Pilot spots theft at his home from his airplane


The thief looks like a real winner, eh? From his photograph, he looks as if he doesn’t have enough brain cells to figure out that if an aircraft is orbiting your position for ten minutes, the pilot just might be looking at you. Anyone think he looks a bit like Rygel from Farscape?

For the planespotters: It’s a Cessna 182G Skylane manufactured in 1964.

Well no one said thieves were smart, nice one. Thanks for sharing


I saw that. I’d be taking pot shots at him! What’s he gonna do - call the cops?

Ossifer! That airplane was a-shootin at me!:smiley:

Gives a whole new meaning to “Hey, I can see my house from up here!”

All you needed know was in the sentence that contained the words: “Glades County, Fla.”

It seems like if something crazy is going to happen; the state of Florida is going to mentioned somewhere.

The text at that link says the pilot called the cops from the air and continued to follow the thief, but the video says the pilot landed first, then called the cops. The former makes more sense, but the discrepancy is interesting.

What, has California been dethroned?

I caught that too. It’s possible that he didn’t have a mobile phone with him, or that it may have been too noisy in the aircraft to use it in flight. (I learned to fly without headphones, and you can converse in slightly elevated tones; but using a mobile without a headset may be problematic. Cessnas are not particularly quiet.) Personally, I would contact the controlling authority over the radio and have them contact police while I followed the culprit.

Yeah, unless fuel was low, I’d hate to lose the considerable advantage of being able to follow the bastard and report his position in real time no matter where he goes.

Generally speaking cell phone signals do not work above about 300f/100m, it’s a waste of antenna power.


I found this, but the cited source is no longer available:

If the pilot was at his stated altitude of 300 feet AGL, that certainly seems to be within limits. A Cessna 182 has a top speed of about 140 kts. or so, and if the pilot was following the thief then his speed would have been well below that – most likely about 60 or 70 knots. So speed would not have been a factor.

I got that info from a guy that worked in cell voice/data testing. He explained to me that cell towers were directed towards earth. I am supposed to have a few drinks with him tonight. I will see what he says. I can’t see why speed would have much of an effect on reception unless there is something specific in the cell to cell switching software, we are dealing with radio waves afterall. I will get back with you on this.



This is why you use a 2 meter repeater with an autopatch!

Or just radio a buddy and have them call 911.

I’ve been able to send and receive text messages at about 10,000’. (I’ve never had a need to make a voice call.)

Nonsense. You might have a problem at 30,000 ft, but not at low altitude and at low speeds like light planes. In fact, they work much better at slight elevations because whatever tower is near is probably line-of-sight with no trees or buildings in the way.

Celphone towers transmit directionally, true – they don’t point straight up – but the beam is relatively (vertically) wide, and must account for terrain, distance and other obstacles or it wouldn’t be of much practical use.

At 10,000 feet or so, your main problem is that you have too many possible towers to communicate with, not too few. This pilot was at 300 ft for part of his flight, an ideal height, and probably close to stall speed to match the ground action, so he wasn’t going too fast for the towers to handle hand-off. The noise in the cockpit was probably the biggest problem.

Given what has been posted by others, I can only assume that I misunderstood my buddy. I will talk to him about this. Thanks for correcting me.


Plus there was that one incident that happened back on Sept 11 some years ago where several people were calling their loved ones and 911 on their cell phones from an airplane that probably wasn’t flying under 300 feet at the time.

Actually, two of them were, but not for long.

Had the chat with cell tech boy hoo boy,
US cell standard is CDMA, turns out all commercial aircraft have had CDMA antennas since '93 apparently lots of private aircraft have them as well. CDMA plus EVDO(? There were drinks involved) are used for ground and satellite communications hence the “turn your cellphone off” announcement preflight to prevent interference.

CDMA antennas make giant fingers, imagine a palm tree, this is why you can be close to a cell tower and get no reception. GSM, the standard for most of the world, and Analog both push up and out, out up to 20mi/32km. All three standards travel up to about 300ft/100m excepting terrain and buildings, of course.

Ever notice the stubby antennas on police car trunks? PCDMA, CDMA antennas for the police.

This is not my personal knowledge, this all comes from my tech buddy JR


“Cellular experts privately admit that they’re surprised the calls were able to be placed from the hijacked planes, and that they lasted as long as they did. They speculate that the only reason that the calls went through in the first place is that the aircraft were flying so close to the ground (http://www.elliott.org/technology/2001/cellpermit.htm)”

From a quick Google search I see you are right. That isn’t the way the popular press portrayed it. Ignorance fought… thank you.

I believe only Sprint and Verizon are CDMA, and AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM. But I could be mistaken.