Minimal skills required 'Barefoot Bandit' to take off in Cessna

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Jennifer Reyes/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - People across the country are asking how the so-called "Barefoot Bandit" could steal a plane from an Indiana airport and fly it away with no formal training at all.

19-year-old Colton Harris-Moore is still on the loose in the Bahamas, where he crash landed the plane he allegedly stole from Bloomington.

The stolen Cessna was worth about $600,000. It's one of the manufacturer's newest and most sophisticated single engine planes. It's considered to be the Porsche of the sky, capable of pushing over 200 mph - the perfect getaway for a teen on the run.

Colton Harris-Moore, 19, (aka the "Barefoot Bandit") is believed to have taken the plane from Bloomington's airport. He's being credited - or blamed - for flying it all the way to the Bahamas and crash landing.

"Considering he's never been instructed and he was able to do it, it's pretty impressive," said Jonathan Bray, a flight instructor for Indianapolis Aviation.

"Here is the unusual layout for this aircraft. It's actually a joystick on the side which would take some practicing to do that," he said. "You'll see the actual glass cockpit is very similar to a video game."

Bray says taking off isn't difficult, even for the inexperienced pilot - including a reporter, like myself. I decided to give it a go.

"If you were to push that forward and turn the key and give a little gas, there's a good chance you'll be able to fire it off," he said.

We took off with lots of coaching from Bray in the co-pilot's seat.

"Once it gets to 55 pull back on it, pull back, pull back, a little more," he said.

"Not difficult at all!" I said.

The hard part is landing.

"I'm not gonna tell you anything and see how you do," said Bray. "You're going about 90 knots and this thing usually lands about 60 knots

so you're 30 knots faster."

Bray took over from there.

"I would venture to say the landing part is the scariest part," he said.

We landed safely, but the same can't be said for the "barefoot bandit" and his getaway plane. Police are still looking for him.

"I'm sure he planned ahead by opening doors to be able to get out fast," said Bray.

Harris-Moore is lucky to have survived the crash landing. There was no evidence of any injury at the crash site.

Jonathan Bray believes Harris-Moore was able to fly through restricted air space by disabling the plane's instrument that allows communication with airport towers.

The stolen Cessna had room for more than enough fuel to get him to the Bahamas.

Before you get any ideas, though, keep in mind it's a federal offense to steal a plane.