Driving past the “future site” of an upcoming aviation museum the other day, I noticed that a new old airplane had joined the rotting vintage fleet in the fractured parking lot. Sitting between a wingless C-141 Starlifter and a stodgy A-7 Corsair II was bona fide movie star – the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Today, when I watch Tom Cruise jet-jockeying with F-5s painted to look like Soviet MiGs, I can’t help but think that it all looks a little contrived and melodramatic. What wasn’t contrived, however, was the famed U.S. Navy Top Gun school, which provided Navy pilots with enhanced training in the areas of air combat maneuvering and the use of guns. When it comes to guns, the F-14 had a big one . . .
The venerable six-barreled M61 Gatling cannon can fire 6,000 20mm rounds of burning lead terror each minute. That made Maryland museum director Wayne Miller want one really bad. His only mistake? He bought it hot. The Virginian-Pilot reports . . .
Wayne Miller, 49, of Maryland, admitted that he went to Oceana Naval Air Station in 2005 and bought the machine gun from a Navy chief petty officer in charge of decommissioning aircraft.
Miller, who worked then as an executive director of the Aviation Hall of Fame in Teterboro, N.J., was planning on opening a flight simulator business.
Because Miller apparently masterminded the conspiracy, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced him Monday to three years in prison. Miller’s Navy connection, Matthew Sutton, and middle man, Jody Goucher, both received more lenient sentences: six and four months, respectively.
According to Millier’s lawyer, the conniving curator had “visions of grandeur” involving his proposed flight simulator business, and “never intended any harm or evil to anyone.”
Still, an illegal gun purchase is an illegal gun purchase, regardless of the gat, and regardless of the reason.