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Saturday, July 16, 2005

New details emerge in airplane theft case

The two teens who went on a airplane joyride with drunk pilot, Philippe Patricio, had alot to say to the police and the Danbury News Times obtained a copy of the police report. What's interesting (if not alarming) in the report is how Patricio and the two teens easily entered a locked airport, broke into an airplane, took off from the airport and flew around Fairfield and Westchester County without any apparent problem.

Their story only verifies what people have been complaining to city officials for years about, that the security at the Danbury Airport is a unacceptable (actually it's a complete joke) and needs to be improved.

From the Danbury News Times
"We got in Philippe's car and he drove to Danbury Airport," Mentch told police, according to the affidavit. "To get in we jumped the fence on the left side (of) the sliding gate."


"We then walked to the Cessna and did a pre-flight check," Mentch said. "Philippe stuck his fingers in the gas tank to check how much fuel there was. He said there was enough fuel.

"He opened the door of the airplane without a key. We got in, Philippe, Tom and I, and Philippe started the plane. He checked the lights. They all worked fine and he flew off."

Patricio, a trained mechanic, allegedly took the plane from Arrow Aviation, a flight school based at the airport. According to the affidavit, Arrow owner Joan Sherwood told police Patricio had flown a few times with Arrow instructors, but "he is not what I would call a regular customer or student with my flight school."

She told police she had both sets of keys to the Cessna, but because the planes are so old, it is easy to use a key from a different plane to start the engine.