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Tupelo, Mississippi pilot threatening to crash plane into Walmart, police say

A 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. ( More...

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pilotjag 7
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
Torsten Hoff 6
The best possible outcome. I’m glad nobody got hurt.
gilgraham 5
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.
Andy Cruickshank 4
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.
Lou Richards 4
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?
seacall2 3
Airports have security, and the subset of people who want to steal and can actually fly a plane is pretty small.
steven iltz 2
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.
Lou Richards 1
How about a chain on the landing gear? Or a boot like the ones that parking enforcement puts on a car? There must be a way to stop theft.
strickerje 1
There is indeed a key to both the doors and the ignition, similar to a car. Where I learned to fly, the aircraft were parked outside (hangar space was more expensive), and the keys were in a binder in the office. The office was locked after hours, but during the day, it wouldn't have been hard to get to them, but relatively few people would have known where to look, and I guess the ones that did were honest. Of course, the fuel truck was also kept locked when not in use.

The aircraft on the ramp are already tied down to eye loops in the ground (in order to avoid movement by wind); it would certainly be conceivable to find a way to lock these. But it's funny to think, over 20 years after 9/11, that most general aviation airports still work on the principle of security through obscurity.
Isn't it interesting how modern journalism isn't really jounralism - it is just for "talking heads' to spout pre-canned nonsense between revenue-producing advertising. The creep who stole the airplane was a pilot and of course the airplane was not his. How many heard the TV newscasters babble on about the "skilled pilot making turns with his airplane"
James Simms 4
I watched WTVA (Tupelo/Columbus, MS) exclusively, didn’t bother watching watching any of the MSM. WTVA had a couple of reporters actively covering the story on the scene or close to it. Assumed there would be more information coming faster from someone locally on the ground w/a local interest instead of sitting in a studio hundreds of miles away.
Did WTVA report the same thing multiple times, sure did. But we have to remember information was hard to come by being an active & fluid/changing event. Something like this, local is usually better (like severe weather events) & I’d come a lot closer trusting the local source when they have a dog in the fight affecting them more directly than MSM or National Weather.
Bandrunner 4
I wonder what his beef with WalMart is.
seacall2 3
It's a big, central place, and since he started out so early it could just have been a plea for attention. Everyone assumes it had something to do with Wmart, but it may not have at all.
Rosomak 4
Obviously it’s the door greeters
Jim Allen 5
They were out of Rotella. They’ll never make that mistake again.
So the thief was “crazy” but not not “stupid”.
Leander Williams 2
This reminds me of the pilot in the Northwest who stole the plane and later crashed it. Maybe airport employees should have access to aircraft NEVER when not directly working on them.
The owner of that plane has got to be pissed.
Nick Scafidi 1
pilotjag 1
I saw this when I walked in to my gym this morning. I hope he is talked out of going thru with it
Torsten Hoff 1
The police department said they are in contact with the pilot who is reportedly believed to be an employee of the Tupelo Regional Airport.
James Simms 1
WTVA has been live throughout. This is the location circled in red where it went down

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