Reflection From Solar Panel Distracts Pilot

This piece is from the April 1 issue, our April Fool’s Day edition of the newspaper: The Fun Star.  It is intended as satire and not meant to be taken seriously.  All information and quotes were made up.


Kaz Alvarez/ Fun Star Reporter


Alaska Airlines pilot claimed he was dazed from the glare coming from solar panels as he flew over the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Because of this the pilot and plane went off course and was headed to China. Moriah Gates/ Fun Star

Solar arrays may be removed from campus after a bright glare from one distracted an Alaska Airlines pilot flying over campus.

Officials at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are currently reconsidering a current proposal to install solar arrays on campus after a glare from panels located next to the Cold Climate Housing Research Center caught the attention of a pilot flying out of the Fairbanks International Airport.

“I remember that I saw an incredibly bright light coming from the ground and was just captivated by it,” said Captain Wyatt Tolipwing. “I was really dazed by the light. Next thing I know, I’m on my way to China!”

Tolipwing was flying Alaskan Airlines flight 132 to Vancouver with a full roster and was flying over Alaska’s west coast when he regained control of his senses. The detour toward China forced the plane to land again in Fairbanks to refuel. It has not yet been decided if Alaska Airlines will expect UAF to repay them for the extra fuel or refund the passengers their airfare.

“I’ve seen lakes light up midday but never as bright as those panels!” Tolipwing said.

Alaska Airlines has not yet offered comment on how the plane’s instruments failed to alert the pilot to his altered destination.

“We knew that solar arrays were a poor decision when we voted against installing them on the Butrovich building in June,” said Regent Kirk Wickersham. “We will no doubt review the wisdom of solar arrays on campus after this incident. We may have to remove them all.”

Originally, a proposal to install solar panels on the Butrovich building was denied after failing to receive a sixth vote in its favor on the grounds that the installation would be aesthetically unappealing, distract from the beautiful terrain park next to the administrative building and become a danger to pilots.

“We knew that this would become an issue,” said Regent Kenneth Fisher. “We didn’t think a plane would veer so far off course as to put China on alert, but we knew solar panels would be dangerous.”

It is still undecided how the solar panels installed on the Student Recreation Center will be handled since that building is a student supported building.

“If there is a chance that they can negatively impact the university’s image, they will simply have to go,” Wickersham said. “We are more than capable of relying on Golden Valley Electric Association if our energy capabilities falter.”

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1 Response

  1. Brian says:

    Uhm, seriously? This guy flies so far off course that he has to land to refuel, because he claims he saw a flash of light on the ground?

    And a Regent claims China was “put on alert” because of a US plane being over the western Alaskan coast? What kind of an idiotic statement is THAT?

    Sounds like the pilot is trying to cover his incompetence with a ridiculous story, so he won’t get fired! And this neanderthal regent is trying to push some anti-renewables agenda at the same time. Neither is close to passing the smell test.

    Amazing hubris to witness for anyone using their brain…

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