Strange But True Aviation News

Cranky is on vacation, but I’ve lined up some excellent guest bloggers for you while I’m gone. Today I have my old friend Benet Wilson from Aviation Week. Last time she posted her “Strange but True” piece I received good feedback, so she’s back with more.

First—it kills me, but I have to thank Cranky for letting me do a guest post here. I hope he’s having a great time on his honeymoon. So let’s get started.

My sister is a cop in California. She loves to regale me with tales of the stupid stuff people do when trying Benetto avoid police detection or arrest. I was amazed at the stupid stuff people continue to do at airports and onboard flights, so I created “Strange But True Airport News” that used to appear in my now-defunct Towers and Tarmacs blog. I now do “Strange But True Aviation News” at AviationWeek.com’s Things With Wings blog. Below is my take on some of the stranger stories that appeared on my radar this week. If you like what you read, please come over to our blog every Friday afternoon to see me!

You can’t help but wonder “what was he thinking?” Remember Adam Dylan Leon, the guy who stole the Cessna 172 and was allegedly trying to commit suicide? It turns out he was hoping that the F-16 military fighter jets that were following his three-state fly-by would actually shoot him down, reports CBS News. Instead, he landed the aircraft on a Missouri highway and was promptly arrested.

Oh sure—use the `I was on medication’ excuse. Why do people think they can make bad behavior go away by blaming medication? Toronto radio and television medical reporter Colleen Walsh is denying that she had an incident of air rage on a recent Air Canada flight, reports the Star. She asserts she was trying to help a sick passenger when the flight crew overreacted and she acted erratically because of medications and stress. She spent a night in jail and was released on C$2,500 bond.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—in flight. You’ve just got to love the celebrities behaving badly in airports and in flight. I could do an entire column just on super model Naomi Campbell. But I digress. Speaking of super models, the U.K.’s Sarah Hannon recently woke up on a Kingfisher Airlines flight from London to Bangalore in a rage, reports the Sun. Why? She allegedly found her boyfriend Daniel Melia performing a sex act on Clare Irby. No surprise here—an in-flight fight ensued, and all three were arrested. Melia and Irby were charged with gross indecency; Hannon was charged with being drunk on an aircraft.

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta GO! Who knew going to the bathroom could get you arrested? Joao Correa found himself in this very predicament on a recent Delta Air Lines flight from Honduras to Atlanta, reports the Associated Press. Correa had to use the lavatory, but he was blocked by a flight attendant and her beverage cart. She wouldn’t move, and he wasn’t allowed to use the business class lavatory, so somehow he ended up arrested and charged with assault.

What? This *isn’t* Tbilisi International Airport? A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 accidentally landed at a Georgia’s Vaziani military base instead of Tbilisi International Airport, reports Flight. Turns out five other commercial airlines have made the same mistake so far this year.

No license for you!! I did a story in this column about a helicopter pilot caught having sex with a porn start while flying over San Diego. He was caught after a passenger videotaped the incident. Well, now an NTSB administrative law has upheld an FAA order revoking the license of David Martz. The pilot claimed he was more responsible now, but the judge didn’t buy it.

Maybe Nordstrom should have just shipped the clothes. A woman taking an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia was none too happy when she arrived and her baggage – which held $550 in new clothing from Nordstrom – was missing, reports NBC Philadelphia. Turns out that AA baggage supervisor Christopher Shaw had stolen the clothes from her baggage and returned them to the store for cash. He was arrested, charged with multiple counts of theft and fired from the airline.

I will end with an interesting post from our good friends over at the Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Terminal blog. Apparently there’s an abundance of tribute songs to Capt. Sully Sullenberger, 1 of the heroes of the US Airways Flight 1549 Hudson River landing, posted on YouTube. Some are not bad, and some—you just ask why?


Benet Wilson covers business aviation for Aviation Week. She first met Cranky while he was at America West and she at Mesa in 2001. Incredibly, she continues to talk to him. After stints at Rolls-Royce (jet engines) and Delta, she’s now back to her journalistic roots.

3 Responses to Strange But True Aviation News

  1. The Traveling Optimist says:

    Let the fun and factual follies begin!

    The Greatly Inconvenient:
    AA, DFW to SLC. Lost luggage. With the wedding dress. Phone call to Crandall himself. Bag found, wedding on schedule.

    The Greatly Humiliating:
    UA. Qatar Airways. London. Dead member of the Qatar royal family. Flight arrives in Doha to full honors reception. No body. UA left it behind in London.

    The Greatly Gross:
    UA. Not their fault this time. MIA – BUE. Drunk passenger. Upset with the service. His solution? A bowel movement on the First Class serving cart during dinner. Plane pulls over to the nearest airport, drops him off under arrest, bans him for life, sues for damages and wins!

    The Greatest Gaffe:
    AA. Plane pulls from the gate, gets airbone, all things normal. Pilots hear a knock on the door (LONG before 9/11). Passenger standing there: “Anybody around to get us a cup of coffee?” They had left the flight attendants behind.

    And the beat goes on…..

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