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McDonnell's Eventful Flight

Anita Kumar

The four-seater plane carrying Robert F. McDonnell bounced through rain and fog last night on the short trip from the Eastern Shore to Frederickburg, where the Republican gubernatorial nominee was headed for a rally.


Curly Byler, the 88-year-old father of Gary C. Byler, chairman of the 2nd Congressional District Republican Committee in Virginia Beach, flew the plane in and out of the clouds and circled the area before he was able to land the plane in bad weather.

Curly Byler has been flying for 70 years. He has flown Virginia gubernatorial candidates for three decades.

Gary C. Byler said his father cheated death eight times while flying, including once when he ran out of gas and another time when he flew through a hurricane in Florida. "My dad flies in ridiculous conditions,'' Gary Byler said. "Nothing bothers him."

Curly Byler and his co-pilot daughter landed the plane safely. Their two passengers, McDonnell and aide Tucker Martin, were a little rattled -- before having to scale a fence to reach their car in the pouring rain.

"Curly probably wondered what the big deal was. He's unflappable,'' said Martin, McDonnell's spokesman. "It was a heck of a landing. It was probably the most relieved we've ever been to get to a campaign event."

By Anita Kumar  |  April 2, 2009; 11:52 AM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Here is a candidate certainly not lacking the spirit of adventure!

Posted by: alankrishnan | April 3, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

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