FREDERICK, Md. - A homeless man trying to leave town in a stolen plane crashed the single-engine aircraft on a municipal airport runway without ever leaving the ground, police said.
Calvin C. Cox, 51, wanted to fly away from Frederick early Monday but ended up in jail instead, unable to make bail, authorities said. He remained in custody after a District Court Commissioner set his bail at $10,000 on felony charges including theft, burglary and trespassing.
Cox wasn't hurt when the Piper Super Cub ran off a runway at Frederick Municipal Airport and upended in the grass at about 2:15 a.m. yesterday, police said. A canine team tracked him into nearby woods, Frederick Police Lt. Clark A. Pennington said.
Pennington said that Cox had lived in a tent in the nearby woods and somehow became familiar enough with the airport and airplanes that he was able to get inside a hangar and start the aircraft.
The two-seat Piper, owned by the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association, sustained damage to its engine and propeller, club President Michael H. Higgins said.
Club member Lance Nuckolls said that the hangar had been locked and that starting the Piper would have required activating several switches and a starter button in the correct sequence.
"You don't just stumble on it and figure it out," he said. "You have to be trained to do that."
Cox is not listed in FAA airmen certification records as a licensed pilot or mechanic. He could have learned about airplanes, though, by working for a certified mechanic, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters.