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Stolen Aircraft Flight Extended

by John M. White |

Back on April 6th cable television was following a Cessna 172 which had entered U.S. airspace from Canada and several military jets tracked and followed the aircraft until the pilot landed on a highway in Missouri.  Interestingly enough this flight took 7 hours - quite a bit of time to fly without an onboard bathroom. I wonder if he had a pilot's relief tube or some other way.... Oh well, I guess I'm showing my age a bit. In any case the pilot, one Adam Dylan Leon, age 31 was indicted today for interstate transportation of a  stolen aircraft and illegal entry into the U.S.  The Turkish born immigrant (I guess illegal immigrant) was well liked at the flight school in Thunder Bay, Canada where he stole the aircraft from. Upon landing he hitched a ride from a passerby to a store where he sat in a booth drinking a Gatorade until the authorities came and arrested him. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years 6 months in prison for his extended flight. The real problem, I suspect, is that he should have gone to Mexico, become a Mexican citizen, stolen an aircraft there and then flown into New Mexico where they would have welcomed him as a hero. Oh well, poor planning I guess. In other news a 60 year old Continental Airlines pilot on a flight from Brussels to the U.S. died in his pilot's seat while enroute. No problem, the flight had two co-pilots aboard who handled the incident with aplomb landing safely at Newark without alarming the passengers. Continental Pilot Dies Enroute from Brussels to Newark The New York Times, always on top of its stories, headlined the incident as "After Pilot Dies, Jet Lands Safely in Newark". I guess the co-pilots just sat there and watched the Boeing 777 land itself! As a pilot I admire the Captains choice of locations to die. He was lucky, he died doing what he loved right to the very end. May he rest in peace. I always say "If its not Boeing, I'm not going!" Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

Any idiot can get an airplane off the ground, but an aviator earns his keep by bringing it back anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances that man and God can dream up.

— Walter Cunningham, 'The All-American Boys,' 1977.

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