Pilot of Stolen King Air in Tupelo, Mississippi, Threatens Walmart

The man took the twin turboprop from KTUP in Mississippi with the intention to crash it into a local store.

The stolen aircraft’s flight path ended about 50 miles from Tupelo, near Ashland, Mississippi.
[Courtesy: Flightradar24]

A Beechcraft King Air C90A owned by Southeast Aviation was stolen Saturday from Mississippi's Tupelo Regional Airport (KTUP), and officials told local news media that the pilot, identified as Cory Patterson, was circling the area, threatening to crash the twin turboprop into a local Walmart. A short time later, the airplane was reported down in a field northeast of Tupelo, about halfway to Memphis, Tennessee, with the pilot in custody, according to CNN’s Pete Muntean.

After taking off at 7:45 a.m. CDT, according to flightaware.com, the 1987 King Air C90A flew an erratic flight path as the drama began to unfold. Circling at an altitude between 1,200 ft and 1,400 ft msl, the aircraft was tracked by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and people had been evacuated from the area while Patterson circled near Tupelo. By 10:07 a.m. local time, the aircraft was reported to be on the ground in a field.

Tupelo police coordinated with Walmart and nearby business owners to evacuate customers and disperse people in harm's way away from the store, according to the Daily Journal. Police had been talking directly with the pilot, the journal reported.

Patterson posted a ”goodbye” message to his Facebook account before stealing the airplane.

FLYING will follow this story as it continues to develop.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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