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Tupelo, Mississippi pilot threatening to crash plane into Walmart, police sayA pilot flying a small plane over Tupelo, Mississippi has threatened to crash into a Walmart, authorities warned Saturday. The Tupelo Police Department said it was notified around 5 am this morning that a pilot flying what a "King Air type" airplane was considering the crash landing into a Walmart located on West Main street. Authorities have confirmed the plane, which is believed to have been stolen, is a fixed wing multi-engine 1987 Beech C90A model. (www.foxnews.com) More...
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Update: Sources are now saying pilot has landed and authorities have that person in custody after stealing the plane and threatening to crash in to a local Walmart
The best possible outcome. I’m glad nobody got hurt.
The real story is about a person with mental health issues, but that certainly doesn't grab headlines like a plane crashing, which is what the initial reports on TV news was saying.
A couple of observations. It was reportedly 5am when the flight took place, so I surmise it was more attention getting than anything. To be sure there were people in danger but not like it might have been at noon. The "pilot" clearly had some aviating skills to fly the aircraft and complete a forced landing in a field. I am sure the investigation will reveal a lot.
How does someone steal an airplane? Can't the wheels be locked somehow? Can planes be chained to the floor of a hangar? I assume there is no ignition key, but can't the engine be disabled in some way? Obviously, I'm not a pilot. What could be done?
Airports have security, and the subset of people who want to steal and can actually fly a plane is pretty small.
Suspect the plane was based there in the FBO hangar. It is possible they had a key. Making any modification to the plane would be very difficult if not impossible. There are planes with the same key, for example all aero commanders had only one key that fit all, and that was the same with Aerostar.