Colton Harris-Moore And The Fallout For GA
A 19-year-old managed to steal (at least) five airplanes, allegedly, and eluded capture each time, which means "basically, anybody that wants to steal a plane can," attorney John Greaves told AOL news. Writing for AOL in an article titled ""Barefoot Bandit" Case Hints at Gap in National Security," contributor David Lohr asks, "If Harris-Moore did, in fact, successfully steal five airplanes, couldn't a terrorist do the same?" Lohr did ask AOPA for a response and media relations director Chris Dancy obliged. Dancy noted that small aircraft do not make good terrorist weapons. "It's far easier to get a car or truck and load it," Dancy said. Harris-Moore's alleged nine-state, 70-count crime spree may or may not have an effect on the public's perception of general aviation security, but there are at least five aircraft owners feeling a direct effect. And the most recent of them appear to be facing a significant financial loss.
John and Don Miller are two brothers from Indiana and co-owners of the very young Cessna Corvalis 400 that Harris-Moore allegedly stole and damaged while landing in a Bahamian marsh. The brothers bought the aircraft just over one year ago for $620,000. They insured it for $500,000 and estimate their current situation may hand them a loss somewhere in the ballpark of $50,000 to $75,000. The Miller brothers, so far, hold little ill-will for the teenager. "He's just a kid. A kid who was misguided from the start," Don Miller told the Seattle Times. His brother John added, "I'm not spiteful about that kid. Not one bit," adding that if he ever met Harris-Moore, "I guess I'd just talk to him like a dad talks to his son." A court hearing was set for Friday in the Bahamas to determine the young man's bail, his legal representation and when he should return to Seattle to face federal charges for an airplane theft there.
Paul Bertorelli reacts on the AVweb Insider blog.