Aircraft Taking Ground Fire At Jackson Airport (Corrected And Updated)


A Physicians Air Transport King Air 200 medevac aircraft was hit by a bullet while parked at Hawkins Field in Jackson, Mississippi, on Monday and local officials didn’t seem very surprised. Apparently a dispute over the city’s garbage collection contract has led to people on the ground taking potshots near the airport “I don’t think it helped that they put the garbage trucks on the airport’s property. It’s a lot of hate now for the airport, and some are shooting guns at planes and that isn’t the answer,” city councilman Kenneth Stokes told WJTV. He called for more police enforcement.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the airplane says it’s likely out of action for a while and suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. “A random shot was fired from about 700 feet that way on the eastern boundary of Hawkins Field, and the trajectory hit this airplane on the upper cowling,” said David Hood, a pilot with Physicians Air Transport. Hood said the plane will likely be out of action for an extended period and that will hurt health care in the region. “We missed a lot of flights because of this, and the chance to help a lot of people, and it’s going to be down for I don’t know how long,” said Hood.

An earlier version of this story, based on an early report, said the aircraft was in the air when it was hit. A later story from another news source says the aircraft was in a hangar. The bullet went through the cowling and hit the engine and damage is now estimated at $250,000.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I lived in the Jackson region for quite a while and have flown in/out of Hawkins over a number of years. I suspect that the people shooting at planes don’t have the ability to comprehend that the airplanes have nothing to do with the garbage service, nor how serious it is to shoot at an aircraft. In their community, gunfire is a standard way to address conflict. Maybe we could let a couple of A-10s shoot an approach there and respond to any aggression.

    • I fully support this kind of response. We have many regions in the US that need to be Napalmed. Who knows… it may come to this sooner than you think.

  2. Whose wise idea was it to park the garbage trucks on the airport?

    Be more cost effective to move the garbage trucks, police cannot prevent shootings, just react to them.

    • If it’s like any other airport there’s probably ample, unused ramp space. Maybe, just maybe, if not everyone was allowed to have a gun. Maybe, I don’t know, some sort of background checks and licensing? You know, like what it takes to own and operate an airplane. Won’t solve every problem, but might, just might, reduce it a bit.

      • But if a person has little enough respect for the law that they would shoot at someone, what makes anyone think they would give a rat’s @$$ whether the gun they do it with is legal, or was acquired in a legal manor?

      • You must be a complete idiot or ideologue if you believe the BS you are spouting about gun control. Not just anyone can buy a gun. There ARE already background checks, absolutely none of which can predict if a person will shoot at a plane. Prosecution of crimes is the deterrent to criminal acts. Taking away rights for things people Might do is tyrannical. FFS.

  3. “…and some are shooting guns at planes and that isn’t the answer”

    I bet in today’s America there are enough wackos who think this kind of behavior IS the answer…

    “Stricter gun laws? Who needs stricter gun laws?”

    • Stricter gun laws. Of course! Because then that will deter criminal activity, and then no one will be shooting at airplanes. Oh, wait…

    • Stricter Gun Laws, yeh since we know clearly that these kinds of criminal always follow laws. Maybe they should make a law against shooting at planes…..of wait.

    • The act was illegal already. Why do you think stricter gun laws would help? I suppose when someone at your airport violates a rule, you want the rules changed to give you more trouble when you use your plane?

      It’s almost like our founders thought of this reaction in the beginning, isn’t it?

    • When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

      Such as the gangsters in Surrey BC, the bank robbers in Saanich BC (well armed with bullet-resistant vests which are illegal for civilians to own, and with explosives).

      With a range of weapons in use in Canada – machettes the latest used to threaten and maim innocents. On top of broken bottles, knives, baseball bats (some with sharp things embedded in them), etc.)

      • The inconvenient fact that the gun lobby doesn’t want to acknowledge. No of guns per per 100 persons
        US = 120
        Canada = 30

        Percent of crimes involving guns
        US = 8 %
        Canada = 2.5 %

        Canada has its share of people suffering from serious mental health issues and delusional people who have gone down the rabbit hole of the social media conspiracy networks that lead to bizarre outcomes like this aircraft shooting.

        The difference is they generally don’t have an unfettered access to firearms. As a Canadian I am grateful for that.

        • Canada is full of Canadians. Canadians and Americans have been involved in somewhat of a self sorting for over two centuries.

          I’ve lived in Canada, and highly recommend it to people who prefer it. I do not. I’ll go for vacation, and only as long as I can afford an air ambulance if needing hospitalization.

