Wrong ID of ‘Stolen’ Cessna Causes Gunpoint Drama

After landing at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport on August 28, King Schools owners John and Martha King were puzzled when ATC insisted that they taxi to a remote corner of the airport. Four waiting police cars disgorged officers who held the Kings at gunpoint, asked them to exit the airplane, handcuffed them and placed John and Martha in separate police cars. “This is a risky, lethal situation,” King told AIN. “Do not argue, don’t complain, don’t explain, just do what you’re told. I was thinking not to screw this up and get shot.” The officers finally admitted that the airplane was reported stolen by a U.S. government agency called the El Paso Intelligence Center (Epic), which tracks stolen aircraft and matches them to IFR flight activity. Epic alerted the Santa Barbara police about the Cessna 172 (N50545) that the Kings were flying, not knowing that it carried the retired N-number of a Cessna 150 that was stolen eight years ago

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