Inhofe scared workers on closed runway

April 13, 2011 at 10:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe deliberately landed his small plane on a closed runway, hopping the plane over workers and vehicles, a construction foreman told the FAA.

Documents released by the Federal Aviation Administration include a tape of the foreman's call to the FAA after the Oct. 21 incident at Cameron County Airport in southern Texas, the investigative Web site The Smoking Gun reported Wednesday. The foreman, Sidney Boyd, described Inhofe, R-Okla., almost hitting a truck and told the FAA workers who were on the runway when the plane approached ran as fast as they could to get away.

"I think he actually wet his britches, he was scared to death," Boyd said of the truck driver. "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."

Marshall Reece, the airport manager, told an FAA quality control supervisor, he never saw such "reckless disregard for human life" in three tours in Vietnam. He said Inhofe is notorious for risky flying.

Inhofe, 76, has a commercial pilot's license. He agreed to remedial training in January to settle an FAA action.

"This is an old story, and the FAA and I have long consider the matter closed," he said in a statement Wednesday, adding the disposition of the case did not include a finding of wrongdoing on his part.

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