13 More Bizarre Philadelphia International Airport Moments: A Timeline

Welcome to the pantheon, guy who just made the plane turn around.

plane crash phl

Photo | Dennis Fee

This past Tuesday night, the pilots of a US Airways flight heading from Philadelphia International Airport to London were forced to make good on their “don’t make me turn this plane around!” threats once Robert Coppack decided to hit for the dickhead passenger cycle.

According to NBC Philadelphia, Coppack, a dual US/UK citizen, has been accused of touching three female passengers inappropriately, verbally abusing crew and threatening a Federal Air Marshal in the air. After the plane, which was near Cape Cod at the time of the turnaround, returned to PHL, he allegedly became “physically aggressive [and] belligerent” during interviews with law enforcement. He’s currently detained in Center City awaiting a hearing early next week.

These shenanigans serve as the latest entry in the canon of bizarre/embarrassing/both incidents that have involved PHL over the years. Below, a recent timeline of PHL’s many odd and unfortunate moments (2013 was a bear of a year for these guys). We should be thankful that these are all relatively minor in the grand scheme.

2001: A month after 9/11, passenger Neil Godfrey is barred from boarding a plane for carrying a copy of Hayduke Lives!, a novel featuring an illustration of a man holding dynamite on its cover. He returns later with a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban but is still deemed unfit to fly. POTTER!

2003: A Philly police officer with a long history of malfeasance comes close to paralyzing a minister in a physical altercation in a passenger loading zone.

2004: A drunk guy from Pottstown flies his plane in and out of PHL-controlled airspace, miraculously avoiding injury to himself and others.

2009: Student Nicholas George, a Middle Eastern studies major at California’s Pomona College, is “subjected to aggressive questioning, handcuffed and locked in a cell for more than four hours” for carrying English-to-Arabic translation flashcards.

2010: Maryland resident Kathy Parker is selected for an exhaustive search and screening after TSA agents decide, erroneously, that she’s embezzling money from her own husband.

2011: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement busts two baggage handlers for attempting to smuggle coke off a US Airways flight from Jamaica.

2012: Chadds Ford resident Kenneth Mazik deliberately crashes his Jeep through a locked airport gate and joyrides all over the runways.

2013: An airplane cleaning crew finds a passenger’s misplaced credit card and uses it for a $1000+ shopping spree — while still at the airport.

2013: A Frenchman named Philippe Jerrnard dresses up as an Air France 747 pilot, complete with fake employee ID, and manages to get into the cockpit of a US Airways flight before being arrested, probably because he is not as good-looking as Leo.

2013: A woman accidentally loses control of her vehicle, drives through a security gate and narrowly misses crashing into a parked plane.

2013: “Snoop Dogg” hangs at PHL and takes a picture with a little kid. Then it turned out it was a Snoop Dog impersonator named Lawrence Johnson. This isn’t a negative incident but I just wanted to include it anyway because it rules.

2013: Wallingford native, Penn State alum, and NFL linebacker Dan Connor is nicked at security for packing a switchblade in his carry-on.

2014: A US Airways plane (these dudes have the worst luck) blows a tire during takeoff, resulting in massive media coverage and passenger Hannah Udren’s inspired selfie.

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