DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Investigation

Inhofe "Scared The Crap Out Of" Airport Workers

FAA: Senator intentionally landed on closed runway

Cary Grant

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Senator Inhofe Report

APRIL 13--Newly released Federal Aviation Administration documents and audiotapes shed a scary new light on a bizarre incident late last year during which U.S. Senator James Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives as the politician’s plane hopscotched over them and six vehicles.

The FAA material, provided in response to a TSG Freedom of Information Act request, details how Inhofe, 76, chose to land on the main runway at the Cameron County Airport on October 21 despite being aware that it was closed and had a large ‘X’ on its threshold.

The politician, the FAA investigation determined, “still elected to land avoiding the men and the equipment on the runway.” In a bid to avoid “legal enforcement action,” Inhofe, who has a commercial pilot’s license, agreed to “complete a program of remedial training,” according to an FAA letter sent in January to the third-term Republican senator from Oklahoma. Inhofe is pictured at right.

Shortly after Inhofe landed, Sidney Boyd, who was supervising construction on the closed runway, called the FAA to report that Inhofe’s plane, a twin-engine six-seater, initially touched down on the runway and then “'sky hopped' over the six vehicles and personnel working on the runway, and then landed.”

During the call, which was recorded by the FAA, Boyd said Inhofe’s antics “scared the crap out of” workers, adding that the Cessna “damn near hit” a red truck. Referring to the vehicle’s driver, Boyd added, “I think he actually wet his britches, he was scared to death. I mean, hell, he started trying to head for the side of the runway. The pilot could see him, or he should have been able to, he was right on him.”

Boyd also said that Inhofe showed little contrition following the close call. “He come over here and started being like, 'What the hell is this? I was supposed to have unlimited airspace.'”

Listen to an excerpt of Boyd’s FAA call here:

During a conversation with a second FAA representative, Boyd said, “As much work as I do on airports and runways, it’s the first time I’ve ever had this happen.” Inhofe, he added, “knew the runway was closed…he started to land on the north end, he just went right over a huge yellow ‘X’ and he was coming down right in the middle of us, and he finally, somebody noticed us waving at him I guess.”

“He sky hopped over us,” said Boyd. “He was determined to land on that runway come hell or high water evidently.” He added, “I’m still shaking…I was in the middle of the runway, I headed for high country.”

Listen to an excerpt of Boyd’s call with the second FAA worker here:

In a recorded conversation with Lee Williams, an FAA quality assurance specialist, airport manager Marshall Reece tore into Inhofe’s piloting. “I’ve got over 50 years flying, three tours of Vietnam,” Reece said, “and I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life in my life.” He then added, “Something needs to be done. This guy is famous for these violations.”

Listen to an excerpt of Reece’s conversation with Williams here:

FAA records indicate that while Inhofe has landed at the Port Isabel airport on more than five occasions, he had not been the subject of prior enforcement actions. When questioned by FAA investigators if there had been any distractions in the cockpit before he landed on the closed runway, Inhofe “did volunteer that he was showing a new hire employee seated in the right seat how the technology of the cockpit instrumentation worked.”

Another recording captured a transmission from an air traffic controller who offered a concise account of Inhofe’s antics flying his 1978 Cessna (tail number N115EA): “N115 Echo Alpha landed right in the middle of them doing their work on runway 1331 and damn near killed somebody out there.”

