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Man accused of taking plane on joy ride while drunk

By Michelle Rindels

Associated Press


Police arrested a man accused of taking a small plane from the Boulder City Airport without permission, then taking off and landing repeatedly in a drunken joyride.

Paul Michael Weddle, 47, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center early Monday on suspicion of piloting an aircraft while under the influence, taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and making a false statement to an officer. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

According to a police report, an employee with sightseeing company Scenic Airlines reported someone stole the plane and had been taking off and landing several times a little before midnight Sunday.

Police who responded said they watched the airplane taxi around at a high rate of speed and make two 360-degree turns before coming to a stop close to another aircraft. The pilot appeared to be "having a hard time operating/controlling the airplane," according to the arresting officer.

When the pilot eventually got out of the plane, police said, he didn't comply with officers' commands and instead reached into his pockets. An officer then tackled him and cuffed him, according to the report.

Weddle, who police said smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech, reportedly told officers he took the plane to complete the takeoff and landing portions of his pilot's license.

His blood alcohol level was later measured at 0.13 percent, authorities said.

It's unclear exactly how Weddle got into the airport in the middle of the night, although he appears to be a former employee of a tour airline company that operates out of the Boulder City Airport, according to airport director Brok Armantrout.

Mark Slack, vice president of administration at Scenic Airlines parent company Grand Canyon Airlines, declined to say whether Weddle had been affiliated with his company or discuss how Weddle might have gained access to the plane.

Federal Aviation Administration records show a Paul Michael Weddle of Henderson has a pilot's license.

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HanabataDays wrote:
Doesn't say what kind of plane it was. Presumably not a twin, or they'd still be scraping him out of the impact crater.
on March 4,2014 | 06:24AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Weddle, who police said smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech, reportedly told officers he took the plane to complete the takeoff and landing portions of his pilot's license.
What do you guys think? Will he pass?
on March 4,2014 | 06:40AM
cojef wrote:
Whomever is the licensing authority has tough row to hoe. Will yo issue a license to a sot?
on March 4,2014 | 08:41AM
BuhByeAloha wrote:
Wow, that's Paul Weddle! I was his neighbor in Manoa before he moved to Colorado. He used to be a pilot with Aloha Airlines before they went out of business. Must of been really drunk this time to forget he had his pilots license.
on March 4,2014 | 08:36AM
cojef wrote:
Oops sent for Approval. Will any sane person issue a pilot license to someone who sneak into an airport at night, steal plane in an inebriated condition? It could happen, as it has.
on March 4,2014 | 08:44AM
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