Lonely Planet Writer

Hero controller talks down man who stole plane in Las Vegas

A cool, easy-speaking air traffic controller talked down a man who had stolen a light aircraft from an airport in the US – by promising him a cup of coffee if he landed it.

Light Piper aircraft taken from airport in Las Vegas
Light Piper aircraft taken from airport in Las Vegas Image by Paul Lucas / CC BY 2.0

The twin-engined Piper PA-44 craft was taken from the North Las Vegas airport at the weekend by a man who proceeded to circle the sky above the city for up to an hour.

The Mail Online reports that eventually the pilot was enticed to land due to the conversation he had with the controller who gently persuaded him that landing safely was the best thing to do.

On his return to ground, the pilot apologised to the controller for screwing up his night. He was arrested by police and then charged with grand larceny auto. He appeared to know he was in a serious situation and admitted that he had already “committed enough felonies”.