Sat, Nov 15, 2003
Standoff Affects Airport Operations
by ANN Associate Editor Pete Combs
The Scottsdale Airport (AZ) terminal was closed and aircraft
were stacked up at both ends of the runway for more than two hours
Friday, as a man police said has an AK-47 threatened to shoot down
any airplane that flies overhead. Ironically, the skies just off
the departure end of runway 3 were full of helicopters, although
they were moved about a half-mile away from the scene after the
suspect apparently fired shots into the air. A Maricopa
County Sheriff's Department helicopter orbited inside the ring of
The Scottsdale ATIS mentioned a "police situation" near the end of
the runway. At the time, aircraft were taking off and landing on
runway 21. However, because of the threat to departing aircraft, no
aircraft could leave.
Several big corporate aircraft were already queued for takeoff
when ATC came up with a pretty snazzy idea. Since winds were
relatively light, they landed aircraft at one end of the runway,
then allowed them to take off from the other. Departing flights
used runway 3. Arriving flights continued to use runway 21.
Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the standoff.
It ended when officers say the suspect walked toward a nearby car
with the intention of driving away. An officer shot the unnamed
suspect in the chest.
Earlier Friday, Aero-News published an article on the debate
over noise generated by aircraft at the Scottsdale Airport.
However, there's no indication why the man was holed up with an
assault weapon. Officers suspected he was using marijuana or
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