King Air C90 which was stolen in Mississippi
This King Air C90 was stolen by an FBO staffer who circled over Tupelo, Mississippi for five hours before crash-landing it in a farm field. (Photo: FlightAware)

Mississippi Airport Worker Steals, Crashes King Air

No one was hurt after a man with a student pilot's license threatened to fly the aircraft into the local Walmart.

Authorities in Mississippi are continuing the investigation into an incident that occurred on September 3 when an FBO worker at Tupelo Regional Airport stole a Beechcraft King Air C90. According to Tupelo Police, Cory Wayne Patterson, a line service technician at Tupelo Aviation for the past 10 years, took the fully fueled twin turboprop around 5 a.m. FAA records show Patterson has held a student pilot certificate since 2013.

He then circled Tupelo for several hours, at one point threatening to crash the aircraft into a Walmart, causing the building to be evacuated. As fuel ran low, he issued an apologetic social media post saying he “never actually wanted to hurt anybody” and finished with “goodbye.”

Negotiators speaking with Patterson eventually convinced him to try to land the airplane with the help of an experienced pilot talking him down. But he crash-landed the King Air in a nearby field around 10:20 a.m.

Unharmed by the rough landing, Patterson was arrested and charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats. A Tupelo police spokesperson told BJT that Patterson was denied bail and remains in custody. He may also face federal charges.

The King Air, registered to Mississippi-based Southeast Aviation, was recovered from the field.