Well, we don't have the whole story yet but what we do know is disturbing at best and a threat to the individual freedoms the federal government should be trying to protect.
According to Claude Hendrickson, of Bessemer, Ala., the feds simply seized his Douglas AD-4N Skyraider about six months after he flew it here from France, and they're not saying why.
The aircraft is sealed in a hangar at the Bessemer airport and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information coming from either Bessemer or the government.
EAA is involved a little and says it's a paperwork issue.
Theoretically that should be easy to figure out, since the FAA has already approved the import deal and the aircraft, which is magnificent, has been flying.
AVweb writer Mary Grady contacted the Department of Homeland Security and so far everyone she's talked to claims to have no direct knowledge of the seizure. Seems odd, considering the unusual nature of the item seized. Don't these folks have water coolers to gossip around?
And that's the bottom line with any dealings we've had with the DHS, of which ICE is a part. It's such a powerful agency that it doesn't answer to ordinary people who ask perfectly reasonable questions, such as: What possible national security threat does a 60-year-old warbird present that the hundreds of other warbirds flying daily in the U.S. don't.
For my money, I'd take the P-51 over a Skyraider any day in any kind of fight (or terrorist application) and there are hundreds of them flying. And what about the plethora of domestic and foreign-built jets that fly every day in the U.S. Heck, there's even a privately owned and operated Harrier approved for flight in the U.S.
Is it because this plane came from France? God, I thought we were over that. I haven't seen Freedom Fries for a long time.
Maybe the government has a perfectly good reason for impounding the aircraft and denying Claude his asset.
We'd just like to hear it.