UPDATE: A plane, a motorcycle, a mystery

Air Force investigates ‘unplanned stop’ at Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

A large military plane flies low over buildings in Vineyard Haven Friday on its way to Martha's Vineyard Airport. -Rich Saltzberg

Updated March 28 @ 2:45 pm

A military cargo plane that stopped at Martha’s Vineyard Airport Friday, scooped up a motorcycle, and continued on its way was “an unplanned stop,” according to a spokesperson for a U.S. Air Force reserve unit out of Mississippi.
While performing an off-station training mission, a U.S. Air Force Reserve crew with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, made an unplanned stop at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, Massachusetts, March 24,” Lt. Col. Marnee Losurdo wrote in an email Monday. “Leadership is aware of the incident, which is under investigation.”

Lt. Col. Losurdo was responding to an inquiry made by The Times on Monday after the Massachusetts National Guard said it had no knowledge or involvement in the mysterious visit.

The incident set off wild speculation in comments and on social media about whom the motorcycle belonged to. In a follow-up email, Lt. Col. Losurdo wrote, “The motorcycle belonged to a member of the aircrew. While the incident is being investigated, there isn’t much more I can tell you until it’s completed.”

Asked when that investigation might be completed, Lt. Col. Losurdo suggested The Times “check back in a couple of weeks.”

The military plane touched down at the airport Friday within view of the Plane View Restaurant.

A social media post from Doug Ulwick, who was patronizing the Plane View Restaurant, described a “freakin’ huge” U.S. Air Force “Hurricane Hunter” landing. Ulwick posted that the plane dropped its cargo ramp, collected a motorcycle, and then immediately took off again. “Don’t see that everyday.”

Reached Monday, Ulwick, an architect who was having lunch with a friend, said, “We heard the noise before we saw the plane.” The plane came in at around 1pm, Ulwick said. 

Ulwick said the plane clearly read “Hurricane Hunter” on its tail.

He said people in military-style clothing came down the ramp of the plane. 

The plane was at the airport “probably not more than 15 minutes,” Ulwick said. 

Tristan Israel, a county commissioner, saw it too. He was at the Plane View eating lunch.
“I saw a vintage BMW motorcycle. I used to own old vintage BMW motorcycles, so that’s how I know,” Israel told The Times. He guessed it was pre-1972, based on the logo. “I was eating next to the window. We looked out and we saw the plane. We saw people walking a vintage motorcycle up to the plane.”

Israel, a former Tisbury select board member, has seen a lot during his time on the Island. “This was a first,” he said. “We were idly talking about what’s going on in the world, so to see a military plane — that wasn’t surprising at all. What was surprising was seeing the bike wheeled on.”

Airport director Geoff Freeman confirmed the plane visited the airport, and saw the motorcycle, but didn’t know why that was happening. He said it wasn’t a motorcycle that belonged to the airport.

On Monday, a Massachusetts National Guard spokesman told The Times the plane was not operated by the National Guard. “This was not a Mass. National Guard plane or mission,” Sgt. Alfred Tripolone, wrote in an email, referring questions to the U.S. Air Force. “We do not operate cargo planes.”

Updated to include information from the military.


  1. Would it have troubled the MV Times to ask the military liason/press office to explain the why the world’s most expensive motorcycle delivery took place at our airport? All at taxpayer expense.

  2. Well, let’s see. Who has a place on the Vineyard, has a lot of pull with the current administration, and is known to have an affection for expensive motorcycles?

    I wonder how this little caper affects his carbon footprint.

    • You’re hilarious. You insinuate that a former president had something to do with this? State your sources.

        • Back when Kerry was running for president, he bought a Harley Screamin’ Eagle CVO mc and traded it to a friend for his Ducati mc. The man’s a true hypocrite – its Kerry’s world – we just live in it.

    • Charlie– I am curious as to who you are talking about. But I suspect you suspect that a former president may have had something to do with this. We’ll see.
      I looked around on google, and could find nothing about the former president who lives on the Vineyard and motorcycles.
      No pictures of him on one, no note of any collection he may have of them, and no record of him having a motorcycle license.
      But, he is prohibited by the secret service to drive any kind of vehicle. Any member of the secret service that allowed him to drive a vintage Harley would likely be fired immediately.

