Well, that wasn’t too smart.
A floatplane pilot and passenger apparently decided the best way to see the final matches of the Ryder Cup was to land on Lake Hazeltine and drop anchor adjacent of the 7th hole.
Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight wasn’t amused. A city ordinance, you see, prohibits any activity on the lake during the event. Ryder Cup security even includes an official from the FAA watching radar.
Knight described the incident, which happened about 2:30 p.m. Sunday:
A small plane was seen coming in low, then banked sharply and disappeared off radar, Knight said. That meant the plane had landed.
Police deployed a boat and headed to the plane. But the motor failed and the officers had to row the rest of the way, the chief said.
The pilot and passenger were brought to shore; the plane was left anchored in the lake. The two men were given citations.
“But there are more things looming in the pilot’s future,” Knight said. “The FAA Flight Standards division is very interested in him. He’s violated their rules and they will be talking to him on Monday.”
Knight called the pilot’s actions “imbecilic” and “stupid.”
“In this day and age, with all the things that I think even the most casual person is aware of in regards to security, threats and potential dangers ... to roll the dice and not even think there is potential for not having a mishap or getting our attention is beyond me,” the chief said.
The pilot and passenger are “afoot,” Knight said. The plane will stay where it is until the Ryder Cup is completely done.
Did the pilot know he’d made a mistake? “He claimed he didn’t, but I can’t imagine he didn’t.
Lake Hazeltine has no public access. All of the shoreline is privately owned, Knight said.
Two canoeists who arrived on the lake shortly after the plane landed also were cited by police. Earlier in the tournament, police had to ask two kayakers to leave the lake, too. On Wednesday, a helicopter flew “way too low” over the tournament. Officials were waiting for him when he landed “and he’s got some repercussions,” Knight said.
Knight said the interlopers were the biggest security problem police had to handle during the Ryder Cup.
“We weren’t expecting it but we had a plan and it worked,” he said.