Inhofe’s Bad Landing: Audio of Senator’s Brush with FAA

By Nick Gass

Apr 14, 2011 5:21pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:

There’s a lot of uproar on Capitol Hill these days about the two recent instances when FAA controllers fell asleep on the job.

“They risk the lives of millions of Americans who fly into and out of airports here in America every day,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday.

But some lawmakers might want to think twice before ripping the FAA for jeopardizing safety in the skies.  

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, recently ran into trouble himself when he intentionally landed his six-seater Cessna on a closed Texas runway, reportedly endangering construction workers and six vehicles, all left petrified by the onrushing plane.

The incident reportedly “scared the crap” out of the workers and made the driver of a truck “wet his britches” because he was “scared to death,” according to Sidney Boyd, the supervisor at the scene. Listen to the audio, released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Ultimately Inhofe was required to complete an FAA program for the incident. He now says the matter is closed.

“This is an old story, and the FAA and I have long consider the matter closed,” Inhofe said in a statement. “As noted in the letter from FAA aviation safety inspector, Robert O’Keefe, my dealings with the FAA did not constitute an admission nor an adjudication of a violation. I was cleared to approach by the FAA prior to landing on the runway. I have completed the program required by the FAA, and this matter is over.”

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