Monday

Smugglers in trikes

Since I fly within 50 miles of the boarder in the boot heel of New Mexico I have to comment on this recent article Ultralight flights new method to haul drugs from the Arizona Republic and this column . It seems there have been 3 identified incursions into US airspace from Mexico by drug smugglers using weight shift aircraft. All 3 were carrying bales of pot. Does this strike anyone as odd? The payload on a flex wing microlight is about 500-600 lbs. for most 2 seat aircraft. Why would someone try smuggling bales of pot with a 500 lb. payload? The cost benefit ratio is extremely poor for such a common commodity. It would make more sense to try and smuggle something with a higher profit margin rather than a bale of weed.

What is more unusual is that all 3 crashed, in one case killing the pilot and paralyzing the other. In all fairness the third pilot reportedly crashed while trying to drop his load. Clearly he did not watch this video on how to drop a cargo load from Air First Aid. But back to the 2 deaths, one “unidentified pilot clipped a power line in December while being chased by a Customs and Border Protection drone.” Being chased by a drone! Lets see, someone has flown across the boarder and not stopped for customs inspection so they send up the drone to chase them down. As all pilots know flying to close to someone can be hazardous. Trying to pilot a light sport aircraft while being intercepted by an unmanned drone sounds dangerous. John Kemmeries had it right when he said "These aircraft are designed to carry a person, not a payload." I guess it’s time to brush up on my intercept procedures .

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