It was, in the end, an apparent joy ride - a 22-year-old pilot and five friends in a stolen Citation VII with no flight plan take a jaunt from St. Augustine, Florida, to Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field outside Atlanta. But it has the security types concerned.
"I would just encourage increased vigilance at the various airports and the companies that have these aircraft to ensure better security," FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I don't think it requires any systems changes."
"This is a good reminder for all pilots to follow the Airport Watch precepts, especially securing unattended aircraft, and report any suspicious activity," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "If as a community we can prevent thefts like this, we'll reduce the chance of more security regulation."
The alleged pilot, Daniel Andrew Wolcott of Buford, Georgia, holds a commercial multiengine certificate and a Jet Commander type rating but apparently was not rated in the Citation.
The 10-passenger jet was awaiting its next charter flight from St. Augustine when the charter company reported it missing Monday morning. It was found Monday afternoon in Georgia.
Apparently this wasn't the first aeronautical joy ride for Wolcott. A Georgia flight school reported that several years ago Wolcott rented a Cherokee but did not return the aircraft. It was found three days later in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
October 13, 2005