In a statement today, Inhofe said, "This is an old story, and the FAA and I have long consider the matter closed." Noting that his "dealings with the FAA did not constitute an admission nor an adjudication of a violation,"  Inhofe added, "I have completed the program required by the FAA, and this matter is over." (5 pages)

Comments (55)

76 years old and still flying, shows what money and power can provide. bad enough he is trying to be a politician... if he can't follow simple FAA rules, how can he work in politics...
Typical repuke... Always thinking they are exempt from the rules... :p
Term Limits will Help. The 28th Amendment!
James Inhofe and Dick Cheney should get together and go hunting.
What can airport workers expect after voting for Democrats like Obama?
Or perhaps like that psycho Darth Cheney shooting a man in the face while drinking his lunch and never getting in ANY kind of trouble for it. He wasn't arrested, he wasn't charged, he didn't lose his firearm--he left the scene and wouldn't talk to anyone about it for days--- and he had the guy he shot apologize to him for causing him all that trouble. Yep, they get away with anything, huh? Even mass murder..
The FAA, regardless of "who" is in the White House, continue on a path of no accountability; behaving in a corrupt manner that simply affirms the fact that they are broken and most likely disenfranchised; this has been occurring for decades and unfortunately "real" people pay a "real" price every single day. The FAA do not ask your political affiliations or your political views prior to bringing the hammer down...What they have proven with the Inhofe case is that being a Senator puts you in a different enforcement category and that disparate treatment is to be expected. That's the issue...DISPARATE treatment...the FAA has an obligation to enforce but I believe what we are asking for is that the enforcement be "just" for all airmen, not just airmen with a "title" in front of their names. If we need to assign a caricature to the FAA then I believe Stalin would be more appropriate...There is a lesson here for Mr. Inhofe, he happens to be in a position of power thanks to his constituents, whomever they may be. If Mr. Inhofe wishes to redeem himself on a minuscule level he can choose to champion the causes of every airman who has been unjustly persecuted by the very agency who let him off scott free...that alone will not change the agency but it might be the beginning of salvation for a number of people. Stop the inane and off topic comments and step up...and can we please spell the simpleton's name correctly?...It's INHOFE with an "N"...not an "M" that alone will lend some credibility to a board that has digressed.
Gomalio Fung - Emblematic of your subspecies, you obviously didn't read enough of what you're mouthing off about to know that Imhofe is an Okie. By the way, did you also get the negatives from your last lingerie dance?
Senator Inhofe is the new poster boy for "willfull & intentional conduct", he has fulfilled all of the criteria the FAA has set forth for immediate certificate action yet they chose to ignore their very own EDT process. I wish I could say I was surprised. The FAA closed this "event"...lucky Mr. Inhofe. This would be a career ender for ANY other airman. Administrator Babbitt needs to take IMMEDIATE stock of his agency. There are far too many airman who have suffered terribly for infractions that pale in comparison. The North West pilots who were summarily stripped of their licenses without immediate due process and thrown to the wolves, the Delta pilots who landed on the taxiway in Atlanta 3 days later with a fully loaded aircraft walk away unscathed...Inhofe KNOWINGLY lands on a CLOSED runway and is given REMEDIAL training?????????????? Are they kidding? You cannot re train this type of airman, no way, no how. He has total disregard for the rules and the FAA has shown that that level of disregard is OK with them, as long as you are a Senator. Your tickets are a "privilege" that is granted by the Administrator so I have to ask Administrator Babbitt to PLEASE explain himself. How is it that this menace Inhofe is "entitled" to exercise his "privileges"? The FAA has made a very clear statement to all of those workmen at Port Isabel...their lives carry NO importance. The FAA is broken and it has been for years. It's really time that the Inspector General of the DOT cleans house from top to bottom or bottom to top... I for one have had enough and intend to lodge a few complaints. WE pay the salaries of these inept & corrupt FAA employees with OUR tax dollars. A full vetting of EACH region needs to be done and done NOW. What an utter disgrace.
There is no reason to grant this politician anything. He like every other politico should be out of office, as all of them feel that they are something 'special', when all they are, are worthless people who screw the American public day in and day out. It's time that not only the Tea Party people protest but all of us no matter if we are Republicans or Democrats stand up and protest against these stealing thieves that are ruining our great country.
It is nauseating that again, just like mudering submariner Ted Kennedy or the Wicked WBitch Pelosi's abuse of Air Force charters, a politician gets preferential consideration. Any other pilot would have lost their license immediately and would have fought forever to try and get it back
I can tell that this Senator received special treatment from the FAA. The remedial training program should not have been offered in the case, since his actions to land on the closed runway were intentional. He knew the runway was closed and landed anyway. His deliberate action was a violation FAR 91.13(a), Reckless operation of an aircraft endangering the life and property of another. This should be investigated by the DOT Inspector General because of the special treatment. Any other poor schmuck would have have the book thrown at him. More back door deals.
First - It's outrageous that the FAA didn't jerk his license immediately. There is no excuse for what he did. Second - It's really bad when a Republican acts like a Democrat.
Meaning what -- it's really bad if a Republican has only one traditional marriage in his lifetime?
No, that is good ...but it's not the topic.
Look at this jerk's face. That's the face of a degenerate drinker and a rage-a-holic. NOBODY tells this self tugger what to do. He's his OWN man and to HELL with everyone else. You've met this a**hole in every bar across America. Loud, opinionated, arrogant, red faced, with his big mouth going a mile a minute, talking stupid. They should have done an immediate blood alcohol on this clown as he climbed out of his plane. This guy doesn't need remedial training. What he needs is a piece of pipe across the back of that thick Texas skull of his, to knock some sense and concern for his fellow man into it.
well said.. but make it an I-beam..this assface's skull would probably break any steel pipe.
You can't really hurt a person by hitting them with a small plane like that.
Hey! How many of you guys have flown a light twin? I keep reading about city boys running into buildings and forgetting to put the flaps down. And then you complain about someone who has flown safely for decades and you criticize based on what you have seen in the movies. Cut me a break: this is USA not the USSR.
C'mon, guys! You're all missing the main point that's buried at the end of the article! He was "showing a new employee seated in the right seat how the instrumentation worked." Uh huh. Wonder what she looked like. . . . .
Show me the way to go home I'm tired and I want to go to bed I had me a drink about an hour ago And it went right to my head...
ALL politicians think they are entitled to do whatever the hell they want to do. I don't care if they're Republican or Democrat or Indy... they're OUT OF CONTROL. This guy should have his flight license REVOKED. That simple. If the average American citizen pulled this kind of stunt, that's exactly what the FAA would do. So why does this character get special treatment? This is outrageous.
What do you nitwits think Inhofe's political party has anything to do with this incident? At least Inhofe managed to land the airplane he was flying, which is more than can be said for JFK, Jr.
You guys must be new to this site. Here's what happens: Someone gets busted for something, we all assign the perp a political party (the opposite party from our own), and we use this as evidence of how bad those other-party-people are. This case is unusual in that this person's party was actually GIVEN to us (and still some posters aren't bright enough to extract that hidden info from the story, like tnmccoy below). Then, we attack the other-party-people themselves. You'll get the hang of it, but don't try to make sense of it.
Wow, amazing how this is a political issue all of the sudden. If this was a normal person, their license would and should be revoked. Why do you guys all think that he should be excused or punished more because he's on this or that side of the political spectrum...? Makes no sense.
I like Imhoff. He's a real man. The story doesn't say why he landed on the closed runway, but it's funny reading the insane rantings of you pansy leftists.
I'm so far right, Attila the Hun is afraid of me. And I think your hero needs a good a** kicking to knock some of that elitist arrogance out of him. The only "pansies" around these days are you dyed in the wool Repube-icans, lead by your giant Tiny Tears doll, John BONER, who aren't any better than the Democraps.