      Of course you could be correct and it has something to do with our former president , who was elected twice by both the popular vote and electoral college vote. Or perhaps you just have a knee jerk reaction to blame certain individuals for everything.
      We’ll see.

    • Oh Jackie ! Please try to stay on task and not drift and pontificate on speculative topics ,all of which are in your post.Your accusatory tones are also really tiring!

      • Which is louder:
        The roar of a motorcycle; the drill of a large military plane; or the zoom going over Eddie’s head when he misses the point of a comment?

        72 points for the correct answer.

  3. How to turn a curious story into the usual Republican divisive drivel?

    Don Trump Jr has a passion for motorcycles and his criminal daddy has the means and chutzpah to do this. Remember 2 of the Trump spawn posing with with the carcasses of endangered species? This is Trump behavior.
    The good thing about starting a rumor for which there is zero actual information, except to point out a love of motorcycles that is bipartisan, is that it’s so easy to make Republicans look like troublemaking, hateful liars. Because, you know, they are. How’d that racist birtherism lie work out? About as well as white racists calling Judge Brown Jackson easy on pedophiles and with a hard left wing agenda. Too bad she was never accused of sexual assault since she’d be a shoo in for Trumpeniks (also spelled trumbeniks).

  4. During the entire time that the slaughter in Ukraine has been happening, there seems to be bi partisan support to cut off Russia’s oil exporting machine.
    But I have not heard a single world leader asking anyone to use less oil as a way to achieve that goal. Watching Fox “news”, one would think that President Biden has completely shut down oil production in the U.S , and that is the problem.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    The world waste more fuel than Russia could possibly produce.
    This is a prime example.
    It’s downright criminal, as well as incredibly stupid.

  5. Did anyone actually read the story? The motorcycle was taken OFF the island! It stands to reason that whoever now owns it doesn’t live here! BTW there was a vintage BMW list on Craigslist last year that was being stored in a hanger up there.

    • Maybe it was going off for service work 🤣🤣🤣
      Certainly wasn’t Obama‘s. I doubt he has enough coordination to ride

      • Looks like president Obama’s pretty coordinated on the basketball court to me, I’d say he could handle it.

  6. Wow, I seem to have stirred up a hornet’s nest of progressives with my comment. Who could have expected that on Martha’s Vineyard?

    First off, you’ll note I never mentioned a word about former President Obama, a man whom I much admired, by the way.

    Since you all, in your haste to fire off a nastygram, have missed the obvious hints, I was referring to former Senator John Forbes Kerry.

    In the future, I will endeavor to dumb down my comments.

  7. This is a C130 cargo plane. They routinely do “touch and go” and other training maneuvers at the MV airport. The motorcycle pickup is curious but not the BFD the rumor mill makes it out to be.

  8. Military pilots and planes fly in and out of here all the time. They have to fly a certain amount to stay current etc. If they’re coming here anyway, why not pick up a motorcycle? It could even be for a lower level member of the squadron that bought or owns it. Or maybe inherited it. Or literally a hundred different options. Tax payers pay for the military to fly all over the place all the time. Why is this such a big deal?

  9. It looks like you can say anything you want in a comment section it does not even have to relate to the article. So in response to other dribble from above Biden and his family is the most corrupt family ever to be in the White House and sleepy Joe has made it almost impossible for Ukraine to actually win the war.
    If the corrupt media had posted the real story about Hunter Biden and his corrupt ways along with the big guy Brandon would never be president today.
    I do find all the comments from the Karen wannabes on their island hilarious

    • Please explain how Biden has made it impossible for Ukraine to win the war. And please use verifiable facts, not fox, newsmax or oan talking points.

      • Oh, Bob just needed a vroom vroom moment to remind us all how Republican baloney doesn’t go away, no matter how ridiculous it is.

    • Bob, apparently you didn’t pay attention to the last administration if you think this is the most corrupt, LOL.
      BTW, who actually gives a howdy-doo about an airplane and a motorcycle?? The island has so many extremely well-to- do people, it could be anyone’s guess (and it is) to the who, what, where and why… I agree with Carla Cooper, BFD

    • Bob–What exactly is the “real story” about Hunter Biden ? Do you think he had something to do with this motorcycle ?
      I know the pillow guy will be releasing proof that trump won the election “soon”, but is there any kind of timeline as to when we can expect to be spared the conspiracy theories and baseless innuendos about a person who has never run for any kind of political office ?

