Friday, March 23, 2012

Cessna 172K, N78112: Incident occurred December 29, 2020 at Stennis International Airport (KHSA), Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, Mississippi

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi 

Aircraft struck runway end light while landing. 

Cool Breeze Aviation LLC 

Date: 29-DEC-20
Time: 18:30:00Z
Regis#: N78112
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Cessna 172K, N78112: Pilot arrested after stolen plane lands at Chowchilla Airport (2O6), California
Lonnie Blackburn
(Chowchilla Police Dept.)

Lonnie Blackburn

Photos provided by the Chowchilla Police Department.

Photos provided by the Chowchilla Police Department.

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KMPH) -   For the second time in as many months a stolen plane is found in the Valley.

The stolen Cessna 172 was spotted flying over of the city of Chowchilla Wednesday afternoon by the city's police chief.

Chief Jay Varney says the pilot was flying so erratically on his final approach that he decided to check him out.

Chief Varney says, "I've ran into a lot of occupied stolen cars, I've been in the line of work for almost 29 years but I've never run into an occupied stolen plane."

Chief Varney says he found Lonnie Blackburn, a pilot from Madera, spray painting over the plane's registration numbers.

Police say the Cessna was stolen from Paradise, California, and had been flown to Butte County, and was making a quick stop at the airport.

Inside the plane, detectives found some stolen items.

They believe Blackburn may have wanted to sell the plane to someone else possibly to transport drugs.

Ironically, this is the second stolen plane found in the last two months.

The first crashed along a canal in Fresno County.

Fresno pilot Jim Coelho says the aviation community is small. Pilots watch out for one another, and keep an eye out for stolen planes.

Jim Coelho says, "They are worth money so people will steal them and take radios and stuff out of them just like cars. They strip them."

Chowchilla Police have now turned over their investigation to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Blackburn is currently in the Madera County Jail.

Police say besides piloting a stolen plane more charges could be added after the FAA wraps up its investigation.

On Wednesday afternoon Chief Jay Varney of the Chowchilla Police Department and Steve Cook of the City of Chowchilla Public Works Department saw a plane flying erratically on final approach to Runway 12 at the Chowchilla Airport.

Chief Varney responded to the airport to investigate and found the pilot out of the plane, covering the fuselage identification numbers of the Cessna 172 with white spray paint.

The pilot was detained and an investigation was conducted which revealed that the plane had been stolen from Paradise and flown to a second central California airport prior to landing at the Chowchilla Airport.

The suspect was identified as Lonnie Blackburn, formerly of Madera. He was taken to the Madera Department of Corrections.

The suspect was a licensed pilot and the circumstances surrounding this incident will be forwarded to the FAA and the Madera County Terrorism Liaison Officer for any appropriate action by them. There was no initial indication that this incident was related to terrorist activity.

“I suspect that the pilot thought that our airport would be a safe place for him to transform the identity of this aircraft”, stated Chief Varney. “We were happy to disappoint him.”

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KMPH) - A man was arrested after authorities say he showed up in a stolen plane at the Chowchilla Airport.

Chowchilla Police Chief Jay Varney says he and a city worker noticed a Cessna 172 flying erratically before it landed at the airport Wednesday afternoon.

The chief says they went to the airport and found the pilot -- later identified as 46-year-old Lonnie Blackburn -- covering the small plane's identification number with white spray paint.

Investigators say the plane was stolen from Paradise, California and flown to another Central California airport before landing at the Chowchilla Airport.

Blackburn was taken into custody and booked into the Madera County Department of Corrections.

Chief Varney says Blackburn is a licensed pilot. He says the FAA has been informed of the incident.

A 46-year-old licensed pilot had his wings clipped earlier this week, after Chowchilla police say he landed at the city's airport in a stolen plane.

Lonnie Blackburn was arrested at the airport Wednesday, not long after Chief Jay Varney said he and public works employee Steve Cook spotted the Cessna 172 flying erratically on its final approach.

After Blackburn landed, Varney said he saw the suspect outside of the plane, trying to cover the plane’s identification numbers with white spray paint. Blackburn was detained and questioned by police.

Officers also found a cash register with change inside the plane. Police believe Blackburn flew the plane from Paradise to Hollister, stopping off at another location before arriving in Chowchilla.

Varney believes the suspect took the cash register from the airport in Hollister. The suspect was evasive with police during questioning. "For whatever reason, he was intent on coming back to this area because he formerly lived in the Madera area," Varney said.

The suspect didn't appear to be under the influence, Varney said, although traces of marijuana were found inside the plane. Varney said the Cessna's owner will probably pick up the aircraft Friday.

Blackburn was booked into the Madera County Jail on suspicion of grand theft and taking a vehicle without permission. He’s being held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

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