Wed, Oct 01, 2003
Spots Escaped Criminal, Leading To Apprehension
Aviat Aircraft's Chief
Pilot, Mark Heiner, spends most of his time conducting flight tests
for new products or new copies of the Aviat's Huskys, Pups, or
Pitts Specials. He took on a very different role recently in
response to a call from the Sheriff's office.
A convicted criminal and mental patient, Lucas Balys, had
escaped custody while being transported to Wyoming's State
Hospital. The call went out to law enforcement agencies, bringing
in a group of State Police and Sheriff's Deputies. According to a
spokesman for the Sheriff's Office in Lincoln County, "Aviat
Aviation was more than happy to help law enforcement's efforts to
locate this man and keep the community safe."
Heiner took off from Afton in a Husky A-1B and began circling
the area where the escapee was last seen. Deputy Timothy Malik
stated, "the plane was quite well suited for just such a situation
in such a tight area for flying a search pattern close to the
ground. Heiner was extremely stalwart in his attempts to
locate the suspect in that "extremely suspect-friendly environment.
Mark's persistence and above average flying skills eventually
proved the suspect's undoing." Mark radioed the ground forces about
the visual contact he had made with the suspect and the search
quickly came to a successful conclusion.
Huskys have been used by law enforcement and border patrols for
years, with good results. The wide speed range of 50 to 140 mph,
and excellent visibility make the aircraft a highly effective tool
in aerial spotting.
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