'The Associated Press State & Local Wire'
13 September 2001, Thursday, BC cycle,
"Small private plane ordered to land in vicinity of Bush ranch"
CRAWFORD, Texas--A small private plane flying unauthorized in the
vicinity of President Bush's ranch near Crawford was ordered by the
military to land Thursday, a sheriff's deputy said.
Also Thursday, military jets forced a small plane down in Wood County.
In Crawford, the 71-year-old pilot and his son were detained for routine
questioning by the U.S. Secret Service, said Chief Deputy Randy Plemons
of the McLennan County Sheriff's Department. The incident, which
occurred shortly before 10 a.m., may have been a misunderstanding,
"I can't even confirm if he was even close to the ranch," Plemons said.
From what investigators have conveyed, Plemons said, the pilot went up
for a "joy ride" in his small Cessna.
"Obviously, bad timing," he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration declared that the plane was
unauthorized and ordered its occupants detained, Plemons said. At that
point military officials, flying in two jets beside the plane, got on
the pilot's radio frequency and ordered the Cessna to land.
"At this point we don't have any information that we can release on
that." said Staff Sgt. Ruth Lewis with the 301st Fighter Wing public
The plane landed on a private landing strip near State Highway 6, about
eight miles from the Bush ranch near Crawford.
The name of the pilot and his son were not immediately being released.
It was unclear whether any charges would be filed.
The sheriff's department began receiving 911 emergency calls immediately
about the plane because residents believed no planes were supposed to be
"We're just trying to ease the fears of people here," Plemons said.
Crawford Mayor Robert Campbell said the town of 705 is beginning to
return to its normal routine after terrorist attacks on Washington and
New York City. There have been no indications of threats against
Crawford, even though it's the site of Bush's ranch, he said.
"Basically, things are quiet. Naturally, we're keeping our eyes and ears
open like everybody else," Campbell said. He added that local officials
are keeping a more visible police presence in town.
School in Crawford had been called off Tuesday, but by Wednesday
children returned to class.
In Wood County, Sheriff's senior Dispatcher Rodney Mize said a private
plane was forced down by two military pilots in A-10 Warthog jets about
11:30 a.m. The jets flew one above and one below until the private
plane's pilot landed at Wisener Field near Mineola.
"I can tell you it sure spooked a lot of people this morning. Everyone
is on edge right now and this guy was doing some afternoon flying," Mize
said in a story in Friday's Tyler Morning Telegraph.
Tyler Pounds Field Airport Air Traffic Controller Jerry Head said the
skies remain closed to general aviation until further notice.
Mize said the pilot was not fined or charged with any crime.
(c) 2001 AP Reposted For Fair Use Only