A 68-year-old man who flew an aircraft without a valid pilot’s licence has been prosecuted after being reported to the CAA by a flying instructor. He was fined £600, and ordered to pay £552 costs to the CAA and a victim surcharge of £60.
Andrew Hart, took off in a Piper PA-28 light aircraft, from Weston Airport, Dublin, on 12 December 2016. He was bound for Shobdon Aerodrome, Herefordshire.
Mr Hart had first obtained a private pilot’s licence in 1979, but on the date of the flight it was no longer valid. His medical certificate had also expired.
On landing at Shobdon Aerodrome, Mr Hart was stopped by a visiting flight training instructor and asked to produce his licence. The training instructor had been concerned that Mr Hart had carried out a landing in poor weather conditions. Having failed to produce his licence, the training instructor informed the CAA, which began an investigation.
Mr Hart, of Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on 6 July 2017. He pleaded guilty to flying without a licence in contravention of the Air Navigation Order 2016.
The court heard that during his flight to Shobdon, Mr Hart had also flown through restricted airspace in West Wales, without obtaining air traffic control clearance. MoD Aberporth is a military weapons testing facility, protected by a Danger Area which excludes all unauthorised aircraft. Mr Hart made no attempt to contact air traffic control before flying through the Danger Area. He was later traced by his aircraft’s registration mark.
Tony Rapson, Head of the CAA’s General Aviation Unit, said after the hearing, “It should be self-evident that anyone flying an aircraft needs to be appropriately licenced for the type of activity they are engaged in.
“Unfortunately, a small number of people still think that the rules don’t apply to them and they can carry on regardless, despite the obvious risk to other airspace users and the general public. We will always take action against such people.”