• NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.
  • Logbook Pro for Apple iOS version 8.1 is now available on the App Store. Major update including signature endorsements and dark/light theme support. Click here to install now.

How Do You Steal a Plane?

cynic

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 7, 2004
Posts
1,541
Total Time
> 1500
Explainer is a great series.


How Do You Steal a Plane?

Open the door and get in.
By Daniel Engber
Posted Thursday, Oct. 13, 2005, at 3:15 PM PT

On Wednesday, police arrested a 22-year-old man for stealing a $7 million, 10-passenger jet plane from a runway in Florida and flying it 350 miles to Georgia; apparently, he nicked the plane for kicks. How do you steal an airplane? Climb into the cockpit and start it up. Some airplanes are easier to steal than others. It's pretty much impossible to make off with a commercial airliner, for example. In addition to circumventing the tight security and ever-present ground crews at major airports, the thief would have to get up to an airplane door that's several stories above the ground. But smaller planes, like single-engine Cessnas and corporate jets, are easy targets. About a dozen of these planes are stolen from runways and hangars every year.
Joy riders account for a small proportion of all plane thefts; experts say the others may be attributed to criminal organizations that smuggle drugs across the Mexican border. More common than plane thieves are plane burglars, who don't even bother to start the plane once they break into the cockpit. They just unscrew some fancy avionics equipment and run away. (There are 60 or 70 such incidents each year.)
Getting into a small plane isn't too difficult. Even airports with locked hangars often have a fair number of planes out in the open. After 9/11, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association put together a community policing program and crime-reporting hotline. Pilots are told to call in any suspicious activity around parked planes. Among the things to look out for: "Anyone who misuses aviation lingo—or seems too eager to use all the lingo." (Click here for a video re-enactment of a thwarted plane theft, about four and a half minutes into the clip.)
If a robber makes it up to the side of a plane, he may find its door unlocked. Given that there are more than 600,000 general aviation pilots in the United States and only a dozen thefts per year, owners tend not to be too concerned about security. Even a paranoid pilot might want to leave his door unlocked: An avionics burglar who breaks into a cockpit with a crowbar could inflict structural damage that ends up costing more than the stolen equipment.
Once the thief gets into the cockpit, he'll have to start the plane. Like cars, most propeller planes have key ignitions. (Older models may have a start button instead.) Hot-wiring a plane, however, is easier than hot-wiring a car. Since planes are built to be as light as possible, their dashboards are relatively easy to disassemble, and the wires beneath are more easily exposed. Some larger planes, like the corporate jet that was stolen in Florida, have locks on the exterior cabin door but no key ignition in the cockpit. To start one of these planes, you just need to know the right sequences of switches to flip and buttons to press.
Small plane owners can secure their property by installing "prop locks," which immobilize propellers in the same way that a boot can immobilize a car. Throttle locks are more like the security clubs drivers attach to their steering wheels; they affix to control equipment inside the cockpit. In some types of corporate jets, owners can remove certain electrical components like the battery cables when the plane is not in use. Others have keypad security systems in the cockpit that shut down the engine when the wrong code is entered.
Got a question about today's news? document.write("")[EMAIL="explainer@slate.com"]Ask the Explainer.document.write('');[/EMAIL]
Explainer thanks Robert J. Collins of the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute, Chris Dancy of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Dan Hubbard of the National Business Aviation Association.
 

PA31Ho

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2003
Posts
431
Total Time
>2500
Hate to say it, but my brother knew this kid quite well. Aparently the kid that stole the Airlplane (Andrew I believe) used to fly on Vatsim - some sort of virtual ATC linked to MS Flight Simulator over the internet. Anyway, he had been flying on flight sim together for quite some time. Such a small world....
 

FN FAL

Freight Dawgs Rule
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Posts
8,573
Total Time
7,000+
cynic said:
Among the things to look out for: "Anyone who misuses aviation lingo—or seems too eager to use all the lingo."
O.K. I'm guilty...lock me up.

cynic said:
If a robber makes it up to the side of a plane, he may find its door unlocked.
hmmmmm a "robber"...why do the let morons write news stories?

Robbery, is using force or the threat of force to take something of value away from a live person. You cannot rob a dwelling, a building, a car, a lunch pail, an airplane or a space shuttle.
 

