Sen. Jim Inhofe Lands His Cessna On Closed Cameron County Runway, Nearly Kills Construction Crew
Notice to notoriously stupid Oklahoma senators: There’s no excuse for forcing your Cessna down on top of a bunch of runway workers. Notice #2: After terrifying people with your own shocking and nearly tragic recklessness, you will refrain from acting like they were the idiots.
APRIL 13–Newly released Federal Aviation Administration documents and audiotapes shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year during which U.S. Senator James Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles.
The FAA material, provided in response to a TSG Freedom of Information Act request, details how Inhofe, 76, chose to land on the main runway at the Cameron County Airport on October 21 despite being aware that it was closed and had a large ‘X’ on its threshold.
The giant “X” on it wasn’t the only elusive clue that the Port Isabel runway wasn’t available for use. The senator had been contacted by radio and given the appropriate “NOTAM” (notice to airmen) on the runway’s closure. As he attempted to land on the runway’s North end, there was also the horrified worker standing on it, frantically waving his arms. Additionally, there was the rest of the crew and their parked vehicles serving as first-rate three-dimensional clues.
But Inhofe isn’t much for clues of whatever type, apparently, as he landed his Cessna on the runway anyway. Fractions of moments later, Jim did become become aware of all the obstacles, some of which sensed doom. So he did what any good pilot would: he hopped the plane over them, touching back down behind them. A shocked and terrified Sydney Boyd, construction crew supervisor, immediately called the FAA. Excerpts of their tapes:
“He sky hopped over us,” said Boyd. “He was determined to land on that runway come hell or high water evidently.” He added, “I’m still shaking…I was in the middle of the runway, I headed for high country” . .
Referring to [one] vehicle’s driver, Boyd added, “I think he actually wet his britches, he was scared to death. I mean, hell, he started trying to head for the side of the runway. The pilot could see him, or he should have been able to, he was right on him.”
They guy who managed the facility was pissed:
. . airport manager Marshall Reece tore into Inhofe’s piloting. “I’ve got over 50 years flying, three tours of Vietnam,” Reece said, “and I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life in my life.” He then added, “Something needs to be done. This guy is famous for these violations.”
After the life-saving bunny-hop, the senator’s reaction differed from those of witnesses.
“He come over here and started being like, ‘What the hell is this? I was supposed to have unlimited airspace.’”Click here for reuse options!
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