Aussie man taxis his two-seater plane to a pub to grab a drink, gets fined for prank
He was thirsty and all he wanted was a drink.
So Anthony "Auto" Whiteway, 37, from Newman in western Australia, decided to go to a nearest pub.
He didn't walk, neither did he drive.
He was taxiing his new two-seater plane home when he decided to take a detour to the pub for a "lemonade", The West Australian reported.
Mr Whiteway told the North West Telegraph: "I was a little hot, a little parched and I called into the pub and that was okay at first. "I went to the toilet and when I came out, all hell had broken loose."
He said a friend at the bar said a very angry police officer had come in and asked who owned the plane that was parked in the front. He said he had no idea the stunt would attract international attention.
"I just thought I'll call (in at) the pub for a quick lemonade, and maybe get a happy snap for a giggle and put it on my Facebook page," he was quoted as saying.
Now, he has become a celebrity of sorts in the town, with people telling him that he is their idol.
Said Mr Whiteway: "I've been signing girls' T-shirts in the pub. It's been unreal."
But the police failed to see the humorous side. They said the incident happened when children were walking home from school and that the state of the plane's engine was "potentially dangerous".
On Tuesday, Mr Whiteway pleaded guilty in Newman Magistrate's Court to endangering the life, health or safety of a person, an offence with a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.
He was fined more than A$5,000 (S$5,600) and ordered to pay the police towage costs for the incident, which happened last month. He told ABC that he would not be taking the wingless plane to any pub any time soon.
Newman police Sergeant Mark McKenzie said the plane had its propeller running, its wings removed and was steered by foot pedals.
He said: "All he needed was one gust of wind...because without the wings, it's not stable. People think it was a bit of a laugh but it was very dangerous."
But Mr Whiteway said there was no malicious intent and that he had bought the plane in the hope of becoming a pilot.
He added: "I knew what I was doing. I taxied it perfectly. Look how well I parked it."
This article was first published on Nov 20, 2014.
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