Authorities investigate ‘mysterious’ plane in Buckingham

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A police investigation of a yellow plane that prompted concerns and questions in the Buckingham community for days has revealed that the aircraft was fertilizing loblolly pine trees on property owned by Plum Creek Timber Company.

According to the Buckingham Sheriff’s Office, local investigators, along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “conducted a joint inquiry in the matter. The investigation revealed that property owned by Plum Creek Timber Company (formerly owned by Westvaco) contracted with M&M Air Service Inc. of Beaumont Texas to perform aerial fertilizing of loblolly pine on property they own in the county,” noted a press release.

The release called the plane “mysterious.”

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The sheriff’s office began receiving telephone calls on Friday about the plane. According to the release, the plane was reportedly flying in the Toga and Wingina areas of Buckingham and in the southwestern portion of the county.

“The FAA confirms the yellow plane is owned by M&M Air Service Inc. and is licensed as an agricultural operator. Plum Creek officials have confirmed that fertilization is an approved forestry practice and that the company is operating in compliance with applicable best management practices,” the release stated.

“Since last [Friday] we have had an airplane going over, always turning at this farm and we believe it is dropping something,” said Beverly McQuary, who lives on Woodland Church Road near Yogaville. “I am finding little white pellets all over the decks, roof, gutters and it is even on the roadway on 604.”

Mike Huntley, who lives near McQuary, said he spoke to a Plum Creek representative about the fallen fertilizer.

“He did apologize,” Huntley said. “During the conversation [he] put the contractor on the phone … Fertilizer is incredible corrosive. So, my rain gutters, barn roof, farming equipment anything metal can be harmed.”

Authorities say aerial fertilizing will continue through the next week and a half.

“Anyone with questions or concerns should contact Plum Creek at 434-329-3751,” the release stated.