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Can Glamorizing A Criminal Help Aviation?

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There's a tremendous amount of effort going into encouraging new pilot starts as GA looks down the barrel of a gun that points to a much different world for the industry if more people don't get, or act on, the flying bug.

Various theories have been advanced, and AOPA and EAA are addressing them separately and collaboratively. AOPA's pilot retention initiative says schools and the whole pilot culture need to do a better job of convincing those who actually get to the point of taking a lesson to keep going through certification. EAA's Eagle Flight program will provide a structure for members to give free introductory flights to those who may have been harboring the desire to fly for most of their lives and have finally reached the personal circumstances where they're willing to give it a shot. Then there's the joint operation to abolish the third class medical for what amounts to recreational flying in Cherokees and 172s.

All are laudable, quantifiable programs loaded with photo ops and progress report potential, which, honestly, are how the alphabets justify their existence. What's more, they might even work.

But wouldn't it be ironic and kind of tragic if the biggest boost to pilot starts in decades comes from a larcenous little con artist/maniac from Washington State who says he's planning to join the ranks of aviation professionals when he's out of jail? By now you've heard that Colton Harris-Moore, who taught himself enough to get at least three stolen aircraft airborne, has been sentenced to seven years on those and a string of other break-ins, thefts and other incidents that terrorized residents of the idyllic islands in north Puget Sound. In a letter (PDF) to the judge in his case, Harris-Moore describes his harrowing flight in howling IMC in a stolen 182 and the spiritual awakening that was a turning point in his life.

And I'm Santa Claus on supersonic sled. Unless you believe in the power of rehabilitation in the U.S. penal system, this Harris-Moore is going to continue to use his undeniable smarts and instincts to engineer even better stunts that will put more people in danger and cost plenty of money. But that's just my opinion.

What's fact is that he's signed a deal to have a movie made about what put him in jail, and if it's done well it could become the kind of cultural phenomenon that continues the Hollywood tradition of celebrating dangerous rebels who manage to survive their anti-social behavior. And yes, it has the makings of a great movie, which is, again, just my opinion.

So, how does this relate to enticing and retaining student pilots? A while back I read somewhere that the reason it's harder to attract people to aviation is that it's become too ordinary. With the emphasis on safety and predictability and swift justice for those who venture to the edge, kids just think it's boring. Enter, say, Justin Bieber or some other teen phenom in the role of an authority-challenging epitome of cool who jumps into airplanes without taking lessons and well, I'm sure you get the idea. I wonder how you get a screenwriting job for something like this.

On a day when families in New Jersey and Texas mourned the loss of a total of 10 people in horrible crashes that, by all accounts, happened to pilots committed to flight safety and following the rules, it's hard to contemplate that the kind of recklessness that Harris-Moore has exhibited could end up being the push that some people need to try flying.

One thing's certain, though. If Harris-Moore does manage to get his act together and become one of those new pilot starts, there are a few people I know who could teach him a thing or two and he might also even learn how to fly.

Comments (44)

Oh Lord, please save us from Hollywood's "help". The last thing we need is a bunch of Harris-Moore wannabees darkening the doors of our flight schools. We already have enough problems (again, partially because of Hollywood) with the "trust-fund-baby/adrenaline junkie" image. At best, if someone goes up in a GA airplane in the movies or on TV, 7 times out of 10 the plane's going to go down. The kind of people who would be inspired by young Colton aren't the kind of people we need to have training. It reminds me of the time that a prospect came in and actually got mad at me because I refused to fly under a bridge on an intro flight. I wonder whatever happened to him...

