Authorities in Missouri arrested a Turkish-born Canadian alleged to be the pilot of a Cessna 172 stolen from a flight school in Thunder Bay, Ont. and the subject of a low speed chase across the Midwest on Monday. Officials at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ont. called police when a man was spotted hopping the fence at the Thunder Bay Airport and jumping into one of its 172s for an “unauthorized flight.” The pilot, identified as Yavus Burke, but who called himself Adam Leon, apparently picked a plane that was full of fuel because he coaxed about 1,000 nm out of it before setting down on a dirt road near Ellsinore, Mo. The state capitol in Madison, Wisc. was evacuated as the 172 passed overhead around 5 p.m. and the aircraft had plenty of company along the way.
NORAD responded, of course, and the 172 was shadowed throughout by F-16s. NORAD spokesman Lt-Cmdr Gary Ross told reporters the Cessna pilot wouldn’t answer the radio, nor did he respond to hand signals from the Viper pilots. He did not elaborate on the decision making process that allowed the 172 flight to reach its natural conclusion. AOPA President Craig Fuller issued a statement late Monday saying the end result “demonstrates the effectiveness of today’s security procedures.” He commended Canadian and U.S. security forces for their handling of the incident.