ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
We have already been faulted for devoting too much attention on this program to Snakes on a Plane. That's the forthcoming movie whose title pretty much says it all, which means the movie probably doesn't say much. But it is an Internet phenomenon and Hollywood anticipates more boffo biz at the box office than even An Inconvenient Truth is getting. But for pilot Monte Coles of Crosslands, West Virginia, snakes on a plane is not just another Samuel L. Jackson vehicle. It's something that actually happened to him. Mr. Coles, a snake on your plane?
Mr. MONTE COLES (Pilot, Crosslands, West Virginia): Correct. Last Saturday morning I took off for just a nice, relaxing flight plan just to get out for a while, and a little head appeared through a hole in the instrument panel.
SIEGEL: A little head appeared through a hole in the instrument panel?
Mr. COLES: Right. When I first saw it I didn't think it could be a good sign and then it came out about four more inches and I couldn't grab it so I smacked it with a handheld radio. He fell down out of the instrument panel and landed on my feet, so I grabbed him by the neck. He immediately coiled up around my arm.
SIEGEL: And the plane exactly at this moment was - you were aloft at this point.
Mr. COLES: Correct. I was about 3,000 feet, and about ten miles from an airport.
SIEGEL: What did you do?
Mr. COLES: Well, having him under control at that point, I got closer and there was several planes that were doing touch and goes in the pattern. I asked for priority on a runway so I could make a straight in, and everybody said we'll be out of the way and what's your problem? Well, I said I've got a handful of plane, handful of snake. They said you've got the whole runway. So I landed and taxied up to the pumps and a friend of mine was there and he said, you know, you ought to carry the snake with you all the time. That's the best landing I've seen you make.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SIEGEL: Now, did some hand at the airport say, oh, another snake in the plane incident?
Mr. COLES: No.
SIEGEL: No one's ever heard of this one before?
Mr. COLES: I've really never heard of that, and I don't wish it on anybody. And I don't think that snake had ever flown before. He was about as scared as I was.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SIEGEL: I hadn't thought of the incident from the snake's point of view. Mr. Coles, thank you very much for telling us about your chilling adventure with a snake on a plane.
Mr. COLES: Well, you have a great evening.
SIEGEL: You, too, sir. That's Monte Coles, speaking to us from Dunbar, West Virginia, about what happened to him in his plane on Saturday morning.