I stayed glued to CNN watching this story unfold last night:
A pilot who allegedly stole a Cessna plane from a Canadian flight school and was pursued for hours across the Midwest by fighter jets, was taken into custody after he landed on a Missouri highway late today and took off running, an FBI spokesman said.
The pilot landed the single engine Cessna 172 on U.S. Highway 60 in Ellsinore, Mo., at approximately 9:50 p.m. ET, and was caught by Missouri State Highway Patrol officers, FBI spokesman Rich Kolko said.
I kept thinking “high altitude pursuit” while watching this. But then some other details came out, details that send the wingnuts running to grab the tinfoil:
The pilot was identified as Yavuz Berke, formerly known as Adam Leon, a 31-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen who was born in Turkey, Kolko said.
OH MY GOD – A BROWNIE!!!! It’s 9/11 all over again!
One of the craziest wingnuts, Atlas Shrugs writes:
A Turkish man steals a plane in Canada, flies into US airspace and is not confronted by US fighters for 20 minutes. He fails to obey commands and is not shot down. He lands when nearly out of fuel and is apprehended running on foot. .
(hat tip Frank)
Sleep well kiddies
Yes shoot it down! Don’t these fighter pilots know anything?
But then you start getting a few more facts of the case. You know facts – those things right wingers despise:
Burke was apparently treated for depression last Friday and left his girlfriend a good-bye note, Canadian officials told the U.S. government. Berke’s vehicle was left at the airport in Canada with the keys still in it.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was flying for a while at 14,500 feet. Over 10,000 feet the air is quite thin and commercial planes would be pressurized, but the Cessna 172 is not. As a result, the pilot might have suffered from hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, which could have lead to confusion.
The plane later dropped its altitude to 3,700 feet, where there is more oxygen.
So not only was the pilot depressed, he also suffered a likely case of confusion from flying at such a high altitude. Perhaps the fighter pilots were able to figure out “hey – we are wearing these oxygen masks, but he isn’t. Something is wrong”.
And with this guy maintaining such a high altitude, I’m sure the pilots knew they had time to pull the trigger if he was targeting something. Even at 3,700 feet, they still had time. But I guess Atlas has problems trusting the judgment of our military. That’s really supportive of our troops.
Luckily this story finished with an ending worthy of some late night jokes. The fighter jet pilots should be applauded for their actions, not second guessed. They showed restraint and excellent judgment dealing with this guy. There are still many unknowns, but thankfully we will get answers since this guy is – well alive!
And we also see why people like Atlas Shrugs, someone who can so quickly say “kill them”, is not a position to take lives. Could you imagine this psychopath as a cop or in the military? Fear trumps common sense in these people, and we should be very thankful that they aren’t running this country anymore.