  10. It’s pathetic when trumpeniks don’t know the difference between DRIBBLE and DRIVEL.

    DRIBBLE means to let saliva run down from the mouth, as in drool, except in sports where it’s a way of handling the ball. DRIVEL describes stupid, pointless, made-up garbage about Joe Biden.

  11. We started off taking about planes and motorcycles and now we are blaming administrations for being corrupt, etc. I need a pie chart and/or spreadsheet to catch up.

  12. You do know that the Coast is patrolled and a plane that is on patrol could easily pick up cargo and still be on course. Way too much speculation in the comments here. PS military business is not civilian business. Mind yo business!!

    • Althea– are you saying that private citizens should just be content to let the military do whatever it wants and we should never question it ?
      I am currently in the United States — What country are you in ?

  13. A classic case of an employee “borrowing” the company vehicle for a small personal errand. They’ll never know …. 🙂

  14. The busybodies should have left well enough alone. No harm done by this stop but now the poor crew is probably in deep trouble.

  15. That plane or others like it frequently does touch-and-goes at MV Airport. I live quite close to it, actually saw the plane take off, and thought that’s what was going on. As far as the motorcycle, there is no way that bike made its way onto the tarmac without the people working at the airport knowing about it. Someone, or everyone, at the airport knows exactly what the story is. Why not ask them and if they play dumb about it then what’s that about?

    • Vici — I am absolutely 110% sure that if only the liberal media would reveal what they know about Hunter Biden’s laptop, it would be all cleared up, and there would be no more pedophiles and everyone would know which bathroom to use. —And, we would learn the truth about who shot Kennedy– as If he was actually shot.

  16. In case you newer arrivals didn’t know…
    MV airport has been used for military plane landings and take offs and even a meal at the restaurant on the property. As a child my uncle Ralph Landers (served in the Army) and I would go up to watch them even sometimes meet and talk with the crew.
    I don’t have a problem with them picking up their motorcycle while they are running training exercises AND HAD YOU HATERS SPENT TIME READING
    I hope they are able to enjoy the motorcycle probably after it is restored and cleaned up but I am glad that their job helped them out.
    Stop all your racist hate.
    Just stop it is 2022 not 1800s.
    I am very disappointed and sad to see who is here speaking badly about our former president and his family.
    I notice a lot of hate and un truths that seep out of your mouths.
    I have plenty of knowledge and stories about you. Many of which is criminal and illegal and would put your name and business into the WRONG light.
    Supposed business people who are clearly very racist and feel better than due to skin color.
    MAYBE BEGIN WITH A SEAT IN YOUR TOWN and work your way up.
    Otherwise just grow up and face the fact that America and even Martha’s Vineyard Island is made up of many different races and skin tones.
    Go get a DNA test and then return. You might learn something.
    I really am disgusted with you.
    Anyone know a writer who is interested in doing a tell all about the Vineyard give them my number.

  17. Seems like the usual online chatter by people who think they might know what’s going on but really don’t. I flew C-130s for many years. We had fairly wide latitude on where we flew to on training missions. The one caveat was we had to avoid doing things that gave the impression we were wasting resources or doing something bad. But that’s somewhat subjective. If there’s anything that’ll get this crew in trouble it’s that little blurb in the regs.

    But beyond that, we could go to practically any public airport for training so long as we adhered to operational rules. In fact, everything this crew did could be logged as training…the approach and landing can be logged by the pilots, and the engine-running onload can be logged by the loadmasters. This mission pretty closely mirrors what C-130s do on real missions (involving DoD vehicles, no doubt).

    Aside from appearances, nothing illegal or wrong actually happened and it’s likely the crew still got plenty of good training (they probably dropped into other airfields to practice approaches and landings as well). But DoD tends to react to negative press, so I’d guess the crew will be in hot water over it regardless.

  18. You clearly have zero idea just how your taxpayer dollars work when it comes to the military, particularly aviation. This was, by no means, a waste. For a flight from MS to MA, this cross country type of flight was extremely beneficial flight training for the aircrew, both in terms if airmanship and navigation. Additionally, the stopover at the Vineyard’s cost was near negligible in both gas and money. This also had ZERO impact to your life so why make a stink about it?

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