Zim pilot arrested : Illegal entry to Kenya airspace
A Zimbabwe-based British pilot was arrested and his plane detained after he tried to land at the Delamere ranch in Naivasha on Tuesday night.
The incident took place as Attorney-General Amos Wako prepared to open an inquest file today on the death of a Kenya Wildlife warden, a week after he dropped a murder charge against Lord Delamere’s grandson, Tom Cholmondley.
Whataya think. He was going to Skooty-Poot someone out of the country?? Could be......... On the other hand if you cant get a 182 under Radar into the Lake Naivasha area, you shouldnt be flying..........
Nairobi - Kenyan police have arrested a British pilot who illegally tried to land his small plane this week near the farm of the prominent aristocrat accused of murdering a game warden, officials said. The unauthorised appearance of the plane over the Central Rift Valley and a suspected link between the pilot and Thomas Cholmondeley, the son of the 5th Baron Delamere who was released from prison last week, has fuelled already-high tensions in the region. The pilot of the Zimbabwe-registered Cessna aircraft, identified as Craig Wesley Hattle, was arrested in Nairobi after violating Kenyan airspace late on Tuesday attempting to land in the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, police said.
Spotted by radar, air traffic controllers ordered Hattle to land in Nairobi where police said he told them he had been going to Naivasha, 90 kilometres northwest of the capital, to see acquaintances. "We are questioning him as to why he decided to violate Kenyan airspace," one senior police official said. "He said he was going to visit friends in Naivasha." Government spokesperson Alfred Mutua confirmed the incident had occurred but neither he nor the police official would discuss details or confirm a report that Hattle wanted to land at the vast Delamere ranch for unspecified reasons. The police official said the incident was "too sensitive and could spark riots" when asked about an item on the website of Nairobi's Standard newspaper reporting that Hattle had been insistent about landing at the farm. The Standard quoted security sources as saying authorities were suspicious of the pilot's motives and police had been informed that Cholmondeley, a Kenyan citizen, wanted to leave the country on a business trip.
The Cholmondeley affair has made international headlines and caused a furore throughout in Kenya since it broke last month. Cholmondeley, the great-grandson of one of Kenya's earliest and most prominent British settlers, has admitted to shooting the undercover Maasai game warden but insists he acted in self-defence thinking the man was a thief. Prosecutors dropped murder charges against him last week citing a lack of evidence given conflicting accounts of the April 19 incident and released the aristocratic scion to the fury of many Kenyans. Outraged Maasai warriors have threatened to attack the Delamere ranch unless Cholmondeley is tried for the murder of their fellow tribesman and human rights groups have said his release is indicative of favouritism shown to the powerful.
Aviation Newsletter of the Aero Club of East Africa
28 MAY 2005
"ZIMBABWEAN PILOT ARRESTED IN KENYA FOR WANTING TO FLY TO DELAMERE FARM: THE FACTS BEHIND THE FICTION"
British-born pilot, Craig Hattle, who lives in Zimbabwe and flew to Kenya on 24 May to visit his father-in law at Nairobi Hospital, has had an experience that most tourists to Kenya would not want to have.
Craig Hattle used to live and fly in Kenya and his relatives (Kenya citizens) still live here. Hattle wanted to visit his father-in-law, who was ill at Nairobi Hospital, and other relatives who live on a flower farm at Naivasha. He obtained the air space clearances for Zambia and Tanzania and flew his Cessna 182 from Harare to Mfuwe (Zambia) and then on to Dodoma, TZ. for refueling. Because he had lived in Kenya a few years ago, when it was not a requirement to obtain a prior clearance for PRIVATE foreign-registered aircraft to fly into Kenya, he (unfortunately) thought that was still the case. As you know, Kenya changed that rule two or three years ago and made it mandatory for ALL foreign aircraft to apply for a clearance 72 hours in advance. Craig Hattle did not do that.
