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Illegally Landing a Stolen Helicopter at the White House | Tales From the Bottle

Can you really steal an aircraft and fly it straight to the White House? No, but back in the seventies you could! They were better times...
"On February 17, 1974, U.S. Army Private Robert K. Preston took off in a stolen Bell UH-1B Iroquois "Huey" helicopter from Tipton Field, Maryland, and landed it on the South Lawn of the White House in a major breach of security. Preston had enlisted in the Army to become a helicopter pilot, but he did not graduate from the helicopter training course and lost his opportunity to attain the rank of warrant officer pilot. He was bound by his enlistment to serve four years in the Army, and he was sent to Fort Meade as a helicopter mechanic. Preston believed that this situation was unfair and later said that he stole the helicopter to show his skill as a pilot.
Shortly after midnight, Preston, on leave, was returning to Tipton Field, south of Fort Meade. Thirty helicopters at the base were fueled and ready to fly; he took off in one without anti-collision lights on or making the standard radio calls. The Maryland State Police were alerted, and Preston flew southwest toward Washington, D.C., where he hovered close to the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and over the South Lawn of the White House. He then flew back toward Fort Meade, with two Bell 206 JetRanger police helicopters and police cars in pursuit. After a chase over Maryland, he reversed course toward Washington again and entered the White House grounds. This time, the Secret Service opened fire. Preston was lightly wounded, landed the helicopter, and was arrested and held in custody.
In the plea bargain at his court-martial, Preston pleaded guilty to "wrongful appropriation and breach of the peace" and was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of US$2,400 (equivalent to $12,442 in 2019). He had already been in prison for six months, and had to serve six additional months. After his release, Preston received a general discharge from the army, then lived a quiet life, married, and died of cancer in 2009."

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9 января 2021 г. 2:00:01