Posted by: Chris McLellan | December 21, 2011 11:34 AM    Report this comment

You really want us to believe that the reason people aren't getting into aviation and also aren't staying once they do get their license is because it is too ordinary and boring? You have to be kidding right? It couldn't possibly have something do with the fact that it cost $140 around here to go up for an hour of instruction in an airplane built back in the 70's could it? Kids and adults alike just don't see enough benefit to spending that much money for just one hour of fun. It isn't that flying isn't exciting any more. Most kids would probably love the chance to learn how to fly. Once they realize that they have to spend an entires weeks paycheck working at McDonalds to go fly for one hour or less on a Saturday the excitement quickly fades. For those who do spend the money and get their license they quickly realize that you can't justify spending the money to go bouncing around the pattern for an hour anymore without a specific purpose such as getting the license. For those who got their license thinking they want to use it to travel, one quick look at a major airlines cost to go from point A to point B will kill the idea that they can justify the cost of flying themselves instead. It is the cost of flying that is killing the appeal not the lack of excitement. Find a way to make it so that the average middle class citizen can afford to go bouncing around the pattern a few times a month and you will see a rebound in GA.

Posted by: Keith Macht | December 21, 2011 12:54 PM    Report this comment

Help from Hollywood? What a joke! All Hollywood might do is give the idiots at TSA more excuses to come up with more stupid rules to restrict GA operations. As far as bringing more people into aviation, Mr Macht is 100% correct. When GA costs become more reasonable you will attract more persons into aviation. A lot of smaller GA airports no longer seem to have younger persons there watching planes takeoff and land anymore. Most larger airports no longer have observation areas open to the public for airplane watching (more worthless TSA rules I'm sure). All this just makes it that much more diffucult to attract young persons in aviation.

Posted by: matthew wagner | December 21, 2011 4:45 PM    Report this comment

Unfortunately I think Keith nailed it pretty well. The cost & effort required to secure and utilize a pilot's license just isn't sufficiently offset by the fun of flying.

The "outlaw glamour" aspect does have a bit of relevance though, because one reason the fun-of-flying attraction doesn't balance cost/effort is the simple fact that most flying today ISN'T as much fun nor as glamorous as it was 30 years and more ago.

While the no-radio / taildragger crowd will quickly point out they still keep the flame of basic flying alive, most prospective students are not in an environment where they can train or participate in that world. Today’s student must first learn to navigate the radio & radar world of control towers, TCAs and complex “don’t go here” airspace restrictions. If he can stick that out, then maybe “advance” to basic flying is possible, but it will still be awfully expensive compared to computers & video games.

Posted by: John Wilson | December 21, 2011 4:56 PM    Report this comment

All GA needs is Hollywood giving the impression anyone can duplicate what this guy did! Want to learn to fly? Read a book, try a flight simulator, then go 'borrow' an airplane. Lessons? Who needs lessons? I also agree with Keith. GA (and for that matter Light-Sport) is pricing itself out of the reach of what used to be the backbone of GA: middle-class americans wanting to fly for fun or the $100 dollar hamburger. I'm in Ohio and finally had to step back when the rental 172s reached $120. Regardless of my passion and love of flying, I simply could not justify this cost for an hour of 'fun' - especially when I had to factor in the cost of my insurance, bi-annual, and Third Class Medical. I cannot afford to buy and airplane on my own, but in my area it seems to be impossible to find anyone who wants a partner to share costs on their airplane. Within 20 miles of my house are several airports with airplanes that just sit. The owners don't or won't fly them and aren't interested in letting another pilot use the plane. I simply do not understand the logic. Maybe this would be a good topic for an AirWeb Blog?

Posted by: Richard Norris | December 22, 2011 6:35 AM    Report this comment

I have a hard time imagining a Hollywood production that would benefit GA at all. If such a movie encouraged anyone, I doubt that they would be the sort that ought to be pilots--they'd more likely be of the Harris-Moore variety, seeking instant gratification at no cost.

The cost to fly is out of line with the rewards, unless you're either paid to fly or have been doing it for so long that it's part of your life. I don't dare calculate the hourly cost of flying my hot rod 172, taking into account my 50-60 hours per year, annuals, periodic maintenance, insurance, hangar rent, IPCs, BFRs, and $50/hour fuel, let alone a hypothetical reserve for overhaul. If I did, I couldn't begin to justify flying financially.

It is no wonder that it's hard to persuade anyone to learn to fly, when there are so many other much less expensive ways for recreation.

