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.
Shortly after Inhofe landed, Sidney Boyd, who was supervising construction on the closed runway, called the FAA to report that Inhofe’s plane, a twin-engine six-seater, initially touched down on the runway and then sky hopped over the six vehicles and personnel working on the runway, and then landed.”
During the call, which was recorded by the FAA, Boyd said Inhofe’s antics “scared the crap out of” workers, adding that the Cessna “damn near hit” a red truck. Referring to the 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.”
Boyd also said that Inhofe showed little contrition following the close call. “He come over here and started being like, ‘What the hell is this? I was supposed to have unlimited airspace.’”
In lieu of “legal action,” Inhofe agreed to take a course in remedial pilot training. That was in 2010. The following year Inhofe pushed for (and got passed) a “Pilot’s Bill of Rights” designed to limit the tyranny of the FAA:
“It’s our job in Congress to ensure that there are appropriate safeguards in place to prevent agency overreach,” Inhofe said. “This bill provides that.”The closed runway was marked with a giant X, and there were trucks and workmen all around it. Apart from that his confusion was understandable. He knew damn good and well he wasn’t supposed to land there and he did anyway, because he’s a senator and laws are for little people. When he got a slap on the wrist for it, he threw a tantrum about Big Guv’mint overreach and used some Big Guv’ment overreach of his own to pass a silly law.
“Now that is just a matter of fairness,” he added. “If a person is going to be accused of something, he has to know what he is being accused of.”
Inhofe, by the way, said that global warming is the second largest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people “after the separation of church and state.”