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Flight Captain Arrested at NN Airport

Old 07-15-2009, 08:33 PM
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Default Flight Captain Arrested at NN Airport

Who in their right mind lips off to a 6'4" 250lb Marine?

And the TSA runs their own secret police now? (at the end of the article)



Flight captain arrested at NN airport
Newport News (Newport News, Virginia)

By Kimball Payne
247-4765
10:01 PM EDT, July 15, 2009

The captain of an AirTran flight out of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport was removed from the controls Wednesday and taken into custody by local police.

An AirTran spokesman confirmed that the captain was arrested but declined to elaborate on what prompted authorities to lead the pilot away from the Boeing 717 in handcuffs.

It's unclear exactly who arrested the captain because Newport News officers were not involved. Airport officials and airport police declined to comment on the incident, would not identify the pilot or say what led to an arrest at the gate that left delayed passengers spooked.

"We're aware of the incident," said Christopher White, an AirTran spokesman at the company's corporate offices in Atlanta. "We brought in another captain to pilot the plane to Boston."

Newport News City Jail records, however, show that a 6-foot-4-inch 230-pound AirTran pilot was taken into custody at 7:18 a.m. Wednesday and charged with assault and battery. The pilot is identified in jail paperwork as Michael ***** ****** of ********, ******, a 57-year-old who was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1995 after 22 years of service.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration released a statement saying the captain was involved in some kind of confrontation with a screener at a security checkpoint.

"TSA is aware of an incident that occurred at a checkpoint this morning with an AirTran employee and will work closely with local law enforcement during their investigation. TSA's workforce is comprised of security professionals who work to ensure the safety of air travel. To protect the safety of our officers, threats, verbal abuse, or violence of any kind are not tolerated," according to an e-mailed statement from Lauren Gaches, an agency spokeswoman.

The Transportation Security Administration screens passengers and baggage headed for airplanes and responds to terrorist threats but is not involved in traditional law enforcement, Gaches said.

Repeated calls to airport officials were not returned throughout the day Wednesday after the early-morning brouhaha.

The official who answered a cell phone number — Deputy Airport Director Mark Falin — said the airport would not make an official comment. He directed inquiries to AirTran.

The unified silence from airport officials leaves a significant gap in the information regarding safety and security at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, because airport officials refused to discuss who arrested the captain and whether the pilot was charged with any crimes.

White said passengers had already boarded the airplane bound for Boston when the pilot was confronted by law enforcement officers, but the flight never left. A Boeing 717 can hold 117 passengers, not including the crew, and passengers had to endure a nearly three-hour delay at the airport. White said the passengers were removed from the plane when it became clear that the flight faced a significant wait.

Flight 238 was scheduled to depart the Virginia Peninsula at

7 a.m. Wednesday and touch down at Logan International Airport in Boston at 8:24 a.m.. But the plane didn't depart northbound until 9:49 a.m., according to AirTran's Web site. The plane safely touched down in Boston at 11:19 a.m.

White said the delay was extended because the Newport News airport is not a major hub for air traffic and the flight was due to take off during early-morning hours.

"We're required to have a two-person flight crew," he said.

White would not identify the pilot and said he was unaware if the captain had caused any previous problems on the job.

"It's premature to talk about any disciplinary action," White said.

Newport News police spokeswoman Holly McPherson said the department did not take the captain into custody.

"We didn't make any arrests," McPherson said. "We had no involvement."
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:49 AM
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This sounds fishy. Maybe it was TSA flashing their shiny badge arresting the pilot. Why on earth would they need to arrest him immediately? They didn't even bother doing an investigation first and then doing an arrest. It sounds like they didn't even interview the captain before the arrest.

Something is not right here.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by kersplatt
This sounds fishy. Maybe it was TSA flashing their shiny badge arresting the pilot. Why on earth would they need to arrest him immediately? They didn't even bother doing an investigation first and then doing an arrest. It sounds like they didn't even interview the captain before the arrest.

Something is not right here.
I was going to ask the same question. Was the TSA agent that was also involved in the confrontation **arrested** or at least removed from the job while some investigation was conducted?

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:02 AM
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Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:05 AM
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This is outrageous and unacceptable. Anyone with more info as this develops would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:29 PM
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So who would we contact to show support behind this guy and rein in the overpaid security guards? There is no way he would have ever made it past the actual police officer if it had been bad enough to arrest over

Last edited by SkiBum112; 07-16-2009 at 03:06 PM. Reason: stoopid spelling
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SkiBum112
So who would we contact to show support behind this guy and rein in the overpaid security guards? There is no way he would have ever made it past the actually police officer if it had been bad enough to arrest over
As far as I'm concerned, they're not even security guards, they're screeners. They look at the xray, pat people down, give guidance on the procedures, stack tubs etc.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SkiBum112
So who would we contact to show support behind this guy and rein in the overpaid security guards
In this case, ALPA. Might want to wait for the full story.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ToiletDuck
In this case, ALPA. Might want to wait for the full story.
Planning to. Very interested in the whole story though. Doubt we'll ever hear it.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:46 PM
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Them Citrus Captains are just PLANE trouble.
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