A bit more “Plane Speaking”

Thanks for all the reader comments and I wanted to post an updated photo because the one from the underside of our plane this morning was not very good (NASA-like, lol).

Here’s a much clearer picture that I took with some landmarks..  This is laying on a creeper on my back under the attachment where the right wing (left side of picture) means the lower fuselage of the plane (far right):  The hole is shown in the enlarged inset… and that tube which is hanging down is the right fuel tank overflow tube.

image

O n the financial front, unless we find any structural impacts, the holes will be a $300 repair bill (roughly).

On the legal side, the FBI folks in Dallas are a pleasure to deal with, as is the local Palestine Police Department.  Unfortunately, both say there’s about zero chance of apprehending anyone because there are 42 landings and take offs over something like 5,500 miles.

Current speculation is semi auto 22 in the pattern (1,000 feet AGL or less) and likely on approach or departure.  But I wanted to share a more detailed picture.  It’s likely to be shotgun pellets because there are no holes further out the wings and the pattern is not circular as you’d expect from a shotgun.

imageThe reason for the high confidence that it wasn’t there on 5/22/15 is the mechanic, as part of the annual inspection, has to disassemble and inspect the flat adjustment rod.  So he would cause caught the hold at that time.  As for the other 8?  some look like drain holes but you can see the difference.  The drain holes are larger and regular:  Here’s one drain and two “unfriendlies”

As I mentioned this morning, we will not be posting any of our flight details in advance now.

And we will go into cloaked mode on  publicly available flight tracking systems.

It may take some of the follow along on our adventures out of things, but at least we may be able to improve our odds of getting where we are going.

Well, so much for combat flying in America…back to making sense of markets… Landry tomorrow on Peoplenomics…

G

Comments

A bit more “Plane Speaking” — 16 Comments

  1. This is quite odd.

    A “competent” killer stalking you would be unlikely to choose shooting at your plane as a method, but if they did, a more effective round would likely be used. So probably a nut.

    I’ll second a lot of what Dan said. Finding projectiles would remove much speculation. I’ll assume you measured the holes and they are quite close to .22 diameter. An actual .22 round is .224 in diameter.

    I like to speculate though, and see these possibilities in order of probability:

    Shotgun hit using FB F or TTT shot as these are all close to .220 (+/- .005), but are rarely encountered shot sizes and most likely handloads for coyote or pass shooting at geese. (#FF is .230 but VERY rare). I’ve heard #TT (.210) is sometimes available in factory loads, but I’ve never seen any.

    http://www.ballisticproducts.com/Steel-Shot-F_TTT-bag_10/productinfo/SH1F/

    http://www.ballisticproducts.com/Nickel-Plated-lead-buckshot-F-8-lbs/productinfo/NP1FB/

    Full auto burst from .223 or .22. Obviously a person prone to casual shooting at planes (attempted murder) is not deterred by laws prohibiting full auto conversions or they could have a stolen military or police weapon.

    Multiple hits from 22. semi auto from separate attacks. (this is unlikely because it points to your home area)

    Multiple hits from 22. semi from a single attack. (this is unlikely because it is damn hard to do.)

    Good luck solving this, and perhaps you will want a bit more altitude for awhile.

  2. Welcome to the club unfortunately. We got shot at driving down 95 in west palm beach on Easter Sunday morning at 8 am. The window mechanism saved us.
    The bullet was in the door gave it to the cops and never heard a word after. You have to be your own pro active investigator. plot where you were ,agree call those Pdepartments and towers .try to find the bullets in your aircraft. Don’t think anything sinister probably some dumb ass kids on approach or departure . Thankfully it didn’t do anything but scare the hell out of you, I know the feeling.
    Glad you and E are ok . Gave up on general aviation years ago for a lot of reasons. No where is safe it seems. Call everyone AOPA, post notes to see if happened to anyone else. Owners assoc,?

  3. Dear George: You have been lucky…Better to be lucky than to be smart…Don’t think, Look! Can you mount some kind of camera under the nose of your aircraft that would show the heat generated by any discharge of firearms, to perhaps generate a lead for LE as to locations of these criminals upon future flights??? We live in a dirt-bag nation, for sure. Hope you can get even somehow.

  4. WOW. I would have never thought some “adam-henry” would take pot shots a small plane! Praying for your protection, George.
    As mentioned above, OPSEC.

  5. I’m a pretty good shot. And hitting an airplane at 80 mph as it passes over at say 500 ft would be tough. Doing it 6 or 8 times, almost impossible. Have you considered that someone did it with something like an ice pick while it was on the ground? And where are the bullets? No exit holes, no loose slugs rolling arround?

    • The further the plane is from the ground then the most e oblong would be the bullet hole pattern

  6. Started Flying in 1955 and the only incident I ever had was my radios was stolen of all places Guymas Mexico. Who would of thought We are in a very violent/Crazy world, I am planning to sell my Cherokee 6 this year Too dammed many Government mandates and they are not happy unless they are incomplete control of all aspects of flight as well as our lives. My Tail winds have turned into head winds.

  7. I’m so sorry to see this. I will never be able to fathom the mindset of people thinking, “Hey, I think I’ll shoot at that plane for fun to see if I can hit it.” It’s someone idiotic like that, that causes accidents and are candidates themselves for a Darwin Award.

    • Even more than the Dawwin, they become instant 20-years in the box material – FBI/Homeland doesn’t eff around with shooting anything at planes. A kid up in Missoula got 10-years a while back for pointing a laser at inbound planes Bullets, flight controls? How long do you think the free room and board ticket is in a feedbox for attempted murder/shooting at aircraft?

  8. As detailed as I think your records are, in your head or otherwise, have you considered contacting the local law enforcement at the airports you have visited in your time frame to inquire about similar incidents?

    Last year here we had the ongoing threat of some wack job who was driving around the Interstates taking pot shots into peoples vehicles while they were driving 70+ MPH down the road during rush hours. Never did catch the scumbag. There are some effing nut jobs running around anymore.

    As a prepper George, OPSEC.

    • Two tours in Nam. 1st as a door gunner and then back as a pilot. Seen plenty of holes in aircraft from ground fire. Sometime I heard them many times never heard a thing just found the holes after landing. 2-300 feet up to 1,000 … dead man’s zone. Most of my hits occurred pulling out of rocket runs, low and bleeding off speed. You likely got hit during landing somewhere. 9 hits is really unusual marksmanship for a rifle so I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you probably have some shotgun pellets inside the aircraft somewhere. What’s the Vref in that little mouseketeer? 70 or so. Not all that hard to hit off the end of the rwy, even with a shotgun and guys with shotguns generally know how to lead if they ever shot skeet. The idea of checking the places you landed for other reports of such incidents may be productive and maybe not but worth the try. Don’t let it go.

      Remember, matter can neither be created or destroyed. So, you got entrance holes and no exits. There’s evidence inside your fuselage. Since this is a federal felony investigation (or should be)locating what’s left of the projectile can yield lots of information. If it’s lead (as in pellets) FBI lab should be able to tell a lot from it (if they really want to). If it’s factory load .. what factory produced it etc. It could even tell them where a particular batch of shot was sold. It really will depend on who handles the investigation. No one was hurt, Big time frame for opportunity = a whole bunch of time working on it. What are the chances of conviction if you get a suspect etc.

      I could go on and on (I think I just did) but unless you come up with the leads and evidence to keep ’em going some investigator somewhere will just be hoping this one will just go away.