24 May 2005
However, when in Dodoma on 24 May 2005, he filed a flight plan for Nairobi’s Wilson Airport and took off at 11:05. He called Nairobi Control (118.5) prior to entering the Nairobi FIR. Nairobi requested his clearance number. (There are several pilots who listened to this and corroborate this). He answered that he was not aware of that requirement and requested a clearance over the radio because weather was bad and he could not turn back and divert to Kilimanjaro. Nairobi Control gave him the clearance to proceed to Wilson at 13:10 UTC. He contacted Wilson and landed at 13:17 Z, under normal ATC control from Wilson Tower. He taxied to Customs. The aircraft was checked by Customs and Police and nothing untoward was found on the aircraft. Wilson ATC very reasonably requested that he make a written report to the Director-General, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), to be delivered personally by the pilot on the next day. He then completed immigration procedures, obtaining a 14 day Visitor Visa. He stayed overnight at the Accommodation Block of the Aero Club of East Africa. Already during the night, the ACEA's security staff reported two suspicious characters, who were watching Hattle's room. When confronted by the security guards after midnight, they turned out to be CID officers.
25 May 2005
So far so good. On 25/5 Craig Hattle typed a report to KCAA and provided a full briefing to Mr. Ano, KCAA Air Service Licencing Section, at 15:40 hours. Mr. Ano was, apparently, satisfied with the pilot's explanation and released him. Hattle then officially applied with KCAA for a clearance for an internal flight in his aircraft to fly to Naivasha later in the week to visit his relatives who work there on a flower seed farm there (Goldsmith Seeds Limited). At 16:00 hours, the CID arrived at KCAA and arrested Craig Hattle on a charge of "Landing in Kenya without a Permit" (Occurrence Book, JKIA Police Station). He spent the night in the cell at Jomo Kenyatta Airport Police Station where several pilots, who had been alerted, attempted to get him freed on bail, to no avail. Despite various visits and phone calls to the Commandant of the station, the District Criminal Investigation Officer, the Provincial Criminal Investigation Officer, and several other prominent persons, there was nobody willing to assist. Apparently "in Kenya, bail cannot be granted to anybody after 1900 hours".
26 May 2005
The next morning, we knew why. An article had appeared in the "Standard" that a "British Pilot was arrested because he had wanted to fly to Delamere Farm", the scene of a recent prominent case. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. It was a clear case of "fantasy journalism". The truth was very different and quite simple. Craig Hattle had flight planned from Dodoma to Nairobi Wilson, and that's exactly what he did. Mr. Hattle has the original of that Flight Plan and had shown it to the CID. No diversions were made to Delamere Farm. So, nothing sinister. This becomes very clear when we look at his departure time at Dodoma and his arrival time at Wilson. Nobody knows where the "Delamere Farm rumour" originated and "The Standard Newspaper" has a lot to answer for by publishing a fabrication that made a mountain out of a mole hill and will damage investment and tourism in Kenya for years to come. Nevertheless, on 26 May, he was brought to the CID HQ first, and then to the High Court. We engaged a lawyer for him and, in a meeting with the prosecution staff at the Court, we were informed that the charge against him was still: "Landing without a Permit to Land". Of course, he did not land without authorization, as he had filed a flight plan at Dodoma, the details of which presumably were telexed to Nairobi Centre, and he also obtained clearance to land from Wilson Tower. So, it seems that Mr. Hattle was simply "in the wrong place at the wrong time", whilst public tempers had flared about the "Delamere case", a case with distinct racial undercurrents. The prosecution "needed" a conviction.
Captain Hattle's lawyer pointed out to the prosecutors that there is actually no such charge in the Civil Aviation Act (Cap. 394) as "Landing without a permit to land". Eventually, the charge was changed to "entering Kenyan airspace wthout applying for a clearance 72 hours in advance". The prosecution was happy with that, Mr. Hattle pleaded 'guilty' and he was fined KShs. 2000 ($ 26). The amount of the fine itself indicates how the Judge viewed the charge.
He was led away in handcuffs and put in the cells in the basement of the High Court. After the $ 26 fine was paid, he was released from the High Court, (his British Passport was returned to him in the hallway by the Prosecutor) Mr. Hattle went to his accommodation at the Aero Club of East Africa, to recover from his ordeal and to shower and shave. About one hour later, at about 1800 hours, Immigration Officials appeared at the Aero Club, requesting to see Mr. Hattle. They confiscated his Passport again and requested that he come to the Immigration Office at Wilson Airport "just to talk". He reluctantly went there and was told that, "because he was "a convict" (!) his 14 day Visitor Visa was cancelled with immediate effect and that he was therefore in Kenya illegally and would be brought to the cells at Jomo Kenyatta Airport Police Station until his final departure from Kenya". Mr. Hattle pointed out that it would be impossible for him to depart immediately, because it was night-time and his aircraft could not fly out at night. He further pointed out that, to return with his aircraft to Zimbabwe, he would have to apply 72 hours in advance for the necessary clearances from Tanzania and Zambia. Eventually, again with a lawyer and other prominent personalities at Wilson Airport, Mr. Hattle was permitted to stay at the Aero Club under Police surveillance, until he has received his clearance from Tanzania and Zambia. He would then be obligated to leave immediately.