          Had their pajama boy leader tried his pandemic nonsense here, I think we can all agree it would not have gone over well. The problem here is cultural and political, not accessibility (though I will admit we might get some marginal improvements with reduced accessibility). We’d do much better by simply changing the attitude from entitlement to personal responsibility.

          Finally, picking stupid stats is a low form of debate. If the participants don’t agree the stats are meaningful and accurate, they settle nothing. Given the statistic on statistics that better than 90% of the studies are inaccurate, it’s especially lame. I know people with BIG gun collections. Most of the guns are rarely fired at all. 30 per hundred is more than enough to get US results.

  4. Do they have very long straight roads in Jackson so aircraft can load, taxi up to the bins, empty them, and then take off again with the garbage?
    Or have they some sort of suction device like those used to unload grain from ships and people put all the garbage in one pile and the aircraft trails a hose to suck it up — pilots who love low and slow can now get paid for doing it?
    We need to know.

  5. I haven’t joined the Divestiture Of Common Sense event in The Race To The Bottom Show – now streaming! – yet. Could someone explain how airplanes operating from the local airport have a connectable dot to garbage collection?

    • Apparently only that the garbage trucks are parked on airport property. What I fail to see is what shooting guns at airplanes has to do with garbage trucks. It’s as idiotic as shooting at cars on a road because the road construction is taking so long.

      Sad that we live in a world where one has to be on the lookout for NOTAMs warning of “numerous gun shots in the area” (I don’t know if there actually is one, but it sounds like it’s a known issue and that there should be one).

      • Ah, but the shooters likely own cars, so they don’t think cars should be targets. It’s amazing how logic flies out the window when you ever point out problems with automobile use. Those things are out of bounds.

        It’s stories like these that should remind us of the problems with governing, and that we should stop electing clowns. (And that’s a truly bipartisan statement btw, so guys can not react like I’m picking on their sides).

      • A brother said ‘Common sense isn’t.’ but later lost any he had, became toady for hot head wife who makes vicious false allegations and tries to control people on religious grounds.

    • It’s only a guess but maybe they’re venting against rich elites who have private airplanes.

  6. Next, someone in the community will complain about the unavailability of medical transport and blame it on evil corporations.

  7. Looks like it’s time to add hostile airport training proceedures to the checkride requirements.

  8. Well gall dang it! Don’t see nuthin heah some double ‘O’ buck can’t fix right up. Just tell them commies from Washington you spotted Obama and Hillary walking around sayin’ they was lookin’ for Hunter and Joe. Hellfire tarnation, told them to git and set the dogs on them. They’s was a hightailing it, headed godless north last time we eyed them.

  9. Another news source has greater detail about the incident. My assumption was the plane was shot while in the air but it was actually in a hangar when hit:

    “The pilot said he was standing in the hanger at Hawkins Field on the phone when he heard a loud ping. As he checked out the plane, he found a bullet hole in what’s known as the upper cowling. After removing that piece, they found the bullet also struck a part of the engine.”

    Now the questions really begin – was it a stray shot? Or was someone aiming at the plane? Or were they aiming at something (or someone) else and hit the plane instead?

  10. Wow! Bein’ a city boy raised in NYC, I can see shooting at aircraft in KLGA, KJFK, and Newark based on every illegal weapon owned by criminals but it just doesn’t happen. A few years ago when drones were the new play thing, the morons deliberately flew them into final approaches as flight crews identified them just before landing. The radio control groups probably reached out to everyone in the drone community to stop the stupidity resulting in less sightings. Some drone fliers are cognizant since rules mandated programmed no fly zones into embedded chips to prevent flight. No more drone interference at the three major airports in NYC.

    Shooting at aircraft may be another example of redneck ignorance.

    • It’s not redneck; that group largely moved out of Jackson long ago. Jackson turned very, very dark years ago, and the majority residents’ mental capacity to reason has been dropping like a rock. I’d bet the shooter held his/her (likely his) firearm sideways when firing – they look cool that way.

      • Hat on sideways, pants down to his knees, and pumping his gun hand back and forth like punching with each shot.

  11. I don’t buy it. That conclusion sounds like an apologist fantasy on the part of the councilman. It’s rare but sport shooting at aircraft is not new and I’m not surprised by the looks of the hell hole around the airport.

  12. The simple solution for this kind of thing is to arm the tower controllers, the airport operations employees and the FBO employees. Also all airplanes should carry armed guards and the planes should be retro-fitted with armor plating.

