Ever had anything stolen out of your airplane?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jim K, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The radio theft thread brought up how crappy the locks are on ga airplanes. Several times now I've left a couple amu's worth of anr headsets and tablets in the airplane overnight. So far it's always been in the 'care' of a FBO, and I doubt a thief would be that bold, but I do stash them out of sight.

    Any war stories of losing things from the plane?

    Im surprised fuel theft isn't more common.
     
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  2. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Interestingly enough, I've found stuff added. After coming out of maintenance, I've found pens, papers, an old obsolete CO detector, a set of Ray-Ban Aviators and an ancient headset that may or may not work.
     
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  3. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's hilarious. A pair of raybans isn't too bad of a find either.
     
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  4. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    I keep it hangared on a delta field with card key access. Really cuts down any casual traffic. It would give me the woolies leaving the plane outside for extended periods of time. I don't fall anyone with a tie down for parking, just glad to have a hangar. I like walking up to the plane knowing people haven't been messing with it.
     
  5. GrummanBear

    GrummanBear Pre-Flight

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    I find it useful to avoid parking it overnight at Wal-Mart, 7-11, or within 30nm of Fayetteville, NC
     
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  6. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That iPad Mini in your pilot’s side pocket has sure come in handy...
     
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  7. n2230b

    n2230b Pre-takeoff checklist

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  8. n2230b

    n2230b Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Replaced all my locks with MEDICOS. Great locks. Have to break the airplane to gain access. But.....only MEDICO licensed locksmiths can replace keys or cut spares.
     
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  9. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When my new new Archer was 1 year old, I flew from Illinois to Kfrg back east. After visiting the folks, on return to the plane, I noted the plane was broken into. The only thing stolen was the whiskey compass. Amazingly the door lock still worked (it had been locked). That was 1981 and it was parked on the Apron of a busy FBO.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Had someone break into a work hangar, guessing it was just crackheads or hoodlums, stole a bunch of sunglasses and random other stuff, nothing major, that said (this was in CA) the police honestly didn’t care one bit, showed up made a police report and gone, now get this, right next to the hanger was a poorly marked change in speed limits, same cops were like flys on chit if you went a hair over the speed limit lol
     
  11. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    My Old Chevy key would work in quite a few airplanes. My buddy worked as an A&P so the topic came up. So every time zi would stop by the shop I would check and see. Found that older place es aren’t secure at all.
     
  12. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    I’ve thought about latching the pilot door from the inside and crawling out through the baggage door (182) and locking it, but then I thought replacing avionics was cheaper and faster than replacing a jacked up door AND avionics.
     
  13. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    I've never had anything stolen out of an airplane. But I have forgotten a pair of Lightspeed ANR headsets in a company airplane that I never saw again. Stupid me figured oh we're such a small and tight-nit company that no one would ever walk off with the headset of a co-worker. Boy was I wrong. Those workers or yours that are all fellow pilots and therefore all such upstanding citizens who would never take something that doesn't belong to them? Yeah, those *ssholes would sift through the burning wreckage of the plane you just crashed off the end of the runway just to steal the $3 you had in your wallet before the NTSB showed up.
     
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  14. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That stings...big time! The plane I fly belongs to a friend of mine and I’m mainly the one who flies it. It’s hangared and all and he and I are the only two with keys to it, so I keep my headset and a few viddles in there all the time. I trust him - I mean, if they went missing, there’d only be one person to go to.
     
  15. smv

    smv Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Spoken like a dude who has experience with ragtop automobiles. o_O

    I never locked my '68 MG Midget. The new ragtop I put on it was worth ten times more than anything I ever kept inside. :)
     
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  16. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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  17. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's funny.
     
  18. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Crackheads don’t pick locks, they’ll sneak through a window, break a window, MAYBE drill a lock
     
  19. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Nope. My airplane insurance covers my headsets, so why worry
     
  20. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Fuel. Twice!
     
  21. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    On a second date, I took a girl flying. She stole my heart! (It IS Valentine's Day today, after all)
     
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  22. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Sometimes I preflight and then cancel the flight. The next day I’ve often thought if I should check fuel again before launch. I always do and it feels silly, but you never know!
     