Cary

Posted by: Cary Alburn | December 22, 2011 8:06 AM    Report this comment

What he has not realized he is now a convicted fellon. No one will hire him for an engineering job He is a security risk.

Posted by: Jack Stewart | December 22, 2011 8:19 AM    Report this comment

As a former PR consultant, let me add my two cents to the debate about the Barefoot Bandit. What this kid did was extraordinary. One way or another his story is going to be told. The question is who is going to tell it, and how. Here's an off-the-wall idea: Have a respected aviator work with Colton Harris-Moore. Instruct him on both the values and fundamentals of aviation. Show him, and the world, what learning to fly can teach you about life. Like it or not, young people will be inspired by him. Consider the impact of such a follow-on story (chronicled on Facebook). Redemption benefits everyone. Kevin Mitnick, the notorious kid computer hacker, is now a security consultant. Frank Abagnale, the infamous imposter of "Catch Me if You Can" fame, is now a lecturer for the FBI. Imagine the former Bandit going around the country speaking to youth groups about what aviation has to offer--and the right way to pursue it.

Posted by: Ted Seastrom | December 22, 2011 8:48 AM    Report this comment

Over the years there have been numerous examples of airplanes departing the ground without their pilots, proving that an airplane in the proper trim configuration has no problem taking off. Essentially that is what this idiot accomplished. Did he ever have a landing that didn't bend something? That's what real pilots do. He isn't, or never was a "pilot". I agree he is a security threat and seven years is not long enough.

Posted by: Bret Viets | December 22, 2011 9:15 AM    Report this comment

His mother mistreated him? Poor baby. I have a good friend whose mother took him to an orphanage because she didn't want to be burdened with a little kid. He WORKED his way up the aviation ladder and retired from a major airline as a senior Captain. The difference is, he has character and class. This Harris-Moore dufus has none. Seven years is NOT enough. Ten should have been a minimum. At least he will make lots of new friends in the slam. Close friends. VERY close friends.

Posted by: George Shanks | December 22, 2011 9:29 AM    Report this comment

I'm very disappointed with the sentence; a bit on the light side for me. My preference would be to have him taken to the Navy Bombing Range in McMullen County, Texas. Where he would first be bombed with napalm. Follow that up with at least 50,000 rounds of 20MM auto cannon fire. Then, have a hughe highway impacter drive over the area for at least a 24 hour period. Oh, I know it sounds a tad harsh; but come on - HE TORE UP SOME DUDES AIRPLANES!!! DUH!!

Posted by: William Fair | December 22, 2011 10:04 AM    Report this comment

One important distinction I would make from an individual perspective is to be careful not to lump all, yes, maybe many, but not all inmates into lost, repeating criminals. It's not the penal system I look to for an individual's potential, but the individual themselves.

Colton is a prime candidate to me for using his interest in flying after or even during his incarceration to influence younger kids to seek out this fantastic and rewarding field for personal fulfillment called aviation. Steve McQueen stole a motorcycle (thanks Hollywood for a Great movie!) and raised hell, and Dad reluctantly went out and bought me a Honda 350cc bike. I've supported motorcycle riding ever since.

I say use whatever means available- in anything - crimes or good deeds, properly repaid to society, to make the proverbial lemonade out of lemons. Genius usually reflects all sides of human behavior, it's those who haven't that might need furthur understanding.

Posted by: Dave Miller | December 22, 2011 11:03 AM    Report this comment

This movie your so worried about will not have any effect on future pilots. I have always loved aircraft since I was a kid. Never had anyone in my family who flew unless it was on Delta. I went to hang out at the airport on my own. In those days you could and no one chased you away, in fact some mechanics and airline workers encouraged you by letting you walk through the planes and answering your questions. It was wonderful of them to do that, but it was a more relaxed time too. Todays kids are chased away from the airports, but they are welcome in the skateboard parks and BMX courses and video game stores. So thats what they learn to like. You want to reach some kids? Give free ground school at the high schools. They will learn the value of physics, mechanics, communication, science, navagation and taking charge of a situation. Dont make them come to you, they dont know how to do it and its too expensive for them. Mr. Machts' comments on the cost of flying were right on. It's out of hand. The sport pilot stuff was started so flying would be cheaper (at least that was my understanding) and instead you might as well be flying a used 172 for what a new sport plane costs. As for the movie, some PR people will tell you, "even bad publicity can be good publicity".