    • Only way to stop a bad guy with a gun shooting at an airplane, is to have a good guy with a gun mounted on an airplane.

  13. I’ve been a gun owner for sixty years and live in the woods in the South. We cull our deer population with rifle and bow. We eat well.

    You know who doesn’t have this sort of problem with firearms? Every other first-world nation on the planet, by a huge margin. There, you can still buy and use a firearm for hunting and sport after satisfying substantial training and competency requirements. Then there are rules about where you can use it, recurrent training, who you can sell it to, and so forth.

    Sort of like the federal rules we have about owning and using an airplane, actually. In the US, in general, the less likely the aircraft is to kill someone else, the easier it is to acquire and use. Good luck getting someone to sell you a Warthog with only 50 hrs. in your logbook, but if you aren’t a felon you can by a semi-automatic AR-15 (or a fully-automatic one, if you know a friend of a friend).

    Now compare the non-participant fatality rate of aircraft vs. firearms and tell me, with a straight face, that we don’t need similar control of guns.

    Image if every firearm was required to have an un-hackable chip in it that broadcast its serial number wherever it went. If it went into a liquor store at the same time as a robbery occurred, it wouldn’t be hard to find. And god help the owner if it penetrated the Automatic Detection System / Broadcast veil around a school …

    • Sounds like you’re ready to repeal the second amendment.
      Please advise how that works out for you.

    • Imagine how much less controversial regulating guns would be if there were not freedom hating fools in government determined to outlaw them.

      I could easily see training requirements being something most NRA members would be for if it were not for politicians and bureaucrats showing every intent to deny 2A rights.

  14. PDK in Atlanta use to have a garbage dump located at the airport… birds were the real airplane killer there. Now the VOR built on top of the old dump is an explosion hazard with the leaking methane gas from the dump.

    • Ouch.

      Yes, YVR had a problem with seagulls nesting at the end of Point Grey and feeding at the garbage dump in Delta to the SE – flying across the airport between.

      YVR has much experience with trying to control birds.

      One day a Pacific Western Airlines 707 took birds into two engines soon after liftoff from YVR, shut down one, amazing the other kept running. Sickening to look at the engines on the ground. I said might as well just tape a cheque for a quarter million and ship it to the overhaul shop.

    • Hafta burn it to generate electricity, as done at the Victoria BC landfill.

      Plumbing I don’t know how they did, but its Hartland facility of Capital Regional District.

      Now they are trying to make a deal to feed it to the natural gas distributor.

  15. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to a King Air 200 cowling or even if there was damage to some part of the engine? What BS!!!. The actual loss might be to lost revenue and inability to acquire a replacement part these day, now that might be reasonable.

    • From the pictures, the bullet dented what appears to be the exhaust chamber (I’m not sure of the correct term). It looks like the engine would have to be split in half in order to repair or replace that component.

      I don’t know what that costs, but I can’t imagine it being cheap.

      • A specific advantage of the PT-6 is that the engine is designed to be easily split in half. The hot gas generating system can be removed while leaving the rear (intake/compression) section in the plane.

        I suppose, though, that ‘easily’ is a relative term . . .

  16. Chip is suffering from dementia. I am an octogenarian also and there’s no way I want to live in a country that tells me when, where, how much, I can shoot. Or when or if I can buy or sell my guns (plural). If that’s how you want to live then get going cause we don’t need you. May be we should turn over the whole country to the criminals and let them make the laws. Or maybe we should outlaw trucks and automobiles as there are thousands of time more people that are killed by them (or maybe their drivers) then by guns. Or maybe we should let women murder all the babies they want oh wait we already do. Maybe I should be allowed to murder my wife because she has become inconvenient to live with and is causing me a financial burden. Take all the guns from every lawful citizen and the gun deaths will not go down infact I predict that they will increase…. Just my 50 cents worth.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, Russell, but last year (2021) gun deaths surpassed transportation fatalities.
      Traffic related deaths – 42,900 (source NHTSA)
      Gun related deaths – 45,200 (source FBI)
      Admittedly, suicides and accidental shootings accounted for 55% of the deaths and murders, 45%. But, one of the goals in enacting red flag laws is to identify individuals who are a danger to themselves or to their domestic partners (i.e. Murder/suicide). There are no easy answers, but doing nothing is no longer an option.

      • And yet how many times a day do we see calls to improve driver training or have recurrent testing?

