Sunday, January 20, 2013
Aviation Paranoia Continues
By now, hopefully, you've heard the story of pilot Robin Fleming's lazy glider flight one fine day last summer in the blue skies of beautiful South Carolina. Well, that's the way it should have turned out, but it didn't. Instead, that would-be great summer flight ended with Robin getting thrown in jail after a high-stakes criminal drama.
Except in this case, there was no crime involved. Not even a whiff of one. Mr. Fleming, an articulate and conscientious 70-year-old glider pilot and instructor was instead arrested simply for going flying.
The amazing, maddening story is here with the original story here.
The risk posed by a glider flying over a electrical power plant is virtually zero. Yet, I don't fault law enforcement for checking it out. Someone reports something suspicious, it is their job to check.
But, that is where it should have stopped. They should have let the pilot be on his way (he voluntarily landed) with a hearty thank you for cooperating. But, the opposite occurred. They thought they had a 70-year old local terrorist!
After everyone was convinced no law was broken, they still wouldn't drop the charges!
Fleming waited outside the courtroom Aug. 21 as his case went before the judge. When his attorney returned and said the case would be dismissed if he agreed not to take any legal action against Darlington County law enforcement, he said, he reluctantly agreed.
You know, we ordinary citizens are constantly told "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." If is isn't for us, why is it for law enforcement?
Law enforcement has a tough, difficult job. But, it is incidents like this that -- correctly -- cause people to question law enforcement's competence and integrity, especially (considering the TSA) around the field of aviation. It is long past time for this nonsense to stop.