Eggs Away!

Teens Charged With Airborne Egging

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Two teenagers were arrested on charges they bombed their high school with a bucket of eggs from a low-flying airplane.

During the incident last June, panicked officials evacuated about two dozen people from the top floors of a hotel when the two-seat plane circled low over downtown Gettysburg, then disappeared.

"You hate to think what might have happened -- even unintentionally," prosecutor Brian Sinnett said. He called the prank "one of the most bizarre cases that I've been involved in."

The two Gettysburg High students were arrested last Friday on charges including risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment. They were caught after telling others about the incident, authorities said. They were not identified because they are juveniles.

During the incident, police tried to signal the plane using flashlights. Fog and darkness prevented authorities from reading the tail number.

The airplane, which belonged to the father of the boy at the controls, apparently landed at a private family airstrip. The boy does not have a pilot's license, Sinnett said.

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44 Responses:

  1. waider says:

    "risking a catastrophe" is an honest-to-goodness chargeable offence? That bit of legislature must make for an interesting read...

  2. autodidactic says:

    I bet you anything this is how Stringfellow Hawk got his start.


  3. lars_larsen says:

    It is legal to dump anything out of an airplane that cant hurt someone. So paper fliers, rose petals, water baloons, eggs, etc. are all legal.

    That is definitely one of those "we have to charge them with SOMETHING!" situations. Is an egg hitting someone really a "catastrophe"?!?!?!?

    • edlang says:

      Bodies? Bodies are squishy. I've never heard of anyone being killed by a cadaver before. And anyway, if someone is killed, isn't it the cadaver which is doing the murdering? So the person that pushed it out of the plane is only an accessory to the murder?

      • lars_larsen says:

        Obviously someone could be hurt by a body falling out of the sky.

        • edlang says:


          The impact velocity of things like eggs, water balloons etc is not constant -- it's not as though after dropping several thousand feet, it will come to a stop, and then throw itself the last few feet to simulate being thrown at zero elevation.

          Anyway, these guys were flying at low alitude, so I'm going to plug my dead body idea until it turns into a flogged dead horse.

      • doubleyou says:

        "Cadavers don't kill people. People do..."

    • mattlazycat says:

      Is an egg hitting someone really a "catastrophe"?!?!?!?

      Depends if it's hard-boiled or not, I guess!

      • lars_larsen says:

        Reminds me of that girl who complained about a concussion from a piece of plaster hitting her in the head on that donald trump show.

    • ciphergoth says:

      No, but a plane hitting someone is.

      • lars_larsen says:

        It depends if that was a "populated area" or not. If it was unpopulated he can legally fly as low as he feels he can still safely make an emergency landing. I don't think you'd have to fly that low to hit a building with a bucket of eggs. You could easily do it from the legal 1000ft minimum over populated areas.

        • llynda says:

          Sounds like it was both fairly low and over a populated area: "During the incident last June, panicked officials evacuated about two dozen people from the top floors of a hotel when the two-seat plane circled low over downtown Gettysburg, then disappeared."

          That, plus the fact that visibility was so bad that "Fog and darkness prevented authorities from reading the tail number," would probably make said authorities more concerned about things being hit by an airplane than things being hit by eggs. At a guess, learning that the pilot was an unlicensed juvenile trying to egg his school made them less concerned about terrorism but more appalled by the accident risk.

          • lars_larsen says:

            Yeah, sounds like its legally a "populated area".

            I've flown under 1000 feet over a populated area before. Doing photography for a construction company. Its not really something you're going to get in trouble for, but it is something you could get yelled at for if the FAA finds out.

            What a dumbass kid, he should have kept his mouth shut and he never would have been caught.

    • indyzil says:

      It is legal to dump anything out of an airplane that cant hurt someone. So paper fliers, rose petals, water baloons, eggs, etc. are all legal.

      As far as the FAA cares, you can drop anything as long as "reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property." (Federal Aviation Regulations, Section 91.15)

      Local laws can override this.

      I've been taking part in a "pumpkin toss" for the last few years. 500 feet, open the door, let 'er rip. There's a cash prize for hitting the target in the field. It's good fun.

      • simmonmt says:

        Somehow I doubt dropping them directly on a school falls under the "reasonable precautions" bit.

        • lars_larsen says:

          An egg couldnt possibly harm someone or "damage property". Getting something icky and sticky doesn't really qualify as "damage".

          • simmonmt says:

            Sure it can. Various types of clothing (fabrics) don't take very well to being egged. Alternatively, drop an egg on your laptop.

            As to harming a person, well, you probably couldn't do it directly (unless they were looking up and you hit them in the eye or something). For legal purposes, though, I'm sure they could nail you if your act of dropping an egg on some random person caused them to hurt themselves or someone else. Say you hit them while they were on the stairs, and caused them to lose their balance.

          • flaede says:

            ever seen waterballons hit from 5 stories up? Those'd hurt someone. are a dozen eggs so different?

            • jwz says:

              I seriously doubt that a five story water balloon would do more than sting. Maybe it would sting a lot, but I doubt it would injure. I demand a Mythbusters reenactment.

      • lars_larsen says:

        Yes, that was the regulation I was paraphrasing. Basically I consider that to mean "as long as it cant hurt anyone". I figured the property damage bit gets covered in that. If it couldn't hurt anyone, it couldn't possibly damage property either.

        A friend of mine built a bomb sight for his cessna once. Once you figure out the drag coefficient it can be remarkably accurate.

        • ggerrietts says:

          I read something a year or so back about how boats that are hit and damaged by "blue ice" (the sewage waste dumped by planes) could not recover damages from the airlines, because the courts found that the airlines were blameless, that they had taken reasonable precautions to prevent property damage.

          I wish I could remember the citation, but I can't.

          I suspect the prosecution has a much better case on the "he don't got no license" front than on the "and look at all those eggs" argument.

    • flaede says:

      I think it's the "what if the plane crashed into a building" mentality. In their defence, the kid does NOT have lisence to fly a plane, so that is a somewhat valid question.

  4. quercus says:

    police tried to signal the plane using flashlights.

    Shame they didn't have some of those Green Lazer Anti-Aircraft Deathrays that Heimat Security are so worried about.

  5. mactavish says:

    They're so grounded.

    (rereads: The double meaning was unintended.)

  6. exiledbear says:

    You can't throw anything out of an airplane, if it will endanger lives. You can throw anvils out the window, if it's clear there's nobody around that will get hurt from it. You can also throw things out the window, if you get permission beforehand, but the FAA is probably going to automatically say "no" to just about every request.

    Technically, they might be able to argue that they weren't endangering anyone, but in this day and age, the FAA isn't going to be amused.

    Plus the fact that the pilot wasn't licensed, and well, I doubt either of them is going to see the cockpit of an airplane again for quite a long while.

    Since they would've gotten away with it, if they had kept their mouths shut, they're pretty much getting what they deserve.

  7. robcallahan says:

    Should have egged the Whitehouse. Now that would have been hilarious.

  8. e_40 says:

    lars_larsen said: "Is an egg hitting someone really a "catastrophe"?!?!?!?"

    lars_larsen, are you stupid, or just a troll? eggs are hard. Dropping them from a plane would make them almost deadly.

    When in College I was hit by an egg in the ear, thrown by a moron from a moving car (~15mph). It hit me in the middle of the ear and almost knocked me out. I bled from that ear, and couldn't hear for a while.

    I'm sure the dumb fuck that threw it made a statement just like yours before they went out that evening.