Mississippi FBO Worker Steals, Crashes King Air

 - September 6, 2022, 11:44 AM
This King Air C90, N342ER was stolen by an FBO staffer, who circled over Tupelo, Mississippi for five hours before crash-landing it in a farm field. (Photo: FlightAware)

Authorities in Mississippi are continuing the investigation into an incident that occurred this weekend when an FBO worker at Tupelo Regional Airport stole a Beechcraft King Air C90. According to Tupelo Police, Cory Wayne Patterson, a line service technician at Tupelo Aviation for the past 10 years, took the fully-fueled twin turboprop around 5 a.m. Saturday morning. FAA records show Patterson has held a student pilot certificate since 2013.

He then circled Tupelo for several hours, at one point threatening to crash the aircraft into a large retail store, causing the building to be evacuated. As fuel ran low, he issued an apologetic social media post saying he “never actually wanted to hurt anybody” and finished with “goodbye.”

Negotiators speaking with Patterson eventually convinced him to try and land the airplane with the help of an experienced pilot talking him down. But he crash-landed the King Air in a nearby field around 10:20 a.m.

Unharmed by the rough landing, the man was arrested and charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats. A Tupelo police spokesperson told AIN that Patterson was denied bail and remains in custody. He may also face federal charges.

The King Air, registered to Mississippi-based Southeast Aviation, was recovered from the field but there was no report as to its damage.