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FAA: Sen. Inhofe ‘nearly killed’ airport workers by intentionally landing on closed runway

By David Edwards
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 14:58 EDT
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US senator James Inhofe makes a press st
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Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) prides himself on being stubborn lawmaker, but it turns out that he’s also a dangerously stubborn pilot.

Workers at a Cameron Country Airport in Texas were forced to run for their lives late last year when the Republican lawmaker intentionally landed his Cessna on a closed runway.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents — obtained by The Smoking Gun in response to a Freedom of Information Act request — show that although a large red “X” was painted on the runway, Inhofe “still elected to land.”

The FAA provided a recording of airport construction supervisor Sidney Boyd calling to report that Inhofe’s plane had “sky hopped” over his men and their vehicles.

Boyd explained that the stunt “scared the crap out of” his workers. He said that he thought the driver of one vehicle “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.”

While on the call, one FAA representative told quality assurance specialist Lee Williams that the Cessna “landed right in the middle of them doing their work… and damn near killed somebody out there.”

“He sky hopped over us,” Boyd told Williams. “He was determined to land on that runway come hell or high water evidently.”

“He come over here and started being like, ‘What the hell is this? I was supposed to have unlimited airspace,’” the construction supervisor recalled of a confrontation with Inhofe following the mishap.

In his defense, Inhofe told the FAA that he was showing a new employee how the aircraft instrumentation worked.

The FAA agreed to drop legal enforcement action in exchange for the completion of about seven hours of remedial flight training.

Read the FAA documents at The Smoking Gun.

This audio is from the FAA, recorded Oct. 21, 2010.

Download MP3 audio file

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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