Alleged Plane Thief's Plans Shackled

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Among the first things student pilots learn is the importance of a thorough walkaround and a California man now has plenty of time to ponder the wisdom of that precaution. Police in Compton, Calif., allege that Troy Long, of Bellflower, described as a "former student pilot," pulled a gun on staff at the Compton/Woodley Airport when they discovered him taking keys from the hook. They say he then bolted for a Cessna 152 parked outside. As staff called the authorities, Long started the aircraft and made good his escape -- except for one thing. He didn't unhook the chain holding the tail to the concrete.

When police arrived they found the 152 straining against its restraint. They had guns, too, and the rest was by the book. Long was arrested without further incident and booked on suspicion of air piracy, which can carry a life sentence.