Landing on closed runway under investigation

November 4, 2010

The FAA is reviewing an Oct. 21 incident in which U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) allegedly landed on a closed runway at Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport in Port Isabel, Texas, the Tulsa World reported late last week.

Inhofe, 75, of Tulsa, has served in the U.S. Senate since 1994. He holds a commercial pilot certificate and has been flying more than 50 years.

According to news reports, Inhofe had flown to Port Isabel in his twin-engine Cessna 340—he has a beach house on nearby South Padre Island—and landed on a runway that was marked as out of service.

Accounts did not say what runway was involved. Of the airport’s four runways, only 8,001-foot-long Runway 13/31 is listed as being in fair condition; Port Isabel’s three other runways are reported to be in poor condition.

Inhofe told the Tulsa World that he saw the X’s on the runway and took care to land on a part of the runway away from where the work was taking place. An FAA spokesman who told the newspaper that the agency was reviewing the incident said he could not comment further.