Because real men nearly kill people? Sorry, I'm not following. Lastly, is there really a good reason to land on a closed runway? Unless the issue is with the plane then I can assure you there is not. "When you got to go, you got to go" does not apply here.
He too freakin' old to be flying his own plane. The people on the runway were fortunate. Had he just caused himself harm...but he put other people's lives in danger. There is global warming, but it's between his headset, obviously.
Everybody does dumb things and I am not into punishing someone the times they are lucky enough that no one gets hurt. Life is a series of near misses - just one more!
And you are a perfect example of the "near miss" your Daddy perpetrated on your Mommy when he was firing blanks that drunken Saturday night he met her in the bar.
OK residents deserves that PoS since 90% of them are ignorant creationists.
Hey AS*FACE! Im an Okie, i tried to vote him out, why do you think "90%" of us are ignorant creationists? Where are you from, i mean talk about stupidity look at your name? "bonghits4jesus"? Put down the SH*T Dude!!!
Another show of Democrat arrogance. Inhofe should have his pilot's license suspended for at least six months if not permanently. He never even apologized to the people involved or the public, let alone explained his actions.
tnmccoy....You have got to be one of the world's dumbest posters, right up there will all of your other compatriots!
Another show of Republican illiteracy. Go back and reread. Slowly this time. You'll find Inhofe is, not surprisingly, a Republican.
WOW! hey DUMBA*S you go back and reread "slowly" Inhofe IS Republican, so how about your illiteracy? LOL Im Republican we can read, obviously YOU CANT!!! Know your facts before you open your piehole!
Loser. Take the "NOT SURPRISINGLY" out of the sentence, you illiterate jackass and read again. Here, like this, you moron: Original: "You'll find Inhofe is, not surprisingly, a Republican. Without unrestricted clause: "You'll find Inhofe is a Republican." Clearly the complexity of sentences with commas confuses you. But if you slow down, sound out the words, think, you might get it right! It really does help.
Read the article next time. He is not a Democrat even though it would not suprise me if it was. Politicians do whatever they darn well please.
If he were a Democrat the story would have been how he drove his car into the water and drowned some poor young lady
A Democrat would intentionally land on a runway under construction and say "Oh my god! I am so sorry! My mistake!" That CYA would be a typical show of Democrat lily-livered, yellow belled cowardice. Now, a Republican lands, nearly kills people, blames the victims for it and screams "What the HELL is wrong with you people!" That sums up nicely the “conservative” view of reality. Inhofe would do well on the US Supreme Court. I’ll admit that there are a lot of idiot Democrats, but there are just so many more idiot Republicans that it makes the Dems look like geniuses. For example: BIRTHER KOOKS 2012! Palin Oh-12! Michele “Loopy” Bachman 2012! Trump for Hair Club President 2012! Rush Limbaugh 2012! (Pounds) And hey, remember GW Bush?
The FAA is corrupt. They revoke certificates from innocent folks or folks having done nothing that would compare wiith the actions of the Senator. He gets a pass and they lose their livliehoods, and professions. Maybe we need to close the FAA down and start fresh with real honest to goodness inspectors and management not the buffoons running it now.
I live in Oklahoma and i wish I could say this surprised me. Inofe and his ideas scare lots of people on the ground. His my way or drop dead attitude apparently affects even his piloting. The man is a politicition through and through; he'd be scary in either party. Not a surprise being a republican appeals to him though.
Hey Mo Ma: I've got some news for you. Most physicians (including proficient surgeons) are registered Republicans. I would suggest that you run your tired stereotypical left-wing rants to the next surgeon that has to operate on you.
Hey Mr Hate, I think you just might be retarded. I am quite sure with your lack of intellect your profession is far from physician, so don't try preaching to the world about how they are supposed to act. Just go back to your minimum wage job and listen to Rush Limbaugh, while you smoke cigarettes and jerk off!
Just ignore Mo Ma' - If the story is about cute albino bunnies, Indonesian belly dancers or deep-fried tofu burgers - he would still somehow try to relate it to Republicans, tax loopholes and doctors. There's a screw loose somewhere...
And here's Mo Ma with more thoughts from his mothers basement.
Sorry Mo Ma'. We may be from the same party but a dumb comment is a dumb coment. I write plenty of them.