Stolen Plane Flies From Paradise Airport

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (AP) – Landing a plane erratically in view of a Central Valley police chief has a licensed pilot facing charges after police say they discovered he was flying a stolen plane. Chowchilla Police Chief Jay Varney says he went to investigate after seeing the plane on approach to Chowchilla Airport around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Varney says after the plane landed, he caught the pilot, identified as Lonnie Blackburn, trying to paint over the identification number of the Cessna 172 with spray paint. Police say the 46-year-old Blackburn flew the stolen plane from an airport in Paradise, Calif., to a second airport, before landing in Chowchilla. Police did not identify the second airport, but the distance from Paradise to Chowchilla is about 200 miles. Blackburn was booked on suspicion of on suspicion of grand theft and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.


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