Posted by: dominic accettola | December 22, 2011 3:50 PM    Report this comment

The kid needs a good spanking.

Posted by: Patty Haley | December 22, 2011 6:31 PM    Report this comment

The kid needs a good spanking.

Posted by: Patty Haley | December 22, 2011 6:31 PM    Report this comment

Hollywood is dying for new ideas. This kid's illegal antics fit their bill. Their only interest is not the kid, not aviation, not education, but their profit margin. That's the unholy grail.

Posted by: Manuel Erickson | December 22, 2011 9:59 PM    Report this comment

Hollywood works slowly and there's plenty of obstacle before this movie is made. "Catch me if you can" was made 39 years after Frank Abagnale started committing his crimes. "Red Tails" a film about a group of black fighter pilots in WWII, will be released in January 2012. Do the math -- very few of the protagonists are still alive.

As for Harris Moore himself, he could have gone to the military and got a FREE pilot education while helping his country. Also, he could have been exposed to aviation-related careers such as airplane/helicopter mechanic and ATC operator. All are better options than jail.

.

Posted by: Nick Prudent | December 23, 2011 12:34 AM    Report this comment

It's an interesting story and will probably make a good movie, but I doubt it will inspire too many pilots, either the legitimate type or airplane thieves. This kid is actually very bright and clever, a charismatic sociopath, always popular movie subjects (John Dillinger, Jesse James, etc.). I think Hollywood is actually doing some good for GA right now, with Flying Wild Alaska and a planned new series on bush pilots. These programs do present aviation as a challenging, exciting activity, and present a view of some of the many ways to make a living in aviation other than sitting in the front seat of a 777. The cost of training and the long road to being able to make a decent living as a pilot will still discourage more than half of all prospects, but one of the things which makes pilots special is that those who hold a license are those who are motivated and capable enough to overcome the obstacles.

Posted by: Mark Consigny | December 23, 2011 9:32 AM    Report this comment

I really do hope this delinquent can turn his life around and contribute something worthwhile. If this movie does come out it will probably make him into some kind of heroic figure. We probably need to buy new and better locks for our hangars and planes.

Posted by: Richard Montague | December 23, 2011 1:12 PM    Report this comment

When I applied to the airlines after the U.S. Air Force commitment during the Vietnam era, the one thing that hiring focused on was(and still is)good judgement. This was determined during the various interviews I attended. Do many of the GA flight schools address this issue? Can they afford to considering they need a continuous stream of new students? Who or what will force this issue? As for me, If I failed the interview, then no job. And no, I did not come from a disadvantaged childhood the defense of which should have no bearing on the length of punishment given to this narcissistic hot dog. He'll probably still be a threat in the future.

Posted by: Edward Burdick | December 25, 2011 12:39 PM    Report this comment

Never have I seen more petulant outlandish and stupid remarks as the ones above. The problem of aviation is in your mirrors. The kid was stupid, yes. But he should be locked away forever? Raped in prison? Killed? I hope your kids never fall into trouble and have to face a jury of peers like you clowns. Frank Abignale did far worse than this kid did and is now a respected member of society. Too many people believe flying is some sort of "holy grail" that only the clean and oure of heart should have the ability to access. This kid apparently loves flying but did some REALLY stupid things as a result of his immaturity and inability to think clearly. He didn't hurt anyone. 7 years is too long in my opinion. Oh yes, I have been flying 38 years, so I have more experience in aviation and what is the matter with it than most of you commentors here. Flame away now.

