The 37-year-old had only just bought the two-seater Beechcraft aircraft in the town of Newman – about 1200km north of Perth – and was driving it home with wings removed when he decided to stop for a pint.
He left the plane neatly parked up – albeit with engine still running and the propeller spinning – in a bay outside Newman Hotel’s Purple Pub. The hilarious spectacle quickly attracted a crowd of around 200 giggling onlookers armed with cameras and iPhones.
But the prank was deemed anything but ‘fair dinkum’ by wowsers in the local police, who have now charged the pilot with endangering life, health and safety.
Newman police sergeant Mark McKenzie reckoned it was all just ‘plane’ stupid and was quick to raise the paddle of rebuke.
“It was a pretty stupid thing to do,” said McKenzie, according to The Guardian. “Kids were coming home from school. It could been very ugly. All he needed was one gust of wind….because without wings, it’s not stable.
“People think it was a bit of a laugh but it was very dangerous and we’re not very happy with it.”
Officers called to the scene noticed that the plane had an exposed fuel line hanging from its side attached to a jerry can inside the cabin to make it run.
The culprit – who had used foot pedals to steer the plane – passed a breath test at the scene, and was not involved in any accidents. Nonetheless, he must now appear in Newman magistrates’ court on November 18.
Critics of the heavy-handed police response have argued that the residents of Newman should be grateful to the pilot for bringing a little much-needed excitement to the Western Australian town. But as he doesn’t even hold a pilot’s licence he might do better drinking Red Bull in future.