April 6th, 2009
09:15 PM ET

FAA: Stolen Cessna from Canada tracked toward Iowa


A small Cessna 172 aircraft reported stolen from a Canadian flight school and flown into U.S. airspace has been intercepted by U.S. military aircraft, authorities said Monday afternoon.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown confirmed the plane was reportedly stolen from a flight school in Thunder Bay, Canada, and — after it had been aloft for nearly three and a half hours — was headed in the direction of Iowa.

Brown said the pilot of the aircraft, identified as a student at the flight school, was not communicating with air traffic controllers. The pilot was conscious and showed no sign of hostile intent, Brown said, and authorities planned to continue tracking the plane.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Airline Safety
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Teresa, OH

    Ummm, re:" has been intercepted by U.S. military aircraft"...

    With all due respect.... I didnt hear that ANYONE intercepted this stolen plane. I thought the guy landed it of his own accord and waltzed to the store for some beverage?

    As for this: "showed no sign of hostile intent"... I think not responding to communications and ignoring TWO fighter jets IS hostile intent.

    I'm glad the dude's ok.... which wrist do you think he is gonna get slapped on and then sent on his way?

    April 7, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  2. JOHN SUNGAILA -Toronto

    Some moron steals a plane to go joy riding and the USA shuts down.Buildings are evacuated ,the air force is scrambled,headline news on CNN.How paranoid are you Americans anyway?As a pilote of forty years and a former Cessna franchisee ,I know what a 172 is.They fly low and slow and are used mainly for training purposes.This one must have been carrying nukes or at least WMD,S.Please confirm that this was so.We are killing ourselves laughing.One person crosses the border illegally and the whole country goes on red alert.Take a chill pill.

    April 7, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  3. tory

    ooooh! Scary stuff, one of us Canadians flew over the border for little plane ride, in a itty bitty little plane.
    He was probably looking for cheap case of beer since they overkill us in the price for beer as you guys do in paranoia and scare news you clowns produce.
    "Good grief" were only Canada. Yup blame Canada again, you have 350,000,000 and we have 35,000 000, 10x the population then us.' Come on' are we really a threat to you. Yup, not only did he fly over the boarder and flew safely, he landed it safely as well.
    Yup, he's a really scary Canadian.
    "Come on"....... enough with scare T.V. crap. When you guys catch him give a beer and send him home.
    There 's bigger news to report.

    April 7, 2009 at 2:43 am |
  4. Fidel Christopher

    How can we feel safe in our country if a plane can just fly in the way it happened today. We understand the F-16 pilot followed procedures and did not shoot down a not combat aircraft, but how come there was no coordination with the ground authorities as the small airplane touched down?

    April 7, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  5. Ronald Karp

    For the money it costs innocent taxpayers to operate military aircraft to monitor this childs "play", when he lands or runs out of fuel, the least you can do is put the pilot in Guantanamo until further notice.

    April 7, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  6. david HALPERN

    It amazes me how little you know about this kind of stuff and that it actually makes national news. A Cessna 172 poses absolutely no threat to any building let alone causing an evacuation of a state capitol. With a useful load of less than 500 lbs with full fuel which this plane had the only thing they had to do was exactly what the air force did. Just follow or track it till it runs out of fuel. One could argue with full fuel it is a 2000 lb bomb but let me remind you that a 172 crashed into the 40 story Bank of America building in Tampa with a suicidal 16 yr old kid who stole it. The only damage was to one office and the plane. No fire. only one death and that was the pilot/thief. Planes such as these pose little or no threat and we need to focus on the porous ground/sea borders where real threats may or already are being delivered as the next 9/11 catastrophe.

    April 7, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  7. Rebecca

    This story bothers me very much. To say that this man did not show any hostile intent, does not make any sense to me. He first stole the plane, then crossed us airspace without authorization. How do they know what he can possible be contimplating? By ignoring air traffic control and by not responding to our airforce fighter jets would clearly make you think that he may be planning some kind of violent act.. I do not feel confident at all in our defense, knowing that they let him get so close to our cities without taking any actions! What were they thinking by not taking that plane down before allowing him to land in our country? Maybe he wasnt planning on crashing the plane into a building and harming innocent civilians but he clearly was able to get close enough to cause alot of unnesissary damage..

    April 6, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  8. Mathew C.

    The comment made about students having access to the tarmack is true, but just having a key just sitting in an ignition is totally false. There are pretty extensive sign in and sign out procedures here in Canada. Whether it is a controlled airport or not, there are still serious procedures that must be followed. The club in which I belong to disagrees on some of the comments made in terms of security... Something strange happened here it will be interesting to find out what happened.

    April 6, 2009 at 11:18 pm |