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beware 912 owners

Posted By:
Ralph Burlingame
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 6/17/2011 10:38:02 Modified: 6/24/2011 18:55:23

I found out from the detective working the case on my Kolbra theft, that there
is a demand for 912 engines in the gulf states for uses on airboats. The 912 is
an expensive engine and thieves know if they can get their hands on one, it's
worth money and not the money you paid for it. They can be sold for a few
hundred to a few thousand dollars.

My Kolbra 912 was vulnerable because it was easy to remove. Four bolts was all
it took to take the engine, oil cooler, radiator, exhaust, engine mount, and
prop. Any 912 that is outside of a cowling is an easy take. Trike, PPC, and Kolb owners
should be most concerned because of the engines being out in the open.

Remember, going to fly-in's is fun, but when you do this, you are advertising
your aircraft to those who want to steal your engine. On top of that, making YouTube videos, as I did, shows the thieves where you keep your machine so they can plan how to take it.

Until the criminals who took my engine and avionics are caught, this will
continue. If they can break into a modern locked hanger, as they did with my
theft, they can easily snip a padlock to take your engine and whatever they can
get their hands on during their visit.

These thieves not only affected my flying, but my wife's flying too. This put
the Light Sport flying community on edge as these people are still at large and I
suspect they will strike again. They are terrorists in the flying
community for what they have done.

My wife Laurie and I were very much into promoting Light Sport aviation and we would attend as many fly-in's as possible. Most of the people we talked to were honest with no intentions of being deviant. We may have talked to the people that did this. I've always have been very honest and open with people, but this theft has changed my attitude that I need to be more protective of my aircraft.

In the words of a friend of mine: "Mean people suck".

Ralph Burlingame




Grant Smith
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#2 Posted: 6/30/2011 17:31:41

Thanks for the heads up. I would have thought a locked hangar would be secure. The fools should have stolen a  Bonanza! Don't need to undo those four bolts.

Grant Smith CFI
Ralph Burlingame
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#3 Posted: 6/30/2011 20:19:37
Grant Smith wrote:


Thanks for the heads up. I would have thought a locked hangar would be secure. The fools should have stolen a  Bonanza! Don't need to undo those four bolts.


Grant, I thought a locked hanger was secure until this happened. It doesn't matter if it's locked, these guys will get in if they want it bad enough. It's best to have security alarms and cameras.

By the way, the thieves are monitoring this, I'm sure. Thieves: you guys left half of the rear seatbelt. Come on by and I will gladly give it to you.

Ralph Burlingame

Raymond Buhr
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 7/20/2011 15:31:48

Jeez, thats crazy.

Sorry to hear of your misfortune.

 Many airports have weather and security CAMs that might capture images of the perps.

If you are dealing with local police you might want to mention the Fed's seeing as how its also under their jurisdiction, and see if you can get some extra resources on your case.


If it is of any consolation, aircraft fall into the Federal domain and when the criminals are caught the crime will be punished much more harshly than say stealing your car.

I think even the TSA and Homeland Security would like to make an example out of some criminals and impose maximum sentencing and fines. (Think Penalties in the context of terrorism against aircraft)

I think there is a minimum mandatory prison time of 5 years.

Grafitti on aircraft is under the same Federal jurisdiction and a Tagger could very well find himself in prison for an extended stay along with hefty fines.

I would put the word out on all the airboat and aircraft forums to beware and consider the Federal nature of the crime and punishment for possession of stolen property and aiding and abetting (Buying stolen property)  a Federal offence.

Just my 2 cents as I consider how to better secure my hanger.






Ralph Burlingame
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#5 Posted: 7/20/2011 17:35:53


 Thanks for your response. I passed it on to the Forest Lake Police Department. They are meeting with the FBI, ATF, and other federal agencies. I'm hoping for justice in this case as there have been other hanger break-ins in the area. The criminals are very much airplane people and know how to remove engines and panels. They also know their worth and work at night. Just to show how good they are, the hanger did not have overhead lighting installed because it was so new. These guys worked with head LED's and flashlights to do their dirty work.

Here are pictures from the crime scene:

missing panel 2-.jpg

missing engine 2-.jpg


Here is what the panel and engine used to look like:

what the panel looked like-.jpg

engine on Kolbra.jpg