  23. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Sounds like someone used your plane for a drug run.
     
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  24. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Line Up and Wait

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    Yep, former Jeep driver here. Please take my 20 year old Pioneer supertuner, just don't cut my top. I used to just go ahead zip the clears out of it so there was absolutely no way any reasonable person would cut it to gain entry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I've had things added. Once the ceiling knob that controls the air intact fell off, just needed tightened. I didn't have the right screwdriver, and the aircraft was going into maintenance anyway, so I asked the mechanics to score the thing. Airplane came back from maintenance with no know on the ceiling or within the airplane. Calle date mechanics, they didn't know anything. I sourced a new knob (all of $6), but when I went to install it in the old knob was suddenly there. Same thing happened with my spare key.
     
  26. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought a 56 172 to take my primary training in. During the first flight with my instructor we flew the plane from my airport, KLBX south of Houston, the short distance to his hanger at KAXH. That eliminated the issue of us getting together to fly until he could sign me off to fly solo from LBX to AXH.

    A few weeks later I got a call from our airport manager telling me that the sheriff needed to see me at my hanger right away. When I drove into the airport I saw several sheriff cars and people standing outside a lot of the hangers. It turned out that someone had broken into a lot of the hangers, had pulled out and moved several planes, and then had stolen a 172 from the hanger next to mine. That plane was found crashed into the power lines a mile or so south of the airport.

    No one was found in the wrecked plane and the sheriff office was trying to figure out what happened. They escorted each hanger owner into their hanger to see if anything was missing and then asked if we knew anything about the incident.

    They had a hard time understanding why I had a hanger for a plane that I owned, but had my plane at another airport. Finally, after talking to my instructor and verifying my story, they let me close the door on my hanger and go home.

    About 30 minutes after I got home the airport manager called me and said the FBI had showed up and I had to go back. There are a lot of chemical plants about 10 miles south of LBX and the FBI thought a terrorist had stolen the plane with the intention of crashing it into one of the plants.

    The FBI had mobilized a large crew, Including several forensic teams, and were really ticked that the sheriff had let us go into the hangers and ‘contaminate the crime scene’. They really didn’t like the story on my plane.

    They took me to one of the conference rooms to talk about it and had me go through the story several times. They asked me two different times if I knew ‘Lying to an FBI agent was a federal offense’. We called my instructor again and eventually, after sending an agent to AXH to verify that my plane was really there, they let me go.

    There was a V-tailed Bo parked outside of his hanger a short distance from mine. It wasn’t damaged and looked good when the sheriff had let us go. It didn’t look nearly as good with fingerprint powder all over the outside. I heard the panel and interior looked much worse. After all the effort it took to get the black powder off the outside of my hanger door I don’t know how the Bo owner got the inside of his plane cleaned up.

    In the end, a guy turned himself into the sheriff. He said he had seen the news coverage including statements by the FBI and DHS about the investigation they were doing with references to possible terrorism. He said he’d been arrested by the sheriff several times before so he wanted the sheriff’s to arrest him instead of the FBI. It turned out that he got drunk, had always wanted to fly a plane, and talked a friend into dropping him off at the airport with a pair of bolt cutters.

    He said he started with the first hanger he came to and went down the line checking planes to see if they had the keys inside. The first he found with keys was the Bo. He pulled it out, read the manual that he found in the glove box, figured out how to start it, and taxied out to the runway. At some point he decided it was too complicated so he taxied it back the the hanger he took it from and went to look for a plane that would be easier to fly.

    He went down the line of hangers and found a 172 with the keys in it at the next hanger he opened after mine. He said that based on what he read in the 172 manual it looked like it would be easier to fly than the Bo and it was set up just like the 172 he played with in flight simulator.

    He taxied the 172 out and actually got it airborne. He said it was ‘really foggy’ so he couldn’t get very high (the AWOS showed 300’ ceilings about the time he took his flight). He said things were going great until he heard a big noise, felt the airplane stop suddenly, then tip up and slide backwards until it stuck the ground and stopped with the nose in the air. He was able to open the door, fall out onto the ground, and walk home.