Posted by: David Wyant | December 25, 2011 3:12 PM    Report this comment

How can starting with maturity and good judgement not be a requirement. Yeah, some of us did some crazy and stupid things whether it be with airplanes, firecrackers, cars, motorcycles. But, week after week this kid kept doing what he obviously knew he shouldn't. It's not preaching. It's looking at reality and the reality is he did what he wanted whether it hurt someone or not. There's a difference between doing something stupid and illegal once and then trying the system again maybe to see if he could be caught. Flying and breaking the law shouldn't be an exciting game of chance. By the way, Frank A. paid the price and reformed. That's the way the system is supposed to work. But, the crime should fit the punishment whether he "hurt" someone or not.

Posted by: Edward Burdick | December 25, 2011 5:46 PM    Report this comment

Doesn't everybody get a second chance ? If not, there's a book...can't remember the name... that has a quote.."Let he who has never sinned, cast the first stone." Aw, maybe that's old hat now.

Posted by: Earl Whyde | December 25, 2011 9:59 PM    Report this comment

His Wikipedia page is worth a read. He has been a serial criminal since he age of 12 & committed at least 100 home burglaries. The planes & boats were just the icing on the cake.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colton_Harris-Moore

The only redeeming quality in this kid is that he hasn't comited violent crimes, wasn't involved in gangs & wasn't involved in the drug trade. I guess that's what's attracting Hollywood: a young, good looking, "clean cut" white criminal.

7 years is reasonable for 10+ years of crimes. He will probably serve 3 if he does all the reading he's supposed to do.

Posted by: Nick Prudent | December 25, 2011 10:37 PM    Report this comment

Oops. Last comment should read "5 years of crime" since he committed his various crimes between 12 and 17.

Still think a tour in the army would have straighten him up. Even time in the air cadets would have helped.

Posted by: Nick Prudent | December 26, 2011 3:00 AM    Report this comment

I worked with criminals and sociopathic personalities for 14 years. Colton Harris is just another sociopath who blames someone else for his actions. If given enough time to soften the public, Harris would have people feeling sorry for him instead of his victims. I used to suggest to many similar criminals that they should take up selling used cars instead of stealing them. With the glib tongue of many criminals such as Harris, they'd make a fortune selling used cars! Harris will be out in 1/3rd of his sentenced time, minus time he's already spent in jail. That amounts to a slap on the hand. I'll predict that once out, he'll be back in trouble again, and again have a good excuse for doing so. Watch and see.

Posted by: Douglas Rodrigues | December 26, 2011 4:04 AM    Report this comment

Please, let us not make once again the mistake of emulating a criminal, in this case a sneak thief. Intelligence with no moral compass is a very dangerous combination as history shows us, and to glamorize this punk is pure insult to the many he victimized in various ways. Put yourself in the shoes of those he stole from, as they put their lives back together, recoup their losses, and see the thief who victimized them rewarded for his anti-social behavior.

Posted by: Ken Calman | December 26, 2011 7:04 AM    Report this comment

Hollywood telling the story is not necessarily "glamorizing". Would most of the freedom-loving posters prefer that Hollywood censor and not tell the story at all? Why should Hollywood care one way or the other about GA? Telling a story is what Hollywood does. Castigating the boy is easy, and that's what the general public is expected to do. But we as pilots - after doing the easy castigation - should take the next step and think about it a little deeper I suggest. Aren't we touched by a severely disadvantaged kid's love for flying - despite lacking the means and support most of us were blessed with - in getting inside the fence of an airstrip, and get near an aircraft, much less sit inside the cockpit? Isn't it amazing that it IS possible to fly complex aircrafts like a C-182 and a Corvalis (glass panel?), by simply studying manuals and flying computer simulators (without any input from an instructor or pilot at that)! I hope, but highly doubt, that Hollywood will be able to recreate the severe impacts inside the cockpit, caused by the horrible weather in IMC over Peuget Sound and over the Cascades. The Spatial disorientation, stall spin and recovery in IMC, the sickness and fear that was experienced would not be easy for any gifted actor or director to reproduce. Hollywood, if successful in that regard, would probably scare off more people from flying than attract! And WHATEVER Colton Harris-Moore does with his life from now on, it's bound to be an anti-climax!