100LL... Again!

youwantapieceofme??
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Posts
1,533
Total Time
4000+
FN FAL said:
O.K. I'm guilty...lock me up.

hmmmmm a "robber"...why do the let morons write news stories?

Robbery, is using force or the threat of force to take something of value away from a live person. You cannot rob a dwelling, a building, a car, a lunch pail, an airplane or a space shuttle.

If that is the case, why does the Hamburglar say "robble, robble".
 

Bluto

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2001
Posts
1,147
Total Time
>4000
Aha, you said it yourself, though, he is the hamburglar, not the hamrobber. Although he seems pretty shady to me, I don't think he's above robbery.
 

FN FAL

Freight Dawgs Rule
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Posts
8,573
Total Time
7,000+
100LL... Again! said:
If that is the case, why does the Hamburglar say "robble, robble".
:beer:
 

pilot91101

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2005
Posts
15
Total Time
6000+
Here are the directions.....
1. Mixture -- RICH
2. Carburetor Heat -- COLD
3. Prime -- AS REQUIRED, IN, and LOCKED
4. Throttle -- OPEN 1/2 INCH
5. Master Switch -- ON
6. Rotating Beacon -- ON
7. Propeller Area -- CLEAR
8. Ignition Switch -- START (RELEASE when engine starts)
9. Throttle -- ADJUST for 1000 RPM or less
10. Oil Pressure -- CHECK
11. Mixture -- LEAN for Max RPM's, or RICH below 3000'
12. Radios, Avionics Power Switch -- ON
13. Transponder -- Standby

NEXT
1. Wing Flaps -- 0° - 10°
2. Carburetor Heat -- COLD
3. Throttle -- FULL OPEN
4. Elevator Control -- LIFT NOSE WHEEL at 50 KIAS
5. Climb Speed -- 65-75 KIAS
 

SCT

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Posts
1,464
Total Time
......
I read where the guy had a Ce500 type. How many hrs did he have at 22 yrs old? Did he any Ce650 experience?

Just wondering, because a 650 is alot more complex then a straight wing 500. If I remember right, you had to do a manuver to "center" the yoke with before you could even start taxing. It's just a different animal then a straight wing 500.

Just wondering.
 

erj-145mech

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 13, 2002
Posts
1,071
Total Time
1350
According to the FAA airman registry, he has a C/IA JET rating, which I assume to be Commander/Israeli Jet/1121. No Cessna type listed.

With Microsoft Flight Sim, you can just jump in the real deal after a few hours self check out to go from point A to point B as long as nothing goes haywire.
 

the_dimwit

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Posts
50
Total Time
...
erj-145mech said:
With Microsoft Flight Sim, you can just jump in the real deal after a few hours self check out to go from point A to point B as long as nothing goes haywire.

Actually, you're not that far off. I have "played" with Flight Sim for years, and the latest version (FS 2004) is quite realistic. Some of the payware designers have worked to recreate the aircrafts' systems down to the minute detail. The user manuals for some of those planes take hours to understand. Overhead panels, fuel systems, etc. are detailed thanks to consulting w/ aircraft manufacturers and testers.

Add to that the aforementioned Vatsim, where a Flight Sim user can fly while interacting with live atc (either text or voice), and the experience gets real quite quickly.

Once a person has been "flying" an airplane on the computer for a while, I'd suppose the real thing wouldn't be that hard. Of course, I don't think I'd be able to hop into a 747 and go to China, but stealing a few hours in a twin wouldn't be unthinkable.

--Dim
 

zkmayo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 16, 2002
Posts
342
Total Time
9000+
pilot91101 said:
Here are the directions.....
1. Mixture -- RICH
2. Carburetor Heat -- COLD
3. Prime -- AS REQUIRED, IN, and LOCKED
4. Throttle -- OPEN 1/2 INCH
5. Master Switch -- ON
6. Rotating Beacon -- ON
7. Propeller Area -- CLEAR
8. Ignition Switch -- START (RELEASE when engine starts)
9. Throttle -- ADJUST for 1000 RPM or less
10. Oil Pressure -- CHECK
11. Mixture -- LEAN for Max RPM's, or RICH below 3000'
12. Radios, Avionics Power Switch -- ON
13. Transponder -- Standby

NEXT
1. Wing Flaps -- 0° - 10°
2. Carburetor Heat -- COLD
3. Throttle -- FULL OPEN
4. Elevator Control -- LIFT NOSE WHEEL at 50 KIAS
5. Climb Speed -- 65-75 KIAS

