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Man, 29, who flew stolen plane over Mississippi didn’t have a pilot’s license

A man who stole a plane and threatened to dump it into a Mississippi Walmart had neither a pilot’s license nor experience landing planes, authorities revealed.

Cory Wayne Patterson, 29, was arrested and charged with grand theft and making terrorist threats after the erratic flight that took off from Tupelo Regional Airport on Saturday.

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said during an afternoon news conference that Patterson — an airport worker whose job is to fuel planes — while he has flight instruction, he doesn’t have a pilot’s license.

But Patterson’s tenure at the airport gave him access to the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A, which he is said to have stolen and hovered for five hours over exasperated Mississippi Indians.

A local Walmart was evacuated just after 5:20 a.m. after Patterson called 911 and said the plane was going to the store, Quaka said.

After several hours in the air, Patterson finally landed safely in a soybean field, where police arrested him.

Cory Patterson, 29, was arrested and charged with grand theft and making terrorist threats after the flight, which took off from Tupelo Regional Airport in Mississippi on Saturday, when he allegedly threatened to crash the plane into a local Walmart

Cory Patterson, 29, was arrested and charged with grand theft and making terrorist threats after the flight, which took off from Tupelo Regional Airport in Mississippi on Saturday, when he allegedly threatened to crash the plane into a local Walmart

After several hours in the air, Patterson finally landed safely in a soybean field, where police arrested him

After several hours in the air, Patterson finally landed safely in a soybean field, where police arrested him

Patterson was unharmed in the rough landing shortly after he sent a farewell message to his parents and sister on Facebook, authorities said at the news conference. The message said he “never really meant to hurt anyone.”

,Sorry. Didn’t really mean to hurt anyone. I love my parents and my sister, it’s not your fault. Goodbye,” read Patterson’s Facebook message, posted around 9:30 a.m.

Police negotiators were able to make contact mid-flight and convince Patterson to land, but he didn’t know how. He was being trained by a private pilot to almost land at Tupelo Airport, but he aborted the attempt at the last minute and continued the flight, authorities said.

A negotiator reestablished contact around 10 a.m. and learned that Patterson had landed in a field and was unharmed, Quaka said.

After an anxious morning watching the plane meander overhead, Tupelo Mayor Todd Jordan called the resolution “the best-case scenario.”

No one was injured in the panic scenes.

Patterson reportedly boarded the plane from Tupelo Airport around 5 a.m. Saturday and flew in circles over Mississippi for five hours before crash-landing

Patterson reportedly boarded the plane from Tupelo Airport around 5 a.m. Saturday and flew in circles over Mississippi for five hours before crash-landing

He posted a message on social media while still on the air saying

He posted a message on social media while still on the air saying “goodbye” and adding that he “actually never meant to hurt anyone”.

But Patterson's tenure at the airport gave him access to the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A, which he is said to have stolen and circled in the air for five hours

But Patterson’s tenure at the airport gave him access to the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air C90A, which he is said to have stolen and circled in the air for five hours

The plane landed near Ripley, Mississippi, about 85 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, and about 45 miles northwest of Tupelo.

The airport control tower was unmanned at the time of the theft, and police described it as a “crime of opportunity” because Patterson had easy access to the airport.

Patterson contacted police about his intentions at 5:08 a.m. and stayed in touch with them for some time before cutting communications.

The local Walmart was evacuated after the alarm went off (Rachel McWilliams via AP)

The local Walmart was evacuated after the alarm went off (Rachel McWilliams via AP)

Patterson circled the Walmart store, with witnesses claiming he then flew to the Toyota plant in Blue Springs before being spotted at Ripley

Patterson circled the Walmart store, with witnesses claiming he then flew to the Toyota plant in Blue Springs before being spotted at Ripley

Patterson, whose Facebook page said he was from Shannon, was charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats. Quaka said federal authorities could also file charges.

Mayor Jordan said Patterson contacted family members during the flight. The mayor said he hopes Patterson “gets the help he needs.”

Peter Goelz, former executive director of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the vulnerability of small airports designed for light aircraft and corporate jets has worried safety professionals for years.

“If you have a trained pilot who can get in and snag a business jet, you have a pretty deadly weapon there,” he said.

Mayor Jordan said Patterson contacted family members during the flight. The mayor said he hopes Patterson

Mayor Jordan said Patterson contacted family members during the flight. The mayor said he hopes Patterson “gets the help he needs.”

Roxanne Ward, of Ripley, said she tracked the plane online and went to her father-in-law’s house to go down to the basement for safety.

She said she heard the bang as the plane hit her father-in-law’s property.

She and others mounted four-wheelers to drive over it.

“As soon as it crashed, the police were there waiting,” said Ward, watching from a distance. ‘The police lured him out. They yelled at him, “Arms in the air.”

She said the pilot got off the plane without defying police.

Patterson, whose Facebook page said he was from Shannon, was charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats. Quaka said federal authorities could also file charges

Patterson, whose Facebook page said he was from Shannon, was charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats. Quaka said federal authorities could also file charges

The plane crash-landed near Ripley, AP, in a soybean field.

The plane crash-landed near Ripley, AP, in a soybean field.

Gov. Tate Reeves then tweeted that the situation was resolved: “Plane crashed over North MS. Luckily, the situation resolved and no one was injured.

“First and foremost, thank you to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who have handled this situation with the utmost professionalism.”

“We are working closely with local investigators and are escalating questions to law enforcement.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11180371/Man-29-flew-stolen-plane-Mississippi-didnt-pilots-license.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Man, 29, who flew stolen plane over Mississippi didn’t have a pilot’s license

Andrew Kugle

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