Posted by: Ron Bathaw | December 26, 2011 9:47 AM    Report this comment

As a pilot I try hard to get friends and acquaintances interested in aviation. A few years ago I took a Doctor flying for a couple of hours and got him hooked. He wound up getting his private while he lived in my area before moving to the East Coast.

Once established in his new home, he did the math on how much it cost him to rent a plane for an hours worth of flying and could not justify the expense of his new hobby to himself or his wife.

When we have Doctors making this decision based on cost of flying, what chance do we have of getting the average Joe into aviation?

Posted by: Ric Lee | December 26, 2011 10:10 AM    Report this comment

"Aren't we touched by a severely disadvantaged kid's love for flying". No. Not the way he went about it. He could have hung around the airport and asked questions. He could have offered to do chores in exchange for rides or instruction. He could have learned and worked and saved and waited until he was in his 50's and could (barely) afford to pursue aviation. Oh, and those manuals he studied - stolen. The computers he used for simulators - stolen. He'll be free in less than 2 years and some of his victims will still be trying to recover from the damage he did.

Posted by: Mark Consigny | December 26, 2011 12:20 PM    Report this comment

This troubled young thief could have been unrepentent, he could have been unapologetic, he could have been so obtuse or angry to not embrace the learning lesson of his behavior and declare he wants to turn his life around.

Some here see that, some here could not have.

Posted by: Dave Miller | December 26, 2011 2:05 PM    Report this comment

At the risk of sounding jaded and skeptic (and I've been flying for more than your 38 years, Dave), my 43 years as a lawyer have taught me that recidivism is the most likely route "this troubled boy" will take. Sure, there have been those few who truly turned their lives around after imprisonment, but the percentages are against him. Sociopathic personalities don't benefit much from prison; society benefits while he is locked up, but you can pretty much count on his returning to his "all about me" approach to life when he gets out. When he does, he'll get caught again, and in the meanwhile, others will suffer and pay for his repeat life style. I have no compassion for him or others of his ilk, and I don't see GA benefiting one bit by Hollywood glorifying his escapades.

Cary

Posted by: Cary Alburn | December 26, 2011 3:21 PM    Report this comment

Personally, I like these early quotes from Don and John Miller, the co-owners of the Corvalis that Harris-Moore stole and crashed in the Bahamas (adapted from a July 14, 2010 edition of the Seattle Times):

"He's just a kid. A kid who was misguided from the start. My God, they're judging him awfully early. I especially have sympathy toward him after reading about his mom."

"I'm not spiteful about that kid. Not one bit. You know who I want to see in jail for life? Thieves who ran hedge funds ... who embezzled ... "

The Cessna Corvalis 400, for which the two brothers paid $620,000 a little more than a year ago, was insured for $500,000, said Miller.

And yet Don Miller and his brother John say their sympathy for Harris-Moore comes from their own upbringing in a large family without much money, but one in which the parents shaped their children to be good citizens.

There were 11 children in the family, with the dad running a hardware store.

"We had one full bath among us. But you know what, we always knew we had a sanctuary when we went home," says Don Miller. "No matter what trouble we might be in, we knew they would support us."

John Miller says he wouldn't mind at all someday meeting Harris-Moore.

And what would he tell the youth?

"You know, I guess I'd just talk to him like a dad talks to his son," he says.

Posted by: Bill Menzel | December 26, 2011 4:18 PM    Report this comment

The essense of life, beautifully quoted Bill. Thank you.

Posted by: Dave Miller | December 26, 2011 5:34 PM    Report this comment

Suckers. You know what that letter says? "I'll say I'm sorry, because I have to, the lawyers tell me to. I'll parrot some lines about the poor people I victimized. But I'm special, and none of this was my fault, so I expect you to give me a break, because I want to be a test pilot and own an airplane company, and with any luck this can get people to feel sorry for me so I can play them some more". To him, your bleeding hearts are a joke and a business opportunity. He'll probably go ask the Cohens for money to go to college, then turn around and use that money for a "down payment" on an airplane he'll fly away (without a license) and never pay for.

