A student pilot who was training at Fullerton Airport in southern California is in major trouble after an incident on Sunday. Too eager for his first solo, the man took a Cessna 172 from a local flying club without permission, but was unable to successfully complete his mission.
Fullerton’s airport manager Brendan O’Reilly said the student pilot had recently joined the RI Flying Club, which had the Cessna 172 as part of its fleet. O’Reilly said the flying club has been operating at the airport for more than 30 years without any incidents. The student pilot was not qualified to fly the airplane solo, but somehow snagged the keys and took the airplane to the skies.
The student pilot made not one, not two, not three, not four, but five attempts at landing, each time messing up the airplane more. According to local pilot Jerry Phan, the airplane suffered damage to the propeller, engine, nose gear and more. Fortunately for the student pilot, he did not injure himself or anyone on the ground.
Not only was the airplane damaged in the highly unusual incident, but it is likely that the student pilot’s criminal record will be as well. According to Phan, the owner of the Cessna has filed charges of aircraft theft. Phan said the student pilot had only received two hours of flight instruction with the flying club.