An unlicensed pilot who flew an aircraft into power lines not far from where large crowds gathered for an event in Dunmore last year had breached the rules of the air by flying at low height and thereby endangering the public.
A report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU ) was released this week and revealed that the 63-year-old male pilot of the Powerchute Kestral (microlight ) G-MWFI aircraft had conducted a low ‘fly-by’ over a field where a vintage farm equipment rally was being held at Carrowpadden, Dunmore, on August 5, 2012. At approximately 2.06pm the aircraft then struck and damaged a low-voltage electricity power line which caused the aircraft to hit the ground. The pilot, who suffered minor injury, was also found to be unlicensed at the time and the aircraft which had been de-registered by the UK in 2011, did not have a permit to fly.
According to the report, the pilot obtained permission from a landowner to take off from a field, about 1km from the town of Dunmore and 2kms from the rally field. The take-off was witnessed by some local people who photographed a number of his ‘fly bys’ before he departed towards the rally at 400-500 feet. The pilot said that he had been approaching the field when he saw a helicopter flying towards him. It was after observing the helicopter’s flight path and where it was landing that the incident took place. After seeing the helicopter land the pilot looked forward to fly around the edge of the field and he said it was “at this point I hit the cables and was on the ground before I knew what had happened”.
The report concluded that “while the pilot showed the investigation evidence of recent engine maintenance work, the aircraft itself was unregistered and did not have a permit to fly. Furthermore, the pilot did not possess a valid pilot licence and the aircraft was flown contrary to the rules of the air, at low height close to and thereby endangering members of the public.”