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DaveTrojan

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 #1 
From the Archives: Aircraft thief leaves note on hangar door - Los Angeles Times
and I thought the airplane repo TV show was a new thing, but this is from February 1936 and it ends in a crash in Mint Canyon. 
 
https://www.latimes.com/visuals/photography/la-me-fw-archives-aircraft-thief-leaves-note-on-hanger-door-20190328-htmlstory.html———
Taylor Cub aircraft is found crashed in Mint Canyon.jpg
  
Feb. 10, 1936: A stolen two-seater Taylor Cub aircraft is found crashed in Mint Canyon near modern-day Agua Dulce. 

JR

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 #2 
It appears some things don't change. The following entry is from the Missing Plane Data Base.

28 June 1977

Piper PA23-250

N250CB

1

CA

Enroute from unknown to Gorman, CA. The aircraft departed at an unknown time from the Bakersfield Municipal Airport on 28 June 1977. It was reported stolen by the operator. A bulletin was issued by the FAA & federal law enforcement agencies to FBOs on the West Coast to watch for the missing plane.

On 6 Sep, the missing plane crashed while attempting to land on an uncharted airstrip on the Maxy Ranch, 3 SW of Frazier Park NE & 12 SW of Gorman in Ventura County. The aircraft clipped trees about .5 mile from the airstrip & crashed into a mountain.  An unknown witness to the crash notified the US Forest Service Ranger Station on Mount Pinos. The Forest Service dispatched a helicopter to investigate & spotted the wreckage. Ventura County deputies responding to the crash found the pilot had been killed in the crash. They also recovered over 1,500 lbs of marijuana from the wreckage, valued at $250,000 (in 1977 dollars).  Investigators discovered a “condemned ramshackle, cottage” at the airstrip that was camouflaged. Deputies found personal items inside the “cottage” belonging to the student pilot indicating he was living there. They also found a VW van parked in another camouflaged location at the airstrip that was registered to the pilot. Deputies were unable to locate anyone near the structures.

The missing plane had been fitted with long range fuel tanks & cargo lockers built into the wings. All seats were removed to make room for additional cargo. The missing plane also had a false registration number painted on it. For several months Major Crimes investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department had been receiving reports from residents on the ranch of unidentified aircraft flying in and out of the area. Aircraft from the county aero squadron had previously flown over the uncharted airstrip, but failed to spot the structures there. The DEA & US Customs assumed investigation of the crash site.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident was the student pilot failed to obtain & maintain flying speed that resulted in the aircraft stalling during final approach. Contributing factors included improperly loaded aircraft, weight & center of gravity. Student pilot Michael Robert Clark, 28, with 200 flight hrs. Registered to C & B Flying Service of Bakersfield, CA. Cancelled 13 Mar 1981. 

Business

6 Sep 1977

Dennis

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 #3 
"student pilot with 200 hours of flight time" ??????  What's wrong with THIS picture?  Almost as bad as one that was in the news years back.  Guy flies a Beech Bonanza into an airport, walks into the FBO's office and says "I want to get a pilots license.  Been flying the Bonanza for years.  Dennis
JR

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 #4 
Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I rechecked my sources and they are correct. You'd be surprised how many entries in my data base involve non-certificated "pilots".
DaveTrojan

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 #5 
We can't make this stuff up. Reality is stranger than fiction. People will do stupid things. 
ChrisBrame

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 #6 
A couple more from the Chicago Tribune: Ercoupe in 1948 and Piper in 1960.

stolen ercoupe 7-26-48.jpg 
stolen ercoupe 7-26-48 2.jpg 

stolen piper lake michigan 6-5-60 2.jpg

JR

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 #7 
Here is my entry for the 1960 incident from the Missing Plane Data Base:

4 June 1960

Piper PA18-150

N3280Z

1

WI

Enroute from Milwaukee, WI to unknown. The aircraft was taken from the Billy Mitchell Airport without permission at about 0530. The aircraft struck a WI ANG F-89 & another private aircraft on the parking ramp as it taxied away.  The pilot requested permission from the tower to depart for NAS Glenview. The ATC noticed damage to the aircraft’s wing & urged the pilot not to take off. The pilot departed anyways without permission at 0545. A penciled note was later found on the hanger door that stated, “LT Smith took the plane to Glenview naval air station at 0535. Will pay later. Thanks.”

