A First Solo Cross-Country to Remember


We all remember our first solo flights but some are more memorable than others. A 69-year-old student on his first solo cross-country flight got lost last Sunday and stumbled into the busy airspace around Indianapolis International Airport. FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro told the Indianapolis Star that controllers tracked the plane flown by Keith Sharpe to within three miles of the airport and finally made contact with him. They directed him to land immediately. Three aircraft waiting to land circled the airport waiting for Sharpe’s plane to clear the runway.

The Star says Sharpe told airport police he thought he was landing at Lafayette Airport and was trying to raise the Lafayette tower on the radio. Molinaro said that when contact was finally made (he didn’t say how) the decision was made to bring him into Indianapolis. “We determined that if he wasn’t sure where he was, we wanted to land him right away,” he said. “We didn’t want to take any chances with him being up in the air.” The FAA is considering citing him for violating airspace regulations. Sharpe declined to comment to the Star about the incident.