Posted by: Mark Consigny | December 26, 2011 9:13 PM    Report this comment

When I was a kid I enjoyed any movie that had airplanes in it. Still do actually. Most of the heroes are bad examples. Douglas Bader, Iron Eagle, TopGun, they all depict 'Mavericks' that exhibit seriously flawed judgment. When I first saw those movies, I sympathized with the actors choices. In part because of my own underdeveloped judgment, in part because that's what a good actor/director attempts to achieve. In any case, the judgement improves over time, the passion for flight remains. I am in favor of a movie, and as suggested before I agree GA should co-operate fully (to gain some push of it's own agenda). Spin it into GA's advantage, turn it into a campaign, create a parody. Exploit it 10 times over. Perhaps even assist in creating a happy ending in real life : a reality series about his subsequent flight training and conversion into a decent young man, sponsored and mentored by pilots. Then, whether he fails or succeeds, GA would truly be the PR-winner. Also, look at it this way : Wall Street bozos destroyed a lot more value than he ever did/can/will, and got away without jail time. Why all the double standards ? I even think all the hatred spewed here points to a weak spot in GA. Perhaps a tiny bit of empathy should complement our cool judgments.

Posted by: Peter De Ceulaer | December 27, 2011 12:41 AM    Report this comment

Rebels, mavericks, and hotshots make for good storylines. But they probably will end up as smoking wreckage on the ground in the real world. Take flying seriously or don't fly at all. I don't take myself too seriously, but goof around with me as PIC and you will see my "bad" side.

Posted by: Matthew Lee | December 27, 2011 4:45 AM    Report this comment

I understand Yamamoto had a rough childhood, deprived of his favorite toys and all. While he was destroying our ships at Pearl Harbor we really should have served coffee and donuts to his crew, invited them to join us at church, maybe sung together and made s'mores over a campfire in the evening. There was good in that man and we could have made use of his skills. Why be rough on him?

Posted by: Ken Calman | December 27, 2011 5:14 AM    Report this comment

For all the cynics here who believe that there is no hope for Harris-Moore's future or who have no empathy for his horrible past, here is part of an article from the AOPA website. Remember: John and Don Miller, co-owners of the Cessna Corvalis, probably suffered the greatest financial loss of any of Harris-Moore's victims. Here's the excerpt from the AOPA article:

Harris-Moore stole his last aircraft July 4, 2010, from a hangar at Monroe County Airport in Bloomington, Ind. He flew John Miller’s 2008 Cessna Corvalis 400 TT to the Bahamas, where the wreckage came to rest in a mangrove swamp on Great Abaco Island. Harris-Moore was soon arrested (after stealing a boat), and pleaded guilty in June to federal charges including bank burglary, two counts of interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, interstate and foreign transportation of a stolen firearm, being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, piloting an aircraft without a valid pilot certificate, and interstate transportation of a stolen vessel.

Miller, a beer wholesaler, took a more conciliatory view of the state sentence in Washington.

“I hope that he rehabilitates himself and becomes a productive member of society. If six months in the slammer would do it, that’s fine with me,” Miller said, adding that a rehabilitated Harris-Moore might even contribute to aviation some day.

“I’m pulling for the boy,” Miller said. “An airplane’s just a bunch of bolts and nuts. My concern is always the kid.”

Posted by: Bill Menzel | December 27, 2011 10:41 AM    Report this comment

Naive compassion.

Cary

Posted by: Cary Alburn | December 28, 2011 8:35 AM    Report this comment

Naive compassion.>

An assumption either self-descriptive, or without personal knowledge of those who are embracing the compassionate view.

If compassion is thought of in terms of pity, before experience has shown one a greater perspective of life, as in the case of a child, naivite could apply.

But without knowing the experienced individual's perspective on compassion and their viewpoint on life's purpose, I find the statement 'naive compassion' to be only self-descriptive and ironically, naive.

Posted by: Dave Miller | December 28, 2011 12:06 PM    Report this comment

Amen!

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