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Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:05 am
by synanthropic
The Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Melbourne International Airport (FL) has been shut down after a student pilot boarded a passenger airplane that was in an airport maintenance facility. No word on the airline, but I am sure there are some worries after what occurred recently in Washington State. Police apprehended the "college-age" student pilot almost immediately.

No passengers were (obviously) on the plane, and as I am typing this, word is coming over that the airport is being re-opened with no major delay - no other word has been released, but it will be interesting to see what this was all about!

Re: Melbourne (MEL) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:18 am
by BAeRJ100
The title needs to be updated. The code for Melbourne, FL is MLB. MEL is Melbourne, Australia.

Re: Melbourne (MEL) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:19 am
by a320fan
Stupid thing to do on behalf of the student pilot, who would surely know better. Assuming his intentions were benign.

Also recommend a change in title to specify this occurred in Melbourne FL, which carries the code MLB. rather than the significantly larger MEL which is the code for Melbourne in Australia.

Re: Melbourne (MEL) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:31 am
by synanthropic
BAeRJ100 wrote:
The title needs to be updated. The code for Melbourne, FL is MLB. MEL is Melbourne, Australia.


Fixed, Stupid mistake on my behalf; I was typing quickly as I was running into my office!

a320fan wrote:
Stupid thing to do on behalf of the student pilot, who would surely know better. Assuming his intentions were benign.


I can't imagine what the pilot was even thinking, especially nowadays. I remember years ago learning to fly and being able to roam fairly freely, but even then, I would never board a passenger plane sitting in a hangar!

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:57 pm
by Acey559
I’m flying out of MLB this afternoon. I’ll see if I can find out any more information from the counter or gate agents.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:04 pm
by synanthropic
Acey559 wrote:
I’m flying out of MLB this afternoon. I’ll see if I can find out any more information from the counter or gate agents.


Sun-Sentinel just reported this:

he incident started at about 2 a.m. when the suspect drove to the curb outside the airport and left his car running, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said. He hopped a fence and boarded a vacant Airbus A321 aircraft belonging to American Airlines, Booker said.

A maintenance worker saw the suspect and alerted airport police, who apprehended him within a couple of minutes, Booker said.


Good catch by the maintenance worker and quick work all around! The media noted that there were only two delayed flights, and the airport resumed normal operations at about 7 a.m EST.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:02 pm
by 727LOVER
It's actually called Orlando Melbourne International Airport :bouncy:

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:15 pm
by ual763
I mean, not going to lie, when I was in college, I’ve sat in King Airs and stuff sitting in the MX hangars. But, a part 121 airliner is definitely a no go. However, I worked on the university’s ramp, and every now and then, we’d take our tugs over to the FBO ramp and walk under and around the chartered 737s and MD-80s.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:28 pm
by Acey559
That’s pretty much what I heard. There are four AA Airbus aircraft that I can see, plus an AC Airbus and Elite CRJ sitting over on that maintenance ramp. Good thing people are on high alert. The MRO shop looks pretty busy so I’m guessing they have three shifts going, which helped them catch the guy. Glad it all turned out okay (except for the one who hopped the fence) and nobody got hurt.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:57 pm
by Kronesian
Acey559 wrote:
That’s pretty much what I heard. There are four AA Airbus aircraft that I can see, plus an AC Airbus and Elite CRJ sitting over on that maintenance ramp. Good thing people are on high alert. The MRO shop looks pretty busy so I’m guessing they have three shifts going, which helped them catch the guy. Glad it all turned out okay (except for the one who hopped the fence) and nobody got hurt.


The AC plane is actually a 737 MAX. They have planes everywhere on the ramp there, it is crazy. Going to make spotting a bit more tricky now since the police will be patrolling more!

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:01 pm
by Acey559
Kronesian wrote:
Acey559 wrote:
That’s pretty much what I heard. There are four AA Airbus aircraft that I can see, plus an AC Airbus and Elite CRJ sitting over on that maintenance ramp. Good thing people are on high alert. The MRO shop looks pretty busy so I’m guessing they have three shifts going, which helped them catch the guy. Glad it all turned out okay (except for the one who hopped the fence) and nobody got hurt.


The AC plane is actually a 737 MAX. They have planes everywhere on the ramp there, it is crazy. Going to make spotting a bit more tricky now since the police will be patrolling more!


Thanks! I didn’t get a good look, I just assumed (oops) that it was a ‘Bus since the rest were. From my vantage in the terminal I could only see the vertical stabilizer.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:55 am
by stl07
Its an "out of the park"!

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:06 am
by smokeybandit
synanthropic wrote:
[

Sun-Sentinel just reported this:

he incident started at about 2 a.m. when the suspect drove to the curb outside the airport and left his car running, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said. He hopped a fence and boarded a vacant Airbus A321 aircraft belonging to American Airlines, Booker said.

A maintenance worker saw the suspect and alerted airport police, who apprehended him within a couple of minutes, Booker said.


Good catch by the maintenance worker and quick work all around! The media noted that there were only two delayed flights, and the airport resumed normal operations at about 7 a.m EST.



So his status as a student pilot seems irrelevant if he drove there at 2am just to try to board the aircraft

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:58 am
by synanthropic
MSN is reporting the identity of the student pilot as well as what he will be charged with:

Police arrived and arrested the intruder, identified as Nishal Sankat, 22, a student at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

Authorities said they don't know Sankat's motive. He was unarmed and carried no explosives, they said. No links to terror groups have been discovered, Gillespie said. Sankat is being questioned at the Brevard County Jail and will be charged with trespass on airport property, burglary and attempted theft of an aircraft, said Reneè Purden, the airport police chief.

While the status of someone training to be a pilot may be largely irrelevant to the "big picture" for some people, I think it is notable to many others in civil aviation in the overall story.

Re: Melbourne (MLB) Airport closed after student pilot boards passenger plane

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:10 pm
by 77H
Unfortunately this stunt just cost him a career in aviation, in any role, period. He doesn’t even need to be convicted. The fact that he was charged with attempted theft of an aircraft will show up on the FBI background check. Aircraft theft is an automatic disqualification when trying to obtain an AOA/SIDA badge.

If actually convicted, he’ll likely struggle to find decent work period as it is a felony. Will be interesting to hear what was going through his mind. A real shame someone so young irreparably altered their future for the worst.

On the brighter side, flight training is expensive, which lends to the notion he/his family should be able to afford a competent lawyer.

77H