A suicidal man led F-16’s on a chase across six states Monday, flying a stolen plane from a Canadian flight school to Ellsinore, Mo. He was arrested after hitching a ride to a convenience store. Yavuz Berke a/k/a Adam Leon, hoped the military would shoot him down. The wish wasn’t granted.
Thanks go to those asleep at the switch at Confederation college in Ontario: “Apparently, somebody jumped over the fence and just jumped into an aircraft,” Judi Maundrell, the college’s vice president of academics said. “It was sitting as usual parked on the ramp. The keys are in all the aircraft because students are using them.”
Way to go.
Many Americans still believe light aircraft are a threat. Why else would they evacuate the Wisconsin State capital when this happened? Truth be told, you can do far more damage with a truck full of fertilizer (remember Oklahoma City)? Trucks can easily access most areas of the United States but regrettably 9/11 irrevocably linked aviation and terrorism. If you measure potentially damaging moving mass, a semi weighs 80,000 pounds. A Cessna 172 weighs in at a spritely 2,500.
This is a rare event and we need to keep it that way. According to the AOPA, only six aircraft were stolen in 2006, compared to 1.2 million vehicles. Wait and see how many jump on the bandwagon to further restrict general aviation, whatever their motives. It was the pretext Mayor Daley used to shut down Meigs Field in Chicago. So fellow pilots: Let’s keep ‘em locked, report suspicious activity and tell your friends that the only thing to fear is fear itself. (Ok that last part was from FDR’s inaugural speech but it still works). General Aviation supports our country in many great ways.