Drunken Joyride in an Airplane

A company that provides aerial tours of the Grand Canyon notified police in Boulder City, Nevada, that one of their airplanes was missing from the Boulder City Airport. Officers responded to find a man was taking off and landing the plane over and over. Since they could not chase him, they had to wait for a landing. On the fifth observed landing, they managed to arrest 47-year-old Paul Michael Weddle.

Officers watched Weddle flying “in a reckless manner,” even coming close to another plane after an abrupt turn, the report said.

Weddle wouldn’t show his hands to the arresting officer and was eventually tackled by police, the report said.

He later told officers he wanted to complete the take-off and landing portion to obtain his pilot’s license, the report said.

Weddle’s blood-alcohol content was 0.132 percent. He was taken to the hospital before being booked on charges of DUI and vehicle theft. The question arising from the incident is, how, in this era of tight airport security, did Weddle get into the airport? -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Boulder City Police Department)


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My guess is that that's what happened when the police hauled him out of the plane before he could take off again. They said they tackled him. There was no mention of damage to the plane, and very little damage to the airport.
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True, but the locals are are pointing fingers at each other over it. Half the linked article is devoted to the investigation of his entry to the airport.

I would assume DUI is for operating any motor vehicle. I know it applies to lawn mowers.
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Is it also called DUI for airplanes? Or is he charged for driving to the airport drunk?

As he was apparently training for his pilot's license, I don't think it would have been too challenging for him to get into a municipal airport. The new tight security measures are focused on big passenger airports and airliners -- and even then, mainly on the passenger side. I doubt any self-respecting terrorist would target a small scenic-tour airplane :-)
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