is a test. This is only a test. Comux, British Columbia’s fire department recently did a training exercise that simulated a small aircraft crash, reports The exercise was done in advance of the Comux Air Show, which happened Aug. 17.

Helicopter rescue. Two women were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue crew from a cliff after getting stuck on a cliff at Oregon’s Chapman Point, reports the Daily Astorian.

Hard landings. Two people aboard a Beechcraft BE76 walked away after the nose gear of their aircraft collapsed when landing at San Diego’s Gillespie Field, reports UT San Diego. An 85-year-old man from Bay City. Mich., walked away after making an emergency landing in a cornfield near Zehnder Airfield, reports

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, August 16th, 2013

That was close. An RAF fighter pilot flying a Tornado missed hitting a glider by a mere 100 feet only after executing an inverted loop at 500 mph, reports the Independent. The pilot was doing refueling and weaponry exercises.

Do we pay for the fuel too? Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko plans to ask the U.S. Export-Import Bank for financing to buy 11 business jets, reports Reuters. He reportedly wants to place the jets in his Finland-based luxury jet charterer, Airfix Aviation Oy.

Amazing landings. Pilot  Fred Newman Jr. was able to walk away from an emergency landing 900 feet short of the runway at Tupelo Airport, reports the Lee County Courier. John Principe landed his Cessna Skyhawk on New Hampshire’s Interstate 89 after experiencing engine problems.

Up in smoke. Two gentlemen building an ultralight aircraft in his Jefferson, La., garage saw their work completely destroyed after their garage caught fire, reports WGNO-TV. The fire department is investigating the cause of the blaze.

You play, you pay. Gary Bojczak will have to pay an FCC fine of $32,000 fine after the agency determined he used an illegal GPS jamming device in his pickup truck that interfered with Newark Liberty International Airport’s satellite-based tracking system, reports The man was allegedly using the device to hide from his employer.

Hooray! An airport wedding! After facing several hurdles from the city, Karen Engle and Kevin Holcomb were finally able to get married at Bay City’s James Clements Airport, reports WNEM.


Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Drone delivery! Some dry cleaning customers in Philadelphia are having their garments delivered in an unusual way — via a drone, reports NBC 10 Philadelphia. Harry Vartanian, owner of the Manayunk Cleaners owner is using the drone to avoid city traffic.

No target practice, please. A helicopter pilot called Iowa’s Boone County Sheriff’s Office after he claimed he was shot at while crop dusting a corn field, reports the Des Moines Register. A suspect questioned at the scene denied firing the shots.

Look away from the light! A general aviation pilot flying out of Denver International Airport reported that a green laser light hit his cockpit twice, reports

Emergency landings. Pilot Fred Newman Jr. was forced to make an emergency landing at Tupelo Regional Airport after falling short of the runway, reports WTVA-TV. Northeast Philadelphia Airport was closed for a short time after an aircraft skidded off the runway and into the grass, reports Finally, pilot William DeNike landed his Cessna Skylane, carrying three passengers, safely at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport despite not being able to put down his landing gear, reports

Strange but true general aviation news: The helicopter edition

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Some copters are better than others. While the South African Air Force’s fleet of Agusta 109 helicopters remain grounded due to a lack of funds to operate them, helicopters used for President Jacob Zuma and other VIPs remain flying, reports Business Day Live.

A whole new meaning to the word chopper. Cleveland’s FirstEnergy has hired South Carolina-based Rotor Blade to use helicopters with aerial saws to trim trees near high-voltage transmission lines, reports

Helicopters as targets. A pilot flying for Iowa-based Vista Helicopter says someone shot at him while he was crop dusting a corn field, reports the Des Moines Register. A suspect has been identified, but not arrested. A 37-year-old pilot faces jail time for allegedly shooting up a helicopter at a remote mining camp in Dease Lake, B.C., reports the Edmonton Journal.

Helicopter rescues, part one. Vancouver, Canada’s North Shore Rescue was called to save a man who got stranded on a narrow cliff ledge on one of Burke Mountain’s trails, reports North Shore News. A California Highway Patrol helicopter was used to help with the search and rescue of a lost mountain biker Saturday in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, reports the Napa Valley Register.

Helicopter rescues, part two. A helicopter operated by Solent Coastguard’s search and rescue manages to pull a fisherman out of the waters off the Isle of Wight after his boat sank, reports Portsmouth U.K.’s The News. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter was used to rescue four migrants who jumped off a cliff west of Rio Rico, Mexico.,  while trying to enter the United States, reports Nogales International.



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.