    The plane struck power lines. The prop hung up in the wires and hit the ground tail first. The tail and fuselage crushed up to the back window but apparently that absorbed enough energy that the drunk didn’t get a scratch.

    The feds ended up prosecuting him under federal charges and he got 15 years in a federal pen with no chance of parole. I had been leaving the keys in the plane when it was in the hanger but I never have since that time. He broke into my hanger before the one he stole the plane from. If mine hadn’t happened to be at my instructor’s airport, mine would have been the one hanging from the power lines.

    Gary
     
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  27. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Self licking ice cream cone
     
  28. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Maybe I should leave my old IPAD 1 in a plane and see if someone would steal it.
     
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  29. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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  30. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I have anti-theft markings on my radio and transponder to discourage thieves. They're marked "Microair." My biggest concern is that someone will break the canopy and leave more.

    Nauga,
    piecewise discontinuous
     
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  31. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Nobody's tried to steal my Mapleair, either.
    mapleair.jpg
    Having an open-cockpit plane, I'm pretty sensitive to potential for theft. But my radio and transponder require access from behind to get them out. In any case, the plane doesn't sit unattended outside very often.

    I'm more concerned about my wingtip-mounted ADS-B Out. The Skybeacon can be removed by pulling three screws. They won't have the wifi password necessary to set it up, but I suspect there are ways around it.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  32. timrb

    timrb Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Back when I was a student pilot, in the late nineties, my instructor and I were walking back to the building after just returning from a night cross-country. Up drives the airport security guard. (I didn't even know the airport had security guards.) He showed us a handheld Garmin aviation GPS, one I recognized as being their top-of-the-line at the time--I believe it sold for around $900. He said he just bought it at West Marine (a large boating supply chain) and asked us what we thought it was worth--he said he wanted to know if he had gotten a good deal.

    His story struck me as fishy, so I talked to the local West Marine manager, who told me that they not only didn't sell aviation GPS units, but that the GPS companies wouldn't even allow them to, since they are so specialized and need to be sold by people who fully understand how to use them.

    So I guessed that this guard went through the tie-down area at night looking for unlocked planes, ransacking any that he found. He asked us what the GPS unit was worth because he didn't have any idea, and needed to know before he tried fencing it. I ended up reporting it to the local police as well as posting notices on aviation bulletin boards (physical and electronic) but as far as I know nothing ever came of it.

    Lock your plane and take home anything of value that can be easily carried off.

    Tim
     
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  33. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Recovering stolen property and catching thieves do not produce any revenue for the city. Speeding tickets do. Follow the money.
     
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  34. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don't do it! I left mine in my unlocked plane overnight. When I came back that next day to see if someone stole it, I found someone had in fact got into my plane. Only thing is, they didn't take the iPad 1, but left me 3 more! Ugh!
     
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  35. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What exactly did you expect the police to do.?? Organize the SWAT team and round up everyone that has ever been near an airport, then grill them until one confesses.?? Find a finger print, run it through their in car computer system and then run over to that persons house and arrest them.??

    I thought you were against police actually ''doing something'' that would inhibit the freedom of the people.... ;)
     
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  36. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Find some fingerprints, talk to local places with cameras, basically do their job.

    I mean if they arnt going to fight crime with victims and just write traffic tickets all day, frankly I don’t have much of a use for them at all
     
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  37. n2230b

    n2230b Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Jeez-Oh-Man N-Dave,,,,
    That does look easy and fast!!!
    You know what???? Screw Medico Locks!
    What was I thinking?
     
  38. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nope, i leave my keys in the plane and even all my cars and never lock the door when im gone. Only lock key i have is the hangar door...
     
  39. -KLB-

    -KLB- Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What stinks is when your trunk is secure if you lock the car, even if they cut the top, but completely public access if you don’t lock the car.

    At least if the weather is good and no trees around, I can leave it top down and locked.
     
  40. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    Actually these Medeco locks look harder to pick than many. All locks are just a speed bump to entry. The better locks buy you time for someone to witness suspicious behavior and take action. Most of the locks at the hardware store are seconds to open.