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Sun, Aug 19, 2007

Hungry Helo Pilot Lands On Highway Median

Airport Just Down The Road

Hey, a guy's gotta eat. A helicopter pilot on his way to Traverse City, MI decided to make a lunch stop in the city of Midland on Tuesday. Instead of choosing to land at the airport a quarter mile away from the restaurant, though... the pilot set down on a grassy area near a busy highway.

The Associated Press reports the pilot then walked with his female passenger to Logan's Roadhouse for a bite to eat... as employees at the store next to the parked helicopter called the police.

Officers said the pilot initially claimed to have permission to land on the off-airport site, but then said the helicopter was having mechanical problems and a precautionary landing was necessary.

When police told the man he would need to have a mechanic check out the helicopter to ensure it was flight-ready before he could take off, he changed his story yet again, according to Midland Deputy Police Chief Robert Lane.

"They changed their tune and admitted they were on their way to Traverse City and stopped for lunch," Lane said.

Police would not release the pilot's name, only identifying him as a 54-year old-from Metamora Township.

The pilot was ticketed with a misdemeanor charge for an illegal landing, the AP reports. The charge carries with it a maximum fine of $500 and up to 90 days in jail.



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