Secret 'no-fly' zone?

Sailplane pilot arrested after not violating airspace

In a nutshell: A sailplane pilot flew a single pass over a nuclear power plant as he searched for rising air currents. The sailplane’s flight recorder indicated the aircraft was at a legal altitude. The pilot was ‘advised’ to land, whereupon he was arrested by the local sheriff for ‘flying very close to the nuclear plant dome in a ‘no fly zone’.


He can sue for false arrest. It’s probably not worth the effort.

Other stories have reported that he reluctantly agreed not to sue the cops as part of having the charges dismissed the next day. So, it’s just another case of “Respect mah authoritah!” that blew up in their faces - that doesn’t necessarily happen in less heavily reported cases. Now, that sunglassed deppity is going to have to get an even bigger gun to compensate for his hurt feelings …

Since when does a county sheriff have any jurisdiction on airspace?

The Sheriff responds.

So basically, ‘We didn’t know what to do.’ [Even after the department’s own pilots pointed out that there is no flight restriction.) ‘Hey, Security called us. We’re just doing our job.’

The department assumed there was a restriction over the plant. I guess it’s true what they say about assumptions: They make an ass out of U and Umption. The department did not have jurisdiction to demand that the pilot land where he did. But pilots tend to follow requests from Authority. It shows he was being cooperative. The situation should have been resolved as soon as the deputy saw the aircraft was a glider, and the pilot showed that the airspace was not restricted. Failing that, they should have backed off when their own pilots pointed out there was no restriction. Instead, they arrest the pilot for ‘breach of peace’. ‘Well, we didn’t have anything to hold him on; but we were inconvenienced and that’s enough.’

Are there terrorists? Yes. Would they like to attack a nuclear power plant? Sure. But terrorists do not exist behind every tree. That this was the default assumption points to how hysteria trumps common sense.

As for a lawsuit:

It looks as if this has become a ‘teaching moment’:

I assume ‘he’ is Sheriff Byrd

My favorite part of the story was when the helicopter from the sheriff’s department of an adjoining county was called in to help. They pulled out their charts and tried to show Buford T. Justice that no law had been broken. He didn’t want to hear it so the helicopter just left.

I thought the helicopter was from that county. I stand corrected.

I don’t think they left because BTJ didn’t want to hear them. The way I read it is ‘What? No, he didn’t do anything wrong. Nothing to see here. Well, glad we could help. Cheerio!’

But yeah. When a law enforcement pilot points out that no law was violated, it should end.

Scary thought.

This will be the same sheriff who has jurisdiction when there is an “event” at the nuclear plant located within his county.

Also scary: Apart from having no felony convictions, there are no real requirements to be Sheriff.

I’m not the least bit surprised that the FBI was a major contributor to this fuck up.

You don’t even have to be alive! I remember when we almost elected a dead guy as L.A. County Sheriff. He didn’t win, but he was still getting the endorsements of the powers-that-were, even after they knew he ws dead.