        Much like how actual gun violations are rarely prosecuted while technical licensing issues (which the ATF, even worse than the FAA, bases on ever changing “interpretations”) are handed out by the ton to otherwise law abiding citizens, the most dangerous auto drivers just keep driving and are rarely incarcerated.

        I’m a big fan of laws that effectively punish real offenses or deter criminal behavior. Unfortunately, gun laws mostly harass the law abiding. Never see those proposed though.

  17. Hopefully, as America continues its downward slide into a third-world country, the FAA will get on board and introduce or mandate tactical approaches for certain cities.

  18. YARS, I see no reason to repeal the Second Amendment, as archaic and irrelevant as it is. I was merely drawing a parallel between gun ownership and usage and aircraft ownership and usage.

    But I do wish the spittle-spewing defenders of the Second Amendment knew a little history, or would read its entire text, starting with “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State”. The framers were concerned about states having to defend themselves against a Federal army, and were reliant on volunteers who could form a loose (and temporary) local militia.

    This has happened. Gov. Faubus activated the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine Black students from attending the Little Rock Central High School in 1954, despite the Supreme Court ruling striking down school segregation. Ike then sent in the 101st Airborne troops in to take over the Arkansas National Guard and to protect the students. So a lot of damn good it did Arkansas to have “a well regulated Militia”, ignorantly-applied as it was. BTW, the ANG had its own armory; they didn’t need its members to bring their own firearms.

    At the time the Second Amendment was crafted, it was literally inconceivable that a teenager would take his deer-hunting musket into a school and kill children. And the pistols of the day were quite expensive and as likely to maim the shooter as hit its target.

    As for “how it works out” for me, I (and every other American) are in far more daily danger from idiots with guns than the Army.

  19. You want to exercise the second amendment as and when it was written, fine. You get a musket, a pouch of lead balls and a powder horn.
    Second Amendment is about as relevant to modern existence as a Bleriot is to a B-747. Would you use maintenance practices and pilot training from that era?
    Goofballs and hoodlums are allowed to walk down the street in some States with AR-15 slung on their shoulders, the essence and height of insanity.

    • It was written as “arms”, not “muskets”, because they were referring to weapons of war in general, not to any specific type. They obviously knew that weapons technology was continuously being advanced – after all, multi-shot guns (e.g., revolvers) date back to the 16th century.

      The amendment IS being exercised as it was written.

  20. You anti 2nd amendment folks should go live where it does not exist instead of trying to screw all the rest of America. What about “shall not be infringed” do you not understand? If you think the rest of Us agree with you then please explain why since the present idiot was elected Millions and millions (record amounts) and ammo have been purchased by law abiding citizen’s. and before the 2024 election the records will be broken many fold. America must sense some thing is going to happen where they NEED to be armed.

  21. If by “America” you mean the majority of Americans, they actually favor stricter gun laws (but not repealing the 2nd amendment). It’s been that way for the last 30 years. In addition, the majority of Americans don’t own a gun so I guess they don’t feel the “NEED to be armed” as you say.
    But the fringe right feeds on paranoia and conspiracy theories, fed to them by cable TV news and the internet. And that’s why they feel the NEED to be armed.

  22. The 4th of July was brought to you by private citizens with guns. If you remember history, the government back then was taxing everything in sight and treating the populace unfairly, kinda like the present one. If a politician says you don’t need any guns, you’d better have some guns.

  23. It’s a sad irony in America that the best sales pitch for selling guns and ammunition is the latest mass shooting. Every time one of the tragic killings occur, people run out and stock up fearing that this time, the government might actually succeed in outlawing guns. In reality, that is about as likely to happen as someone selling a well-equipped LSA for under $100 grand. Ain’t ever going to happen! Let me be clear: I own several guns – both handguns and rifles. I will also defend the second amendment along with the rest of you. But, considering that more people are now dying from gun violence than die in traffic accidents, we all need to sit down and figure out some common sense ways to limit the carnage. My daughter teaches fourth grade in a Texas public school, so the Uvalde massacre hits too close to home for me. I’ll be damned if I will sit back and do nothing. So let’s all stop calling each other names and start working on ways to make America safer. This is not a political party issue. The second amendment isn’t going anywhere. But in the words of Gene Krantz (Apollo 13 flight director), “Failure is not an option”.

    • Unfortunately, the middle cannot hold. You cannot get any effective government out of legislative bodies whose members are more afraid of extremist primary contenders than the other party. I see no other solution than an anti incumbent movement.