27 May 2005
Those who may think that this is the end of the story may be forgiven. It got worse. On 27 May, Mr. Hattle and the Aero Club staff attempted to send a fax to the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, requesting the flight clearance. The telephone lines to Dar-es-Salaam were blocked and the fax would not go through. It was raining heavily and visibility was outside VFR limits. Up to five police "escorts" shadowed Mr. Hattle all day long at the Aero Club, including some very high-ranking officers. They wanted Hattle to leave, but he could not leave in bad weather and without clearance. Another night in jail loomed. Hattle therefore decided that he would fly out of Kenya commercially to Kilimanjaro Airport at 1800 hours, to satisfy the desire by the Kenyan authorities to see him go, and that another pilot would ferry his Cessna there next week, once the clearance had been obtained from the Tanzania. This proposal was accepted by the Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS) JKIA and also the High Court Prosecutor who had appeared at the Aero Club at about 16 00 hours. A ticket was booked with Precision Air and Hattle was eventually taken by a taxi surrounded by several Police cars, to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, to fly out at 1800 hours. Hattle paid for the cab.
Upon arrival at JKIA at about 1700 hours, he had hoped to be given his British Passport back by the Immigration officials who had confiscated it the night before. That, unfortunately, did not happen. Instead of the Departure Lounge for his Precision Air flight to Tanzania, he was whisked into an office, where the Senior Immigration Officer divulged that: "it is not possible to let you leave Kenya without your aircraft". He was locked up in a Cell at JKIA, to be held until he has the clearance to fly out of Kenya in his Cessna 182. The reasons for not letting him leave were not clear. His lawyer was called immediately, but after lengthy discussions with Immigration officials and various senior police officers, it became clear by 2100 hours that there was nothing that could be done. Craig Hattle was “inside”.
Meanwhile, things unfolded at Wilson Airport. Two Policemen, with FN sub-machine guns were placed on the tarmac, near Hattle’s plane, ostensibly to "guard” the Cessna 182. They stayed there all night, in the rain. At about the same time, two very senior CID officers visited the Aero Club and advised that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority had kindly managed to obtain a flight clearance for Mr. Hattle from the Tanzanian TCAA, for 28 May. The request of the Aero Club to permit Mr. Hattle to be brought back to the Aero Club, so that he could get a good night\'s sleep before his flight to Tanzania, was denied. However, a promise was made by the officers that he would be allowed to stay in the Airport Hotel Rooms at "Kenya Duty Free". That promise was not kept. Despite many pleas to the Immigration officials who had detained him (including by Hattle\'s lawyer), he was locked up for the night.
28 May 2005
The Saturday Nation carried an article in which Kenyan Immigration officials denied that they were "deporting" Mr. Hattle, but they admitted that they were holding him. The article clung to the sensationalist story that Mr. Hattle had, upon entering Kenyan airspace on 24 May, wanted to land at Delamere Farm (NOT WILSON AIRPORT!) illegally, "to see friends".
Meanwhile, at 0700, 0810 hours and 0920 hours, Hattle called on his “cell phone” to inform us that he was still locked up and requested further assistance. Nobody from the Immigration Department would talk to him. At about 0930 hours, Hattle advised that CID officers had arrived and were bringing him to Wilson Airport, to fly out to Tanzania. The weather was dodgy, but his options were limited. At least 15 Government officials, ranging from Customs, Immigration, Police, the Prosecutor from the High Court, Kenya Airports Authority staff and Intelligence Department officials hovered around him, to ensure he really departs. After filling out reams of forms and cards, paying his aircraft parking fees, etc., Hattle finally boarded his Cessna 182. At 1140 hours, he started the engine. Only then did the Immigration official hand him his Passport back through the aircraft window. At 11:45, Hattle took off from Wilson Airport, for Dodoma, Tanzania, never to return to Kenya. His last words to his tormentors were: "I hope that, if you ever come to Great Britain, my Government does not treat you like you treated me. I came as a tourist who wanted to visit a sick relative at Nairobi Hospital. I leave as a convicted criminal who was fined $ 26 for a small transgression".
