A retired sheriff threatened me, called me a punk-ass-bitch, called the cops on me, and then I won.
In my days, lots of people have called the cops on me for various reasons and mostly no reasons. My sister still holds the record – but I digress.
This last Friday I drove pre-dawn to my favorite new paragliding location east of Napa Valley, CA.
A nice surprise – another PPG pilot was pulling in to the place at the same time. I had flown by myself the last 3 times there. We made the normal friendly introductions and began to set up our equipment.
Suddenly a truck came screaming up, peeling gravel about 80MPH towards us.
I said this can’t be good.
“Let me tell you this! You can’t fly those damn things in this park. I am the park manager for this part of the park and there can be no gas powered vehicles of any kind allowed here!
I thought to myself – how did he just peal up in his truck (and me and the rest of the folks) drive in here if gas powered vehicles are not allowed? The fact that he managed “part” of the park was a little confusing too…But I didn’t say anything.
This guy was crazy ass aggressive towards us and charged me and my new pilot friend multiple times getting inches from our face. He was in is mid 60’s I would guess and about 5 foot 10 or 11. I thought he was pretty sporty attacking the 2 of us as the other guy was about 6-1 and 200 in his early 40’s. I know I am no threat at 5-7 and 13/16, but wow. He went on to tell me about illegal airspace and another ½ dozen untruths. I explained to him I was a pilot and I could show him on an FAA map the airspace and what we were doing was legal. He got more pissed off and turned a shade crazier. This went on for a while with him making up more crap that wasn’t true.
He said “I am calling he cops!”. We both said great.
At this point I was loading up my stuff to leave and told him so. He kept at it – again and again. I said “I said I was leaving already please stop harassing me!”. I then said “what the F&*^?” ….
…and he lost his shit. He charged towards me and the other pilot stepped in and stopped him.
More of him yelling for 5 minutes, then he said – “I am going to get my friends and come back to take care of … You (looking at the other pilot)………and…
You (pointing at me) ………………..you punk-ass-bitch!
The he drove off.
Next the cop pulls up. We introduce ourselves and he says “so what up?”
We told him we didn’t call the cops, some crazy ass guy from the RC plane group did. We told him the whole story. The cop said none of what he said is true, he has no authority, you can fly here anytime. A 2nd cop pulled up and confirmed everything we were doing was legal. “I’ll go over and talk to the guy, you boys enjoy your flight.”
Then we had a great flight…until the same crazy ass guy tried to scare me with his RC plane. It’s hard to tell how close it really was with the wide angle lens of the GoPro, but you can see it at around 1:41.
Normally I am not all the politically correct kind of guy, but this time I wrote a letter to the cop thanking him for his help and his service. This is the 1st time in my life a cop was inside my bubble and it ended up being a good thing 🙂
The cop responded to my email – “those RC guys complain once in a while but guess what – they are WRONG!!!, you are welcome to use the park – come back and fly anytime.” I keep a copy of that email in my glove box 🙂
The crazy guy’s attitude bothered me all night. The next morning, I googled RC clubs in the area and the 1st picture I found was a picture of Mr. Crazy Ass. I googled his name.
He is the retired Sheriff of the county!
I am glad I didn’t “defend myself” that morning as I am sure he was packing.
A Sherriff called the cops on me and I won. Seems impossible but true. I have a great new place to fly and police approval. I hope it stays that way.