The missing aircraft was tracked by radar over Lake Michigan about 19 E of Wilmette, IL where it vanished from radar. At about 0700 the crew of the ore freighter Valley Camp spotted the missing plane when it circled the ship 3 times. The missing pilot attempted to drop a note on the freighter, but missed & was not recovered. The missing pilot then attempted to ditch the aircraft about 400 ft from the freighter but the plane immediately sank. The ships captain ordered a boat sent to search for the pilot. The crew recovered wheels, a glove, a military duffle bag with the missing pilot’s name on it as well as the aircraft’s logbook & other documents that included the missing pilot’s US Army discharge papers.  A USCG vessel was sent to continue the search, but it was suspended 5 June when no further trace of the missing plane or pilot was found.

An investigation by the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office & the CAB found that the missing pilot had been honorably discharged from the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood, MO on 25 May 1960 after only 3 months of service. The missing pilot’s father stated his son was nervous & depressed & had lost 31 lbs while in the Army.  He was also suffering from pains on the side of his head. Based on a doctor’s recommendation, the father was going to take his son to the Veterans Administration Hospital on 4 June to be treated. His son left the house without a word at 0400 that morning.  Authorities found a glove belonging to the missing pilot at the airport. Investigators also found there was no “LT Smith” at NAS Glenview. The missing pilot obtained his certificate at age 16 & was a member of the US Army’s Flying Club. His parents found it hard to believe the missing pilot would take & crash the plane.  “He wasn’t himself after he left the Army. He was such a good boy. Why would he want to do it?”

Pilot Ronald F. Plumley, 18 with unknown flight hrs. Registered to Midwest Airways Inc of Cudahy, WI. Cancelled 22 May 1965.

Stolen

O/W

JR

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 #8 
Another interesting missing stolen aircraft from the Missing Plane Data Base. The missing plane's owner later sold his Bakersfield business and moved to Montana where he ran a wholesale electrical supply business until he retired in 1990. He passed away in 2000. It appeared he never recovered the missing plane as he later purchased a Beech Bonanza.

23 Feb 1968

Cessna 182

Unknown

?

CA

Enroute from Bakersfield, CA to unknown. The aircraft was reported stolen from Meadows Field on 28 Feb. The owner told Kern County Sheriff’s Department that he last saw the aircraft on 23 Feb parked outside a hanger at the airfield. The FAA issued a nationwide alert to watch for the aircraft. Because stolen planes were a rarity in those days, the incident received nationwide attention from the media during Mar 1968.

On 27 Nov 1968, wreckage was located by a hiker crashed in the Cottonwood Mountains W of the Death Valley National Monument. The hiker reported to the authorities that the crash site looked recent. The FAA had no record of a missing plane in that area. However, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office speculated it was the stolen plane, which had not been recovered at that time. A joint ground team of county deputies & US Forest Service Rangers attempted to locate the crash site on 28 Nov with the support of a USN helicopter from the China Lake NWTC.  On 29 Nov, helicopters from the NWTC spotted the crash site & was identified by Inyo County as a previously found USAF SA16 that had crashed in 1952. The wreckage had been marked with yellow crosses.

This incident is not listed in the NTSB data base. Registered to William Penn Cunningham of Bakersfield, CA.

Stolen

 

DaveTrojan

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 #9 
Thanks JR interesting stories
Dennis

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 #10 
The Tampa bay area had it's own aircraft thief as well. 
  It didn't go well for him either.  He actually buzzed MacDill before meeting his fate in downtown Tampa.  Because of the relation to 911, it created quite a bit of excitement.  Dennis
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