Pilot lands plane with rogue snake in one hand

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Sep 17, 2004
Moorpark, CA
Pilot lands plane with rogue snake in one hand
Man grabs unwanted 4.5-foot co-pilot behind head, gets quick clearance
The Associated Press

Updated: 1:31 p.m. PT June 2, 2006

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The much-talked-about movie "Snakes on a Plane" doesn't open until August. But Monty Coles doesn't have to see it. He's lived it.

Three-thousand feet in the air on Saturday, he discovered a four-and-a-half-foot black snake peering out at him from the instrument panel of his Piper Cherokee.

He'd already been preparing to land in southern Ohio after a flight from West Virginia.

He tried to swat the snake. But it just fell to his feet under the rudder pedals and then darted to the other side of the cockpit.

So, while flying the plane with one hand, Coles grabbed the snake behind its head with his other hand, even as it coiled around his arm.

Next, he told the control tower he needed emergency landing clearance — and that he had "one hand full of snake and the other hand full of plane."

He says he was cleared right in.

Coles made a smooth landing, then posed for pictures with the snake, before letting it loose.
What I would like to know, though, is if the snake was a dangerous one... Like a cobra or if it was a constrictor snake like a boa.

Here is what I found when I typed "Black Snake" on Google :

"Black snake, name for several snakes, not all closely related, that are black in color. In the United States the name is applied chiefly to the black racer and to the black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta), both partly arboreal in their habits. The black rat snake, also called pilot black snake and mountain black snake, is found in the NE United States. Like other rat snakes (Elaphe species), it is a constrictor and a valuable destroyer of rats and mice. It has shiny, slightly keeled scales and reaches a length of 8 ft (2.4 m). The poisonous Australian black snake belongs to the cobra family and has a hood. The North American black snakes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Colubridae."

The first picture is a Black Rat Snake and the second one is a Black Racer. Both are constrictor snakes.


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