Let\'s wait and see how Hattle fared in Tanzania, where he arrived safely and where he has to apply for his clearance through the next country that he has to overfly, Zambia. It will be interesting to see how the Tanzanians handle this "convicted fellon" who “was not deported”.
There is something to be learned from this for all of those involved. Hattle should read the NOTAMS before he goes on an international flight. The Kenyan newspapers should learn not spread sensationalist rumours that are designed to incite. All pilots in Kenya and elsewhere should learn that nowadays even small issues can blow up in there face, and finally, the Kenyan Government authorities would be well advised to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and the effects of their actions on the image of Kenya abroad.
It all comes down to small minded paranoia once again. This is the attitude that is destroying Africa.
Thousands of illegal immigrants cross borders daily without any problems, and some of them then make a living out of sometimes serious crime. A person who makes a mistake gets treated in this fashion.
While in Kenya, I got held up at gunpoint and found the police there more interested in making sure they hobnobbed with the right people than actually finding the gunmen. Never heard a word from them after the initial statement.
Yes yes, just another tale of the debilitating mindset of paranoid, over-inflated-self-importance, african mentality. A year ago, I too, was at the wrong end of these same CLOWNS. I was ferrying an A/C from Entebbe to Somalia, when I got horribly sick in flight, and diverted into Kenyan airspace. They refused to let me land at Nairobi, and kept me holding overhead for almost an hour. All this while basically slipping in and out of conciousness. After repeated mayday calls, and practically begging the mighty African sky gods for mercy, I decided that they can go fornicate with themselves, and landed anyway. That was the beginning of a nightmare rather similar to the one described above. The idiots that were dispatched to arrest my rebellious south african arse, refused to believe that i was sick, even after witnessing the evidence of it in the a/c. The CAA and CID demanded that i get to Nairobi hospital to be checked out, so that they could hear it from a Kenyan doctor, or else I was staying in Prison. Only problem was...the dumb w@nkers that got hold of me first ,refused to let me get to the hospital. Anyway, I wont bore you with the rest of the story, suffice to say that the path that was taken by Mr. Hattle, already had my footprints on it.
Now for the best part. I was flying for a KENYAN company at that time........
this occurence and the way it has been dealt with doesnt really surprise me......all I can say it proves that flying in Africa is always exciting,interesting and beautifully frustrating........ The worst part of course is a couple of nights in an African jail. Something to tell the grandchildren...no?
Craig Hattle, the Zimbabwean private pilot who was hounded out of Kenya last week because he flew into the country without having applied for a clearance 72 hours in advance, has arrived safely back in Harare. He encountered no problems with the Tanzanian or Zimbabwean authorities on the way home.
Hattle was fined 2000 shillings by a Nairobi Court for his infraction of the Kenyan Air Law (Cap. 394). He was picked up by CID and Immigration officials after the court case and "confined". His 14 day visitor visa was cancelled a few hours after his conviction and his passport only returned to him about one five minutes before take-off clearance was given by ATC for his Cessna 182 last Saturday at Wilson Airport.
When questioned on Nation TV on Tuesday's 9 o'clock news, the Government spokesman stated that the Kenya Government thought that Hattle was a "terrorist" and that "the GoK makes no apologies for the way it deals with terrorism". The spokesman went on to say that "Hattle did not state his intentions when he entered Kenya and tried to evade Kenyan radar by turning off his transponder". Pilots who listened to the conversation between Nairobi Radar and Hattle have confirmed that Hattle called 122.3 (Nairobi Radar) at the FIR boundary and talked to Kenyan controllers after checking out with Dar-es-Salaam control. The Government did not produce any evidence about Hattle's allegedly suspicious activities. His crime, for which he was convicted and fined, was "to enter Kenya without requesting a clearance 72 hours in advance".
Hattle's lawyer, Muriuki Mugambi, stated on Nation TV that Hattle's deportation was "illegal" because in Kenya, such measures require "Ministerial approval". This approval had not been given. Although Hattle was held in a prison cell by Government officials before his departure, the Government spokesman denied that he was 'deported'. "His visa was cancelled (on Thursday 26 May) and he was therefore in the country illegally".
Hattle never did manage to see is ailing 80 year old father-in-law - the main purpose of his visit- during his sojourn in Kenya.