I would argue that you only need to do #s 1,4,5,8 in the top list and only #s 3 and 5 from the bottom list. Everything else is wasting time. I would omit #13 or change it to OFF. LOL
 
Last edited:

FN FAL

Freight Dawgs Rule
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Posts
8,573
Total Time
7,000+
the_dimwit said:
Actually, you're not that far off. I have "played" with Flight Sim for years, and the latest version (FS 2004) is quite realistic. Some of the payware designers have worked to recreate the aircrafts' systems down to the minute detail. The user manuals for some of those planes take hours to understand. Overhead panels, fuel systems, etc. are detailed thanks to consulting w/ aircraft manufacturers and testers.

Add to that the aforementioned Vatsim, where a Flight Sim user can fly while interacting with live atc (either text or voice), and the experience gets real quite quickly.

Once a person has been "flying" an airplane on the computer for a while, I'd suppose the real thing wouldn't be that hard. Of course, I don't think I'd be able to hop into a 747 and go to China, but stealing a few hours in a twin wouldn't be unthinkable.

--Dim
To a certain degree, I can agree with you. People who are going to be in the military or police, should play paintball with the rest of the indigs that do it. Why? because simulated armed confrontation yields lots of learning experience. However, playing paintball doesn't teach you everything there is about department policy, real guns, imediate action drills, or a few other things that Bill Jordan would tell you are "hooey".
 

SCT

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Posts
1,464
Total Time
......
"With Microsoft Flight Sim, you can just jump in the real deal after a few hours self check out to go from point A to point B as long as nothing goes haywire."


......forget going to those over priced Flight Safety Recurrent classes every year...... ..
 

User546

The Ultimate Show Stopper
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Posts
1,959
Total Time
+1500
I read somewhere that his father flies the Citation VII for a medical company. If thats true, then he'd have easy access to operation manuals and procedures to further give him the ability to do something like this.

And I have to agree, MS Flight Sim can be extremely realistic - atleast to the point of allowing someone to fly and operate an aircraft.. I've taught a couple students who had been flight-simmers long before they started training, and it was amazing how ahead of the game they were for beginners. Really made a big difference.
 

the_dimwit

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2004
Posts
50
Total Time
...
FN FAL said:
However, playing paintball doesn't teach you everything there is about department policy, real guns, imediate action drills, or a few other things that Bill Jordan would tell you are "hooey".

You're right, of course, although I have no idea who Bill Jordan is. Anything simulated does not convey real-life experiences--it only gives you a concept from which to work.

As far as the Flight Sim experience is concerned, there are ways to give the "pilot" a somewhat true-to-life experience. Virtual airlines are managed in much the same way as the real ones: Poorly, and with little to no common sense. (There are a few that are pretty good, though.) There are even add-on programs that record how good or bad a flight is, compute the effects on the airplane, and then deduct points. Another twist to that is the program that lets you manage the aircraft, complete with money for repairs. The good flights make you money, but if your "passengers" are not happy due to a bounced landing (or getting lost and taking too long to get to a destination), you will lose revenue.

The point I'm trying to make is this: Virtual flying is not the same as the real thing, but it's awfully close.

--Dim
 

Dr Pokenhiemer

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Posts
301
Total Time
9000+
This guy has--or HAD--a Westwind type, not Citation.
 

FN FAL

Freight Dawgs Rule
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Posts
8,573
Total Time
7,000+
the_dimwit said:
You're right, of course, although I have no idea who Bill Jordan is. Anything simulated does not convey real-life experiences--it only gives you a concept from which to work.
--Dim
Bill Jordan wrote "no second place winners" and was a highly regarded memeber of the US Border Patrol back in the day when men were men and women liked it.

As far as simulation goes, I have found that approaches on desk top sim helped with situational awarenes prior to going on a trip. I have also found that playing paint ball yields similar results. I'm sure that persons who looked at being great skydivers found that wind tunnel time helped out as well...and I'm not joking, there are wind tunnels for practicing skydiving.

However, that windtunnel will not teach you what to do, when you backing up against power lines and a row of houses, when a freak gust front hits the airport and you have to pull a rabbit out of your hat. (I'm still living that story down and